The James Watt Steam Engine 1761
Or to be more accurate the separate condenser, for the steam engine. This is the best patented invention of all time because it single handed started the English industrial revolution in the 17th Century and paved way for an enormous number of inventions. Namely but not limited to, locomotion, railways, electric power, steam powered boats, advances in machine tools, coal mining and factory prodution. It allowed for the first time self propelled movement. Factories could be placed anywhere in the country and not just by water or using wind power. Although it could be argued the Watt engine wouldn't have worked without the invention of that of the Newcomen engine, the Newcomen engine was very inefficient and just wasn't as revolutionary.
Submitted by: Tom Harbord