The big story behind the way dynamos made electricity useful Read more
The big story behind the way dynamos made electricity useful
Limited Liability Company
How some legal creativity has created vast wealth down the centuries
Currency derives value from trust in the government which issues it
Without seller feedback, companies like eBay might not have grown as they have
We make so much plastic these days that it takes about eight percent of oil production
Market research marked a shift from a producer-led to consumer-led approach to business
A high-tech ‘death ray’ capable of zapping sheep led to the invention of radar
The S-bend was a pipe with a curve in it, an invention that led to public sanitation
Renaissance man Luca Pacioli wrote the definitive book on double-entry bookkeeping
If managers often have a bad reputation, what about those who tell them how to manage?
Searching for 51
The extra “thing” – what should it be?
Property rights for the world's poor could unlock trillions in ‘dead capital’
Do welfare states boost economic growth, or stunt it? It’s not an easy question to answer
Refrigeration revolutionised the food industry, and other industries too
The plough kick-started civilisation – and ultimately made our modern economy possible
Revealed – the winning 51st Thing! Which “thing” won the vote to be added to our list?
Special Bonus: Santa Claus
Why does Father Christmas wear red and white? It is not for the reason you may think
Coming soon: Season two
Fifty more things are on their way! Tim Harford returns with season two on 25 March 2019
Bonus: 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter
Introducing our new podcast about innovation, technology and the animal kingdom
The Langstroth Hive: a wooden box that made the industrialisation of the bee possible
Bonus 2: Octopus and camouflage
Episode 2 of our new podcast, 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter
Cellophane transformed how consumers purchased food, as well as how producers sold it
Bonus 3: Mosquito and surgical needle
Episode 3 of our new podcast: the blood-sucking pest and a pain-free surgical needle
The gyroscope: a remarkable device used to guide everything from submarines to satellites
Bonus 4: Woodpecker and black box
The last bonus ep of #30Animals. For more, search for 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter
From the early typewriters, the QWERTY keyboard layout has stood the test of time
Has the bicycle had its day, or is it a technology whose best years lie ahead?
Mail order catalogue
How the Montgomery Ward shopping catalogue transformed the middle-class way of life
The humble brick has housed us for thousands of years - will it endure?
How a grid on a computer screen gives us a glimpse of the future of automation
Could recycling save cash, as well as the planet?
Did pornography help develop the internet?
Feeding a hungry world – how Norman Borlaug used genetics to tackle predicted famines
Are we addicted to getting 'likes' on social media?
Is the pencil underrated?
How powerful could the technology behind Bitcoin be?
Have factories made workers' lives better?
How a student engineering challenge has changed the way we use space
An everyday substance with a bloody past
How a disgruntled customer revolutionised the postal service
RFID: The tech you’ve never heard of – but use every day
Radio frequency identification is the foundation of many contactless technologies
Does the story of economics really begin with a spark?
A toxic plant that sheds light on hidden social forces
How important is solar power to the future of the planet?
Can a computer convince you that it's human?
How did the price of oil become so important?
The manufacturing revolution that started with a gun
The surprising lessons lurking under the lid
Interface Message Processor
The big metal box that made the internet possible
How much does it cost to outlaw something?
Why did a machine for making cigarettes transform the advertising industry?
What would happen if GPS stopped working?
How did an invention that was never built help make the modern world?
A vital aid for many, but billions don't know they need them
What does the fashion industry owe to an 18th-century potter?
A system that solved big problems is now facing its greatest challenge
What's the best way to get people to give to charity?
An incentive for good performance, or another way to boost executives' pay?
Hollerith punch card
The machine that turned data into money
A device that changed women's lives was designed to make a man very rich
Why does Father Christmas wear red and white?
How should we treat our elders?
How do we feel about being watched?
Fast food franchise
How a milkshake-mixer salesman turned a burger restaurant into a global giant
How miniature greenhouses were a powerful tool for British colonisers
Selling a product that some people found too embarrassing to mention
Did colourful flowers really cause a financial bubble?
The benefits they bring can be huge - but so can the problems
Are things only worth what people are willing to pay for them?
What chess reveals about the power of computers
Spinning wheels, flashing lights, and the business of addiction
A revolutionary technology - so why did its inventor struggle to make money from it?
Introducing 13 Minutes to the Moon Season 2
Jump on-board a doomed mission to the Moon. Apollo 13: the extraordinary story