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16 Things That Wouldn't Exist If Scotland Hadn't Invented Them

Enjoying those tiny Speedos at the Olympics? Yep, that was us.

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1. Kirin Ichiban beer.

Kirin Ichiban might strike you as the most Japanese brand of all time, but the precursor to the company was actually established by Thomas Blake Glover, a Scottish merchant who lived in Japan during the 1800s.
Twitter: @kirinusa

Kirin Ichiban might strike you as the most Japanese brand of all time, but the precursor to the company was actually established by Thomas Blake Glover, a Scottish merchant who lived in Japan during the 1800s.

2. Grand Theft Auto.

Giphy / Rockstar North

The mega-popular "running people over and blowing things up" game was created by DMA Design in Dundee in 1997. It's now made by Rockstar North in Edinburgh.

3. The pedal bicycle.

Giphy

The modern pedal bicycle was invented by a Scottish blacksmith called Kirkpatrick Macmillan in 1839. He lived in a teeny-tiny hamlet called Keir in Dumfriesshire. He never patented (or made any money) from his invention.

4. The Robot Olympics.

Yep, the Robot Olympics are a real thing, and they first took place in Glasgow in 1990. The games were held in the University of Strathclyde's Sports Centre and featured 68 robots from 12 different countries.
en.wikipedia.org / Creative Commons

Yep, the Robot Olympics are a real thing, and they first took place in Glasgow in 1990. The games were held in the University of Strathclyde's Sports Centre and featured 68 robots from 12 different countries.

5. Television...

TV as we know it today was invented by Scottish electrical engineer John Logie Baird (1888–1946). This creepy AF photo shows one of Baird's original television images of a moving face, which he transmitted at his first public demonstration.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

TV as we know it today was invented by Scottish electrical engineer John Logie Baird (1888–1946). This creepy AF photo shows one of Baird's original television images of a moving face, which he transmitted at his first public demonstration.

6. ...the BBC...

The BBC was founded by Baron John Reith in 1922, who was born in Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire; he was the BBC's first director-general. The first BBC television broadcasts would have been viewed on a Baird Televisor (pictured above).
Reg Speller / Getty Images

The BBC was founded by Baron John Reith in 1922, who was born in Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire; he was the BBC's first director-general. The first BBC television broadcasts would have been viewed on a Baird Televisor (pictured above).

7. ...and Sherlock Holmes.

BBC

Because what's the point of TV (or the BBC) if there's nothing to watch? The character of Sherlock Holmes was invented by Scottish novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was born in Edinburgh in 1859.

8. Tractor beams.

Paramount / Giphy

A Star Trek-like tractor beam was invented by scientists at the University of St Andrews in 2013. NASA has since funded a study into how to apply the tractor beam for use in space.

9. Ice hockey.

Giphy

The seeds of this most Canadian of sports were sown by Scottish soldiers stationed in Canada in the 1800s who started playing shinty on frozen lakes, although the modern sport was also influenced by English field hockey.

10. The electric toaster...

The first electric bread toaster was invented by Alan MacMasters from Edinburgh in 1893. It was called "The Eclipse" (pictured right). The bread sat on a rack in front of four electric coils, which heated and toasted it.

11. ...and marmalade.

Invented in Dundee by an 18th-century sweet shop owner called Janet Keiller. Janet's husband was fobbed off with a shipment of overly bitter oranges, so resourceful Janet boiled them with sugar and invented the first shred marmalade.
etsy.com

Invented in Dundee by an 18th-century sweet shop owner called Janet Keiller. Janet's husband was fobbed off with a shipment of overly bitter oranges, so resourceful Janet boiled them with sugar and invented the first shred marmalade.

12. The F-Type Jaguar...

Jaguar.com

The sexy 2013 F-Type was designed by Ian Callum, a Scot who has been chief designer at Jaguar since 1999. He also designed the Aston Martin Vanquish, which was the official Bond car in the 2001 film Die Another Day.

13. ...and tarmac roads.

instagram.com

You wouldn't get far in your shiny new Jag without decent roads. Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam (1756–1836) invented the precursor to tarmac.

14. Aspirin.

Instagram: @nastatia

Ideal for Kirin beer hangovers. The earliest form of the popular painkiller was developed in Dundee in 1876 by Dr Thomas John MacLagan during his research into the effects of salicin, an extract from willow bark.

15. Waterproof fabric.

Giphy

Because of course Scottish people would lead the way in this field. Waterproof fabric was patented by Charles Macintosh in 1823 (hence the Macintosh coat).

16. And, most importantly of all, the Speedo.

Getty / Matthew Stockman / BuzzFeed

You probably think of Speedo as an Aussie company, but its founder, Alexander MacRae, emigrated from Loch Kishorn in the western Highlands of Scotland to Sydney in 1910. So next time you're watching a BBC broadcast of Tom Daley in his Speedos on your TV while eating toast, say, "Thank you, Scotland."

This post was compiled with help from staff at the new V&A Museum of Design in Dundee. The upcoming V&A-curated exhibition Adventures in Design in Milan will feature some of these inventions.