Instead of presenting just one swiss-invention as we did with the zipper or LSD, we would like to bring you closer to five swiss inventions that changed the world as we know it today.
1. Cellophane (1908)
A spilled glass of wine gave Jacques E. Brandenberger of Zurich the idea to develop a water-repellent film – cellophane. In 1908, the first cellophane was made. This miracle foil is still used today for packaging of all kinds.
2. Ritalin (1944)
Switzerland is known worldwide for its chemical companies. One of the most famous medicines from Switzerland is the pill Ritalin that is used in the treatment of ADHD.
Ritalin was discovered in 1944 by the chemist Leandro Panizzon, who tried the substance methylphenidate himself. His wife, Marguerite, was particularly impressed by the fact that her tennis performance improved after taking the drug. The famous trade name Ritalin is derived from her nickname, Rita.
3. Néscafé (1936)
In the 1930s, this Swiss company was asked by the Brazilian government to come up with a way to preserve coffee. Burgdorf resident Max Morgenthaler researched this challenge with a group for eight years until, in 1938, the first instant coffee was finally sold.
It may not be the best coffee and it’s not something you could boast about in gourmet circles. But, if there is a coffee that appears unexpectedly on a hangover-sunday, or from the dark corners of the holiday chalet precisely when you need it, it is Néscafé. Thanks, Max Morgenthaler!
4. Asphalt (1902)
Believe it or not, a swiss-doctor invented the most famous street cover – asphalt.
In 1902, Ernest Guglielminetti from Brig was the first one with the idea to use tar as road covering. He laid the foundations for today’s road construction.
5. Peeler „rex“ (1936)
One of the most successful Swiss kitchen-tools is the vegetable peeler known as Rex. It was invented by Alfred Neweczerzal from Davos in 1946. Rex has been internationally trademark-protected since 1947, and is manufactured at a small factory near Zurich that employs only ten people.
The peeler, which is still found in practically every household, has been sold more than 60 million times.