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Thread: Cool things invented in SA

  1. #46


    Quote Originally Posted by JStrike View Post
    That's quite a bold statement.
    Don't you mean that that could possibly be the reason? Or are you sure it would have been a commercial success otherwise?
    Because the only thing we know for sure is that it was a commercial failure. Everything else is speculation
    I did some work at Denel around 1992-1993, on the periphery of the rooivalk project. There was a lot of unhappiness around the fact that overseas deals for the Rooivalk, including from the UK, were being cancelled because of political pressure from the USA.

  2. #47


    The Joule by Optimal Energy :
    You can do something for love, you can do something for money, but there is nothing quite so satisfying as doing something out of spite - Jeremy Clarkson, 1991

  3. #48
    Super Grandmaster ponder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    KZN Dolphin Coast


    Quote Originally Posted by larryn View Post
    I heard painted road lines are a South African invention... not sure though, can someone verify? If it is true, this is quite significant. Kimberly was the first town in the world to run on electricity, not an invention, but a significant innovation.
    Did some googling and everything points to three americans being credited with the invention,

    Edward N. Hines, Kenneth Ingalls Sawyer, Dr. June McCarroll

    entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem

  4. #49
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    mrs Ball`s!

    i win

    seriously though.... we suck, invent something!

  5. #50
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Chartwell, South Africa.


    Quote Originally Posted by phenom View Post
    Patent grants per capita per million SA = 354/50=7.08 Patent Grants per capita USA = 154,760/300=515 (USA files nearly 100 TIMES more patents), Japan = 217,364/127=1711 (250 times more) , Israel 3,194/7 =456http://www.wipo.int/ipstats/en/stati...b_931.html#a13 What is wrong?
    What's wrong is that the US Patent Office, unlike that in the UK (and, I believe, in RSA) doesn't bother to actually verify that a patent is "new and original". This leads to some serious weirdness. My favourite example is the child's swing, which the US Patent Office happily allowed one Steven Olson to patent, despite the fact that he no doubt swung on one when he was a kid himself!


    Their method of dealing with "prior art" (i.e. it's already been done before) is a process of "reexamination". Since this is expensive and time consuming, very few applications are made for a reexamination, hence most US patents stand, irrespective of how ridiculous they are. I'm glad to say that at least one of the child's swing "patents" was disallowed on reexemination, together with other earth-shattering inventions like a peanut butter and jam sandwich with the crust cut off ...


    So, statistics about the inventiveness of a country, like so many other statistics, need careful interpretation.

  6. #51
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Chartwell, South Africa.


    There's a whole bunch of other things that we invented. A few off the top of my head (sources not checked, some may be in error)

    Gunite. Concrete sprayed onto a wire mesh attached to a wall (usually of rock) You might be familiar with this as a method of building a swimming pool, but it's crucial in deep level mining to ensure a relatively safe environment. Used everywhere now, including on the GFIP, e.g. widening of the N1 offramp at William Nicol heading North to retain the sidewall.

    Rock bolting. Used to attach mesh mentioned above, as well as holding the hanging / side / foot walls (roof, wall and floor to you) together. Rock bolts may be 6m or more long. Longer ones usually use a cable. Fixed with quick-setting cement in a capsule penetrated by the bolt as it is inserted. Also used on the same offramp.

    Grouting - pumping high pressure cement mixture into a rock surface to seal the leaks. Of particular relevance to the Gautrain, as this is what wasn't done well enough to satisfy the contractual requirements for the Rosebank - Park Station link. It leaked too much!

    Many other deep level / hard rock mining methods. Several issues around refrigeration, without which it would be impossible to mine gold in RSA. Not sure about sliping (one "p"). Means drilling a hole, raiseboring it to a larger diameter, then drilling radially around the hole and blasting to enlarge it further. This may be Australian. Not sure.

    That's just from the mining field.

    In telecommunications, I believe that prepaid was already mentioned. I'm told (but haven't seen any evidence yet) that downloading ringtones (for a fee) is a local invention.

    And no, ADLS "caps" are not our fault. Invented elsewhere, just exploited here.

    The point isn't how long or short the list is, it's that it exists. Many of our inventions have specialist applications. While this means that Joe Public might not have heard of them, it doesn't make them any less important.

    Proudly South African

  7. #52


    Meh, I still think the Joule is brilliant illustration of innovative and backwards we are at the same time.
    You can do something for love, you can do something for money, but there is nothing quite so satisfying as doing something out of spite - Jeremy Clarkson, 1991

  8. #53


    Another weapon, the G6 Howitzer, may have just been a development of the G5 but can accurately put shells on targets from 70kms away. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G6_howitzer

    The Joule is dead in the water unfortunately, no backing.

    I like the list though. Too often people like to say "SA has never made any contributions to the global market that have really rocked the boat", and it just isn't true. Yes maybe the volume and frequency aren't as high as some first-world places, but that's mostly a function of challenging economic conditions here for securing funding. I think this is changing at the moment, so perhaps take heart!

  9. #54
    Super Grandmaster GreyBush's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010


    Bell 3 wheeler.... not really cool but it was invented in SA.

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