From toothpaste to socks: The inventions which have had the biggest impact on Brits’ lives

From toothpaste to socks: The inventions which have had the biggest impact on Brits’ lives


A study of 2,000 adults revealed it’s the humble creations which are held dear, with 66 per cent admitting they take these small things for granted. While technological discoveries including the internet, mobile phones and televisions topped the list, the likes of painkillers, toilet paper and laundry detergent also featured. Sat-Navs, hair dryers and cling film are also among the items considered to have had a big impact.

It also emerged more than half believe the reason we take such inventions for granted is because we have easy access to them.

The research was commissioned by Nurofen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ibuprofen first being given to a patient.

Nurofen brand manager, Marcella Christophersen, said: “While not all inventions are world renowned or all inventors household names, the research demonstrates that it’s the things we often take for granted, such as pain relief, that are ultimately most important to us.

“Although it’s been 50 years since ibuprofen first became available, we’re always striving to deliver the best products and solutions by continually learning and understanding more about pain and pain management.

“We want to make it easier for people to resolve their pain on the go, or on a desert island for that matter.”

The study also found that despite its impact, less than one in five were able to name the inventor of ibuprofen – Dr Stewart Adams – compared to three in four who confidently named Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook’s founder.

As a result, 45 percent admitted the creators of small, impactful products should be more well-known, and a third wish they knew more about how everyday items were discovered.

More than a third also said they couldn’t imagine a whole year without painkillers and 46 percent feel the same about toothpaste.

A further four in 10 would struggle for 12 months without a mobile phone and the internet.

Similarly, one in three wouldn’t leave the house without pain relief, with 70 percent of these being women compared to 18 percent of men.

And almost two thirds said their pain management would be difficult if they couldn’t buy painkillers off the shelf.

When asked what items they would pack for their desert island survival kit, painkillers topped the list.

Inventions which have had the ‘biggest impact’ on Brits:

1. Internet 

2. Mobile phone 

3. Television 

4. Toilet paper 

5. WiFi 

6. Toothpaste 

7. Painkillers 

8. Online banking 

9. Deodorant 

10. Scissors

11. Ballpoint pens 

12. Socks 

13. Laundry detergent 

14. Sat-Nav

15. Sunscreen 

16. Alarm clock 

17. Plasters

18. Clothes hangers 

19. Sunglasses 

20. Hair dryer 

21. Umbrella 

22. Headphones 

23. Lip balm 

24. Tin foil

25. Portable phone charger 

26. Ironing board 

27. Cling film 

28. Hand cream 

29. Nail file 

30. Eyebrow tweezers 

31. Tupperware 

32. Mouthwash 

33. Hair curlers/straighteners 

34. Vitamins 

35. Dental floss 

36. Air freshener 

37. Hairbands 

38. Make up remover 

39. Hand sanitizer 

40. Dry shampoo

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