It’s often asked what positive contributions to society Freemasons have achieved throughout history.
Well, as it turns out, Freemasonry (through the many great men in its ranks), has contributed a LOT.
We’ve already talked about the 15 US presidents who were Freemasons, as well as the great charities supported by Masonic contributions.
We even touched on some of the brilliant scientists who were also Freemasons in a recent post.
Today, we’re presenting one of our best write-ups to date and that is;
A mega-list of 34 world-changing inventions by Freemasons which many (probably even most modern-day Freemasons) don’t know about – yet.
The invention of modern football is accredited to the Freemasons society.
In 1863, a group of English Masons held six consistent meetings at the Freemason’s Tavern on Great Queen Street in London, currently known as the New Connaught Rooms next to Freemasons Hall.
There, they set the rules and structure which are presently used in the game.
This marked the official distinction between rugby and football (Soccer). And, resulting in conventional football.
Using their advanced knowledge in alchemy, they developed the sport into a worldwide success. Some Freemason scholars observe that essential keys of the game are related to ancient symbols.
The book ‘Laws of the Game’ written by Adrian Roebuck, is proof of the Football Association’s formation in 1863. These were the first rules of Soccer drafted after the meeting. Some pages of the book are on display in the National Football Museum, Manchester.
Penicillin was discovered by Sir Alexander Flemming. After World War I, while Alexander was studying the influenza virus, he noticed mold that accidentally grew on the equipment growing the staphylococci germ.
His interest was based on the fact that the mold had formed a bacteria-free zone around itself. Fleming carried out numerous experiments on the mold which he later named Penicillin. His discovery had a large impact on the development of modern medicine.
Alexander Fleming was first initiated into the Sancta Maria Lodge No. 2682 in 1909 at the age of 27. Alexander Flemming was also a member of Misericordia Lodge No. 323286.
The discovery of the smallpox vaccine by Dr. Edward Jenner is said to have saved more lives than any work done by other men. His findings indicated that cowpox which was commonly found on milkmaids could be used to counter-attack the effects of smallpox.
The defeat of deadly smallpox marked a great win to him and Freemasonry.
Edward was an active Freemason. He served as a master of the Royal Lodge of Faith and Friendship, No. 270 in Berkley, Gloucestershire in 1812. This was the beginning of the lodge’s full association with the Jenner family.
First Successful Machine Gun
Richard Gatling, who was an American inventor, created the Gatling gun in 1861. It is the first successful version of a machine gun. The gun had a rotating beam barrel emitting rapid fire.
Gatling’s invention came after he noticed that soldiers in the civil war succumbed to diseases rather than gunshots wounds. In 1877 he wrote,
‘It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine-a gun- which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a large extent supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease [would] be greatly diminished.’
Richard was a member of the Centre Lodge No. 23, in Indianapolis, IN.
Homeopathy involves the use of dilute substances to treat various diseases. The approach involves activating a body’s immune system to start a healing process by introducing side effects similar to those you want to cure.
The principle was invented by Christian F.S. Hahnemann, a German Physician in 1796. According to his beliefs, the use of unknown medicines to treat his patients was unethical forcing him to give up his practice and turn to chemistry and writing.
This formed his inspiration to come up with an alternative solution; homeopathy.
Christian belonged to the ‘St. Andreas zu den drei Seeblattern’ lodge, Hermannstadt. He served as an active Freemason member since 1777.
Theory of DNA
The theory and prediction of the existence of the DNA was first written by Erasmus Darwin in his book ‘The Temple of Nature.’
This book was a major inspiration to his grandson, Charles Darwin who felt compelled to continue his grandfather’s work and ended up making a major theoretical contribution in science.
Erasmus’ books and publications also formed the base of several scientific works. However, he was and still famously known for his work in speculating the existence of DNA in human beings.
He was a known Mason and a member of St. David’s Lodge No.36, Edynurg.
Hot Air Balloon
The hot air balloon was the first successful human-carrying flight technology.
Joseph Michel and his brother invented it. On November 21, 1783, two aviation pioneers in Paris, France, performed the first flight. It was later used in military work.
Today, hot air balloons are used for recreational purposes. With several technological advancements, one can fly higher and across a larger distance than before.
Joseph Michel, one of the original French inventors, was a Mason and a member of the ‘Les Neuf Soeurs‘ lodge (Nine sisters’ lodge) in Paris.
The invention of the telephone is often linked with Alexander Graham Bell. Even though several speculations point to the existence of the telephone idea long before him, Alexander was the first person to be awarded a successful patent.
The father of the original telephone designs has evolved over the years to form the sophisticated models we currently own.
Graham Bell was an active Freemason. One of his friends, Claudy, was a member of Harmony Lodge No.17 and later on raised to Grand Master.
SI Unit of Power
James Watt, a Scottish inventor, developed the concept of horsepower used to measure the rate of work. It is often applied when determining the output of engines or motors in general.
Apart from that, the SI Symbol Watt used to quantify the rate of 1 Joule per Second when measuring the rate at which energy is transferred was named after him.
Up to date, the symbols W (Watt) and hp (Horsepower) are used as official SI units when carrying out practical studies.
James was an active Freemason. He was initiated into the brotherhood in his mid-twenties at The Glasgow Royal Arch Lodge, No.77.
This lodge, however, has been non-existent since 1810. A lodge was also named after him – Lodge James Watt, No. 1215 – in his hometown.
Even though automobiles were already in use in different parts of Europe long before his innovation, Henry Ford was the first to create a car affordable to the American middle class in 1908.
It was known as Model T. His creation saw the rise in use of cars all over the US.
Henry Ford played a significant role during the modernization age experienced in the United States. Model T also earned the title of ‘ most influential car of the 20th century’ in 1999.
Henry was first initiated into the Palestine Lodge No. 357. In 1894, he was made the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.
As a devoted member of the order, he managed to balance his masonic career with his businesses and innovations.
Henry received the 33rd Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in 1940. This crowned the many decades of Masonic services he offered in his life.
The first patent credited to the vapor-compression refrigeration cycle was given to Jacob Perkins.
He is known as ‘the father of the refrigerator’ due to his invention. Even though the idea was already existent, no one had tried to build a working refrigerator before Jacob Perkins.
His original prototype, which was made in 1834, was well functional even when closed. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell well commercially.
However, Jacob’s work paved the way for the creation of modern refrigerators. His work was used to advance and come up with better results.
Jacob Perkins was a member of the St. Peter’s Lodge, Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he dutifully executed his masonic duties.
Apart from his immense contribution to the refrigerator, he also engraved England’s first postage stamp, invented the machine used in the production of nails, a picometer to detect the speed at which a vessel travels in water and several other things
Nitrous Oxide was nicknamed Laughing gas in 1799 by an English scientist called Humphry Davy.
He was the first person to experiment using nitrous oxide, and he was fascinated with how it made him laugh hence the nickname. At the time, he worked as an apprentice to a surgeon.
Humphry furthered his research on Nitrous Oxide and even wrote a paper on its potential anesthetic properties that can be used to relieve pain during medical procedures.
His significant contributions in England exceeded scientific discoveries. On 27th April 1989, a lodge was named after him. Up to date, Sir Humphry Davy Lodge No. 9237, is still operational.
Hypertext and Computer Networks
Even though computers were not accessible until after the 1950s, the idea of hypertext by Vannevar Bush had existed long before that.
Several people term Vannevar as the ‘godfather of the internet.’
He is credited as the first person to have an actual mental picture of a system called a ‘memex’ which connected and transferred information in the same way as new hypertextual links.
Although Vannevar wasn’t directly involved in hypertext development, in an article published back in 1945, he is noted as the brains behind the idea.
Vannevar Bush was a devoted Freemason who served as a Master of the Richard C. Maclaurin Lodge for members of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The exciting part is the lodge sponsored one of the first internet sites on Freemasonry in his honor.
The page was to document facts about the brotherhood. Up to date, the site is still functional, owning the title of the World’s Oldest Masonic Websites.
Benjamin Franklin had several inventions in his name, among which was the concept of bifocals, in other words, double glasses.
Benjamin realized that as he advanced in age, his eyesight became worse.
He became both short and long-sighted. Due to his double eyesight condition, he was forced to have two different pairs of spectacles.
Franklin soon became tired of switching from one pair to another leading him to invent the ‘double glasses.’ He merged the lenses between the two different pairs; reading and distance, into one.
The glasses’ new couple had two distinctions, top horizontal layer for distance and bottom for reading. Thanks to his invention, a single pair of glasses can be multipurpose.
He served as a member of the brotherhood for over 60 years. His long life dedication is a clear indication of Franklin’s devotion to Freemasonry.
Isaac Newton is famously known for coming up with the law of gravitational pull.
He invented calculus in the late 1600s. The calculus concept is widely applicable in various mathematical studies and a little bit in physics.
It allowed mathematicians and engineers to understand the motion and dynamic of change in the world around us.
Apart from calculus, Isaac Newton also made major inventions in various scientific fields from Physics, Astronomy, etc. However, his work progressed slowly due to the constant opposition he faced from the church.
Newton’s involvement with Freemasons goes way back to the formation of the first lodge in England in 1717. During his time, the society was operating in absolute secrecy; therefore, some vital details were kept away from the public.
Nevertheless, Isaac helped in founding the Lodge of England. Also, Masonic principles of inquiry and freedom of thought guided him in exploring and unveiling the several mysteries of nature.
Standard Time Zones
Time zones differ from one zone to another. The invention of Standard Time Zones is accredited to Sir Sanford Flemming, a Scottish inventor, and engineer.
His contribution led to the adoption of the present time meridians used today. He is also credited with the use of a 24-hour clock system as a tool of communicating accurate time.
Flemming’s inspiration to adopt a single 24-hour clock for the entire world was spooked after he missed a train while traveling to Ireland in 1876 due to a printing error in the schedule which indicated p.m instead of a.m.
Some of his other achievements include engineering the cross-continental Canadian Pacific Railway.
Sir Sanford was a Freemason member. The brotherhood provided Flemming with influential links and connections relevant to his field. He belonged to St. Andrew’s Lodge No.16, Toronto, Ontario, in Canada.
A planetarium is a theatre set for presenting entertaining and educational shows on the night sky and astronomy.
The idea of creating planetariums is originally from Rev. John Theophilus Desaguliers. He is also acknowledged for the advancement of the steam engine design by adding the safety valve.
Even though Theophilus was initially born in France, he settled in England. His success and contribution to Freemasonry were evident in the succession of the first Grand Lodge in London.
He served as the third Grand Master of the Lodge. Because of his investment in the brotherhood, John was given the title, ‘Father of Modern speculative Freemasonry.’