WW1 tech still in use today

WW1 tech still in use today

Summary: Lots of the high tech gadgets and ideas we use today were developed for use in the Great War one hundred years ago. We round up the greatest technology inventions of WW1 which are still in use.


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  • If you think that the Amazon drone is a new invention, then think again.

    We round up some of the coolest inventions from the 1914-1918 World War 1 that have improved and advanced to awesomeness over the last 100 years.

    Image: ZDNet

  • Tank

    The Tank was based on caterpillar tracks which were invented in 1770. The first tank, or “landship” as it was then known, was constructed in September 1915 in the UK.

    The first tanks were very unreliable mechanically and termed tanks due to their resemblance to steel water tanks.

    It was first shown to the British Army in February 1916 followed by the French who deployed tanks at the front line in April 1917. The Allies manufactured several thousand tanks for use in the war whereas the Germans only deployed 20.

    Image: Wikimedia Commons

    *** Correction***

    They were called tanks because the crates they were shipped to France from England in were labeled "WATER TANKS" to confuse the Germans.  Not for any resemblance to an actual water tank.

    H/T Roger Perkins

    ***Correction 2***

    They were called Tanks because they were made in a water Tank factory in Lincoln, England. The first Tank was called Mother. 

    H/T Buggsie



Topics: Hardware, After Hours, Innovation

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  • meta balloon?

    A helium balloon was sent across French lines by balloon
    • The first "balloon" was

      a typo, it should have been Baboon...
      • That's worse

        A Helium Baboon??
        Buster Friendly
        • It makes as much sense as the

          first version.
  • Still in use today?

    "Artillery Motorcycle"

    Still in use today?

    Last time I was was on a military base, they had plenty of crazy and interesting weapons and vehicles - but nothing like an artillery motorcycle. And I can't recall any recent media coverage with an artillery motorcycle either.

    So while it was a cool invention, to be sure, I'm not sure it qualifies as "still in use."
    • Does a machine gun

      even qualify as Artillery?
      • WWII versions carried recoilless guns and anti-tank


        Couldn't find any current images though.
    • The motorcycle

      Heck, change the handlebars and the fuel tank and you have the new Harleys.
  • Gas mask - not a "Canadian" invention

    Actually, Cluny MacPherson was not a Canadian. He was a Newfoundlander which was a Dominion of the British Empire the same as Canada, Australia and New Zealand at the time. Nice to be noticed, though!
  • Light machine gun

    The light machine gun along with the tank are probably the most globally influential WW1 developments still used today.
    Buster Friendly
  • Tank

    While we're all being so picky ... "Tank" was a code word and the first tanks were sent to France in boxes marked as "Tank", because putting "Land ship" on them might have been a bit of a giveaway!
    Will McClenaghan
    • Tank Commander

      by Ronald Welch is a great read. He is best known as a children's author, but Tank Commander is gritty and falls more at young adult on.

      It gives an interesting insight into what is must have been like to be inside one of those early tanks.
    • Yep, it was to fool the Germans

      They were like "Land Ships", too - the Royal Navy was in charge of development, since they had the experience with engines. There were quite a few proposals for similar vehicles before the war, rejected by most governments. The French actually had plans to build one in 1903 that was a much more reasonable design than what the Brits came up with, but they abandoned the project.
      • Particularly if you take note of very early iron warships...

        More civil war era, admittedly, but some of those early ironclads, its not so hard to see a lot of the navel warfare armor technological thinking going into the WWI tanks.

        After all, at that point who in weapons engineering had any great knowledge about mobilized armor than the navy. Before tanks there wasn't anything much like it in the army.

        The air force today still has no ability to put massive thick plates of mettle all over their airplanes, and certainly nothing like that in WWI, so the navy was unsurprisingly the go to force.
  • John Browning

    John Browning's 1911 pistol design is still in use today.
    Gray Wanderer
    • A real tribute to true innovation.

      When anything takes over so quickly, so completely and for that long with little serious changes, its a mark of real innovation.
  • The establishment of medical corps...

    ...which resulted in huge advancements in battlefield medicine and relatively efficient methods to extract the wounded in battle and treat them as soon as possible (at least compared to previous wars, when most of the wounded died simply because no one would retrieve them until the battle was over.) Also, for the first time psychiatric medicine was introduced and PTSD was treated as an illness and not just a sign that the soldier "went crazy." Plastic surgery was also pretty much a WWI invention, initially meant to restore a minimum of dignity to badly disfigured soldiers.
  • Peloponnesian War tech still in use today

    Just sayin'...