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 covered the brilliant scientists who were Freemasons in a recent post, but today we’re taking a look at what their inventions were, so with that said, here are 34 world-chaning inventions by Freemasons.
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 gunshot 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.’
Disposable Safety Razor (Gillette)
Back in the 1800s, men shaved with straight razors that needed regular sharpening. Camp Gillette invented a disposable safety razor blade.
Gillette realized the importance of disposable products after working for the Crown Cork Bottle and seal company as a salesman. He observed that so many people would throw away bottle tops after using them once or twice.
At the moment, safety razor blades were already in use, but they weren’t disposable. Gillette, together with expert metallurgists, perfected and patented the idea.
In 1903, Gillette and his associates produced the first bunch from Gillette Safety Razor Company.
By 1915, the company had tremendously grown and had even expanded production from the US to Canada, Germany, Britain, and France. Today, his company is the famous Gillette Brand owned by Procter & Gamble.
King Camp Gillette was a Freemason. In June of 1901, he was raised in the Adelphi Lodge in Quincy, Massachusetts.
A bowie knife, a patterned fix-blade fighting knife, was created by James Bowie, popularly known as Jim, with a little help from his brother.
James was a legendary war hero, frontiersman as well as a designer. His invention is a huge part of the American Cultural history.
In his life, James was known to be a violent man engaging in several brawls. In the Sandbar Fight, Bowie is said to have killed Sheriff Rapides Parish, Norris Wright, with a rare long knife. This became the famous hunting knife.
Over the years, different manufacturers have incorporated different designs; the original idea was from Bowie.
Bowie was an active Freemason and a member of the Humble Chaumiere Lodge No. 19 at Opelousas, Louisiana.
The popularisation of the revolver was done by American inventor Samuel Colt.
According to Colt, his inspiration was from watching how the wheels of a ship seamlessly interacted with the clutching system in such a way that they always ended up perfectly aligned.
While still a young boy, Colt was interested in explosives and firearms. He conducted a couple of experiments that he would use to impress his peers.
Samuel patented his prototype gun in 1836 at the age of 22.
It was a modification of Elisha Collier’s revolving pistol, which he added a lock to make it increase safety and reliability. The revolver was the first repeating firearm. Its usage in battle became popular during the Mexican-America war. Up to date, it is still known as the Colt Patterson.
At the time, the guns were made partly by machine and hand. Colt envisioned solely using machinery in production, which led to the establishment of the gun assembly line.
Apart from his innovation and manufacturing skills, Colt was a known Freemason and a member of St. John’s Lodge in Hartford, Connecticut.
Drive Pipe Underground Oil Drilling Technique
Edwin Drake, an American businessman, was the first person in the nation to come up with the idea of a drive pipe. Edwin was hired by a Seneca Oil company to examine potential oil fields in Titusville, Pennsylvania.
After years of continuous drilling without any success, people started to despair. It was at this point that Drake cast an iron pipe, 10 feet long, in the ground. The equipment was lowered down the pipe, which led to incredible progress being made in a day.
Edwin became famous for instigating the new method of extracting oil from the ground. This led to the popularization of other oil products, i.e., petroleum. The same principle is used today by companies to mine hydrocarbons.
Even though there is evidence which traces the use of pipes to prevent a drilling hole from collapsing before Drake used it, his technique accelerated the production of oil in the United States. He died a very poor man because he failed to patent his drilling technique.
Drake Masonic career is evident from his membership at Oil Creek Lodge No. 3 in Titusville, Pennsylvania.
Famous author and humorist Mark Twain invented the bra strap. At first, the strap was intended to be used to fasten garments such as shirts. It was created to replace the popularly used suspenders.
Twain visioned the invention to help in making several clothes adjustable to fit people perfectly. The idea was patented on 19 December 1871. The patent read ‘vests, pantaloons or other garments requiring straps.’
However, the invention did not pick for its intended use. Since then, vests had buckled to tighten them up, and pantaloons didn’t need to be snugly, they were a better fit when buggy. Instead, it ended up being an essential part of brassieres that are used in designing the women undergarment up to date.
Apart from being an inventor and an author, Mark Twain was a Freemason. He presented his petition to Polar Star Lodge No. 79 of Saint Louis on 26 December 1860 and receive his first degree on 18 February 1861.
He was later on raised to Master Mason. Due to his busy career, Twain wasn’t actively involved in Masonic activities. However, he maintained his affiliation to the brotherhood until his engagement to Olivia Langdon.
Harland David Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken famously known as KFC, developed a ‘secret recipe’ of cooking fried chicken.
Sanders went ahead to patent his method of preparing chicken in a pressure fryer after recognizing the potential his recipe holds.
Today, KFC franchises are scattered all over the world, holding one of the top ranks of having the best chicken. The pressure frying method soon became modified and used by other fast-food restaurants to cook meat products.
This commercial recipe of frying chicken is credited to David Sanders, who came up with the concept and applied it in growing his fast-food restaurant. Later on, he sold his restaurant and became an ambassador. This explains why his face is still in KFC restaurants.
Harland was a known Freemason. He was initiated into the brotherhood on 6 April 1917.
On 27 February 1920, Sanders relinquished his masonic duties in Lodge No. 651, Henryville, Indiana.
Years later, on 27 October 1953, he was once again affiliated to Freemasonry Hugh Harris Lodge No. 938, Corbin, Whitley County, Kentucky, until 13 April 1976.
Sanders was also a 33rd degree Freemason and one of the nobles of Oleika Shrine Lexington, Ky.
Astronauts undergo underwater training techniques to prepare them for spacewalking. This gives them a sense of non-gravitational movement.
Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin devised the idea of underwater training. He was the second person to set foot on the moon after Neil Amstrong. Buzz has always been an inventor pioneering different ideas that are used by NASA.
Currently, the ‘underwater training’ forms a huge part of space training.
His passion for flying activities were inherently a genetic thing. He was a son of aviation pioneer, Air Force Colonel Edwin Eugene Aldrin, and his mother was the daughter of an Army Chaplain.
Buzz was an active Freemason. He holds the title of the first Mason to land on the moon. During his Apollo 11 mission, the Texas Grand Master approved Edwin’s request to open a Grand Lodge of Texas on the moon.
He even planted a flag of the Supreme Council Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction to the moon. Therefore, he is the first person to establish a masonic jurisdiction in space.
Buzz was initiated in Oak Park Lodge No. 864 in Alabama. Later on, he was raised at Lawrence N. Greenleaf Lodge, No. 169 in Colorado.
Mickey Mouse is a memorable cartoon character that has been on television screen years on end. The character was invented by Walter Elias Disney, famously known as Walt Disney.
Apart from Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney created numerous other characters such as Donald Duck and 101 dalmatians. Also, he was the first person to release a colored animation film. His success in animation largely impacted the industry.
Walt also introduced animation featured theme parks that are popular in the US, Europe, and other Westen countries.
Walt Disney’s involvement with Freemason can be traced back to his membership in the Order of DeMolay. DeMolay is an organization used to school young men with potential that was formed and named after the last Grand Master of Templar.
It is important to note that DeMolay is often considered a part of Freemasonry rather than a separate organization.
Theory of Relativity
The theory of relativity encompasses special relativity and general relativity. These two theories explain what happens in the absence of gravity and the gravitational law in relation to other natural forces respectively.
The theory caused the transformation of theoretical physics in the 20th century, something that happened nearly 200 years ago. It introduced some of the important concepts of physics i.e space and time, kinematics, length contraction, etc.
The theory of relativity was developed by Albert Einstein. His contribution to physics, modern physics, and philosophy played a huge role in scientific studies.
Albert was said to be among the top scientists and also a Freemason, even though his membership and initiation were not well documented.
Steam Driven Ploughing Engine
The first steam engine used for plowing and digging drainage channels was invented by John Fowler, an English agricultural engineer. Before his creation, farm work was done by horses. This was quite tiresome and time-consuming.
John’s interest was in creating farming equipment in his twenties. He experimented on various equipment without much success. At the time, he competed at different shows to showcase his different modifications year in year out.
Fowler was among the first people to receive a patent for the agricultural invention. The idea behind the steam-driven plowing engine was modified and used to create more advanced plowing tractors that revolutionized farming.
Jasperware is a luxurious type of pottery that is often used as a decoration. It is produced by many different colors with a matte ‘biscuit’ finish. It provides a cameo effect, therefore, making it more artistic.
Josiah Wedgewood initially developed jasperware in the 1770s. In the 1780s, he had already started selling his creation to the public. His work became popular, and other artists began copying his designs.
The decoration provided an elegant Neoclassical style that would be used centuries to come. Over the years, Jasperware design has been used to make portraits, art, vases, tableware, teawares, i.e., cups, saucers, etc.
Josiah Wedgewood was not a Freemason. Although most of his counterparts were members of the brotherhood. Josiah was part of an intellectual group with other famous inventors, i.e, James Watt and his closest friend Erasmus Darwin.
The group was known as the Lunar Society and met once a month during full moons, just like other traditional Masonic lodges.
Wedgwood’s name was well linked with brotherhood. In 1887, a lodge was named after him. The Josiah Wedgewood No. 2214 in Stoke-on-Trent is still operational.
Fingerprint classification was an essential development in forensic science. The ability to match fingerprints to an individual made police tasks and litigation procedures ten times easier. Sir Francis Galton invented this concept.
At the time, manual filing systems were used since the computers were yet to be developed.
Thanks to Galton’s work, fingerprints can easily be used in identification processes. In 1892, he published the book ‘FingerPrints’ to explain his discovery. His concept was, however, modified by other scientists over the years.
Francis was very knowledgeable in different fields. In psychology, he developed the concept of psychometrics, also referred to as ‘the science of measuring mental faculties.’
His work made it easier to test actual theoretical techniques in psychological measurements. Galton also initiated some meteorological concepts, among other things.
Galton joined Freemason via the Scientific Lodge held at the Red Lion Inn in Cambridge.
His Masonic career can be primarily attributed to his family since his half-grandfather Erasmus Darwin was a Lunar Member and a known Freemason.
Boyle’s Law of physics was named after Robert Boyle. It states that ‘the absolute pressure exerted by a given mass of an ideal gas is inversely proportional to the volume if the temperature and amount of gas remain unchanged within a closed system.’
This principle is highly applicable in scientific studies. For instance, it is used to describe human beings’ breathing systems. How lungs expand to accommodate air or deflate when breathing out simultaneously increases or decreases pressure.
This forms a difference in pressure between the air inside and outside, therefore resulting in a concentration gradient that facilitates the movement of air from high to low pressure.
Also, other scientists expounded more on Boyle’s Law to come up with other essential gas laws.
Robert Boyle was a member of the Royal Society. At the time, he wasn’t officially a mason yet, but he joined later on.
The metal lathe used in cutting metal was invented in 1800 by Henry Maudslay.
He is famously known as the ‘father of machine technology.’ The metal lathe paved the way for the creation of screw thread sizes, which were used to make interchangeable parts.
This prompted the beginning of mass production since the equipment assembly had been made easier.
Before Henry’s creation, Lathes existed in the market, but they couldn’t be used to cut metal. Hence the taxonomic name ‘screw-cutting lathe.’ Today, the equipment is not identified by its taxonomy name.
They have adopted simpler terms such as wood screws, machine screws, wallboard screws, etc. Due to numerous technological advancements, machines are more inclined to make screws.
Henry was a very enthusiastic mason. He was a member of Vitruvian Lodge No. 87, which held its meetings in Lambeth. Most of the lodge members were involved in the same work as Maudslay.
He rose in Masonic ranks and became Junior Deacon in Grand Lodge and Grand Sword Bearer in Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in 1864.
Early Flight Technology
The Montgolfier brothers are credited with the invention of the air balloon, which was the first object to lift human beings from the ground.
Romanian inventor and engineer Traian Vuia is one of the earliest innovators of flight technology.
Traian works were more modifications to existing concepts. In 1906, he invented a self-propelled, fixed-wing craft complete with landing wheels. It is essential to note the ‘maiden flight’ by the Wright Brothers on 17 December 1903.
With his ‘plane,’ Vuia managed to about 3 feet off the ground. This is equivalent to 39 feet and managed to land successfully.
His model was an improvement from earlier creations. Apart from being a genius in aeronautics, Traiana was a Freemason.
He belonged to Romania’s Masonic Order. At the time, the lodge was still settling following previous unification of lodges in 1880.
Vuia was actively involved in Freemason activities. During the wake of World War 1, Traian was among a group of Freemasons who had traveled to a Peace conference in Paris to be part of the Paris Ernest Renan Lodge as a sign of settling any disputes between the two countries.
His contribution to the lodge was highly apprehended by everyone, including journalists of the French Fraternity.
The Dow Process
The dow process is a method used to extract bromine using electrolysis to oxidize bromide to bromine. The process was named after its inventor Herbert Henry Dow who was a chemical industrialist.
Henry founded the Dow company that manufactures plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products. The company is currently over 123 years and is known as the ‘chemical companies’ since it sells to other companies instead of consumers.
When starting his company, using his Dow process, Henry only sold bleach and bromide. However, as it expanded, product diversification occurred, leading to more products. Today, the Dow process is still being used in manufacturing processes.
Henry was a known freemason. The exact details about his membership and the lodge he belonged to are, however, still unclear.
Corn Flakes & Peanut Butter
Corn flakes were invented in the 19th century by Dr. John Harvey Kellog. John Harvey was a doctor who specializes in nutrition. He is known as the ‘father of breakfast cereals.’
His interest in the development of corn flakes came as a result of his popular belief that decay of teeth was caused by failure to chew food properly.
Kellog decided to come up with food that was suitable for patients without teeth, sore teeth, diseased gums, or toothlessness. Because such patients needed something they could easily chew without hurting their gums or teeth.
He experimented with toasted cereals while dry until he came up with the perfect recipe for rice flakes, corn flakes, etc.
He patented his idea and built Kellogg, company in 1894, which is still operational. It was during this time that Harvey became a Freemason.
Harvey Kellog also invented and patented peanut butter. Even though the peanut paste was already created at the moment, Kellog was the first to make peanut butter from raw peanuts.
He marketed it as a nutritious product for people who couldn’t chew their food correctly. He also came up with the famous granola.
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