I've seen many articles on the greatest innovations of the past Centuryand I've yet to see one that really hit's the mark. They always pick things like the personal computer or the airplane, but these are extraneous things, they dont affect the day to day life of everyman. I think the greatest innovation was the modern washer and dryer for clothes. When it comes down to my day to day life computers don't make the difference that a washer and dryer do. You see I'll work 8 hours a day 5 days a week with or without a computerand I can travel when I have to by some means other than flying. In my day to day life those things are optional, but I'd sure hate to lose an entire day every week to washing my clothes, especiallywhen I can fit that activity into one of those 8 hour work days and spend the weekends doing something I want to do rather than toiling over laundry.
If you watch PBS regularly you've surely caught one of the shows where a family or group of familys attempts to live life like people did in various time periods. There was The 1900 House, Frontier House, Colonial House, and the latest Texas Ranch House (you can apply to appear on this show). If there is one thing that these shows have in common it is to drive home the fact that the modern washer and dryer are two of the greatest inventions of the past century. Think about it, we've gone from pounding our clothes on rocks in a stream and scrubbing them by hand with a brush to basically putting them in a machine for a while and then transferringthem to another machine for a while and then putting them away. I can't imagine a greater time saving device for our day to day lives. Some will still arguethat computers were the real breakthrough, and while I would agree that for business they are when it comes to my day to day life, give me the washer and dryer.