An Engineer’s Top 10 Breakthroughs since the Wheel

greenwaltby Paul Greenwalt

The Atlantic (a monthly magazine known for its cultural and literary trend commentary) published an article listing the “50 Greatest Breakthroughs since the Wheel.”   This prompted me to poll the office and find out: what are an Engineer’s Top 10 Greatest Breakthroughs since the Wheel?

Here at Wood Harbinger, we have 34 Professional Engineers and 5 Engineers in Training, of which 20 are LEED-accredited.  We have 76 total staff members which include electrical, fire protection, industrial systems, and mechanical engineers, drafters and designers, information technology specialists, and a team of support staff from accounting, IT, marketing, production services, and specification writers.

We had 29 participants brainstorm the “Top 10 Breakthroughs since the Wheel”.  I provided them a list of inventions, concepts, and theories as well as having the office augment the list with a few more suggestions.  The best of the worst included: the Stapler, Rubber, Grunge music, Nuclear Fusion, the Moldboard Plow, and American Football (Go Seahawks)!

The Voting results were fun to tally and, without further ado, here are the results!

#10 – The compass (2.9%)


#9 – The light bulb (2.9%)

light bulb

#8 – The telephone (2.9%)


#7 – Vaccination (3.2%)


#6 – The automobile (3.2%)


#5 – Penicillin (3.6%)


#4 – Refrigeration (3.6%)


#3 – The internet (4.3%)

Best Internet Concept of global business from concepts series








#2 – The airplane (5%)

seahawks plane

#1 – Electricity (7.5%)


And there you have it; the top 10 breakthroughs since the wheel from an engineer’s point of view.  We would love to know what you think!  Feel free to comment and add your own Top Breakthrough!


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