Competition: send us your amazing invention ideas for a chance to win a £100 goody bag!
Learn about some of the great inventions the Victorians designed during the Industrial Revolution and then come up with your own brilliant idea. Use your imagination to come up with an amazing new invention that will go down in history!
This competition has now closed.
Time to shine
During the Victorian period many new inventions were created. These inventions solved problems and improved people’s lives. As you will see from these examples, some were so good that we still use them today!
The Rover Safety Bicycle was created by JK Starley during the 1880s. Before that the penny farthing, with a large wheel at the front and small wheel at the back, was the most common bicycle but it wasn’t very safe to ride. The Rover, which looks very similar to the modern bicycle, became very popular as it helped people be able to move around safely and easily.
The inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell, who patented the telephone, used their knowledge of electricity and sound to come up with the graphophone (pictured), which was the first device to play music. It could record and play voices and instruments. Emile Berliner then invented the first record, a flat disc that stored sounds on it, and a device to play it on, which he called the gramophone.
Many inventors contributed to the design of the flushing toilet, but plumber George Jennings was the first to create a public flushing toilet. In 1851 he displayed it at the Great Exhibition in London, a celebration of new ideas and design (pictured are Queen Victoria and Prince Albert opening the exhibition).
The toilet was very popular with visitors, with more than 800,000 people paying one penny to use it (for the price, they also got their shoes shined). This even led to a popular expression – instead of saying they were going to have a wee, people would say that they were going to ‘spend a penny’!
But not all of the ideas from the Victorian period were successful, or ever made. There were scissors that had a knife and fork instead of blades so you could eat with one hand, a pair of gloves with a hidden purse in the palm, and even an air-conditioned top hat to keep your head cool!
Send us your ideas
Now we’d like you to come up with your own invention! You can be inspired by the Victorian ideas described on this page, or you can design your own creation using your imagination. Will it be something to have fun with, or will it be a useful gizmo to make life easier? Who will it be for, and how will they use it? If you’re stuck for ideas, walk around your home, school or playground and look at what you use – can it be made better?
You can create it with whatever you like – draw or paint it, make it out of Lego, use plasticine, build it out of cardboard or something else you have at home.
How to enter
Once you’ve designed an amazing invention, you can enter it into our competition to be in with a chance of winning a goody bag of prizes worth £100 from our online shop. Ask an adult to scan or take a clear photograph of it and send it to us, along with a short description of what the invention does and how it works, at firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your full name and age, and your parent or guardian’s membership number, name and address.
Please make sure you have your parent or guardian’s permission to enter, and check the terms and conditions below. Entries must be in by midnight on Sunday 7 August 2022. Good luck!Enter now!