A study of 4,000 consumers also placed the Apple smart phone – which has sold 42 million units since its launch in 2007 – ahead of the car, camera and flushing toilet.
Apple’s smartphone was voted the eighth most important invention, with the wheel, the aeroplane and the light bulb being named at the top three inventions.
Lance Batchelor, Chief Executive Officer of Tesco Mobile, which carried out the nationwide research among 18-65 year-olds, said “It’s amazing to see how much the iPhone is valued, sitting alongside inventions such as Penicillin in people’s perceptions and being declared a more important invention than miracle gadgets of their own time, such as the compass,”
“All of the inventions included in this list have changed the world forever,” said Lance Batchelor, CEO of Tesco Mobile.
“Some – like the washing machine and wheel – have made our lives easier, while wireless technology and the internet have changed the face of communication.”
Google, satnavs and Wi-Fi also featured in the top 100. The Internet came four places ahead at 4th.
Top 20 Greastest Inventions: