- Creator(s): René Laennec
French physician and inventor René Laennec created the very first stethoscope in the early 19th century. Due to now dating back to 1812, the invention has been critical to the world of medicine for over 200 years. Interestingly, Laennec actually invented the stethoscope for what some might find to be a strange reason. At the time, doctors used to listen to heartbeats in one of two ways. Either putting their head onto a patient’s chest or via a small device that could isolate the heartbeat enough to listen. Laennec did the former but felt uncomfortable placing his ear against the chest of female patients. Today, the stethoscope is one of the few medical inventions to last as long as it has and is still being used by doctors worldwide.