The most significant innovation
BBC Radio listeners were asked to vote in an online poll about the most significant innovations since 1800. It was an easy victory for the bicycle which won more than half the vote. Story here
I don't see the tractor anywhere on their list. I think it's by far the most significant development. Before the tractor, nearly half the country's farm production went to supporting work animals such as horses and mules.
I'd put the bicycle high up on the list. Regrettably its main social significance was to prepare the way for the automobile. The bike may have also been very important in providing women in general for the first time with the ability to quickly and easily travel away from their houses -- the first taste of personal freedom.
And yet now about 80% of US grown corn goes to feed slaughter animals, which feeds far fewer individuals than the corn would.
The flush toilet beats the bike, sorry.