10 of the World’s Smallest Artificial Objects

  • Sometimes the best things in life are the smallest ones.

We as people like to always try and make things bigger and better. But size isn’t always everything, and sometimes you just need to go smaller.

Let’s take a look at some of the smallest things mankind has ever made. You’ll see some astounding feats of miniature engineering, and also some stuff that’s just too small to be of any real use.

Photo by Nanofab/Western University

1) The Smallest Production Car

The Peel P50 holds the title of the smallest car ever made that was actually in mass production. Launched in 1962, the car was advertised as the ideal ride for tight city streets.

The P50 measures at only 54 inches long and 39 inches wide, and weighs 130 pounds. The Peel Engineering Company said in the ‘60s that it was just big enough to fit “one adult and a shopping bag.”

If you like tiny vintage cars, you can actually buy a P50 again without breaking the bank at an auction. Peel Engineering started producing the P50 to order in 2010.

2) The Smallest Functional Firearm

No, it’s not the Derringer of western movie fame. The smallest functional gun ever built is the SwissMiniGun Miniature Revolver C1ST.

The revolver measures barely over two inches in length and it fires custom 2.34 mm caliber rounds. By the way, that’s also the smallest rim fire cartridge in the world.

The gun works just the same as a normal revolver, although its mostly sold as a collector’s item. Unfortunately for U.S. gun collectors, importing the C1ST is illegal – it’s too small to be classified as a legal firearm in the States.

3) The Smallest Computer

We’ve come a long way since the early computers that filled an entire industrial hall. But the University of Michigan has taken microcomputing to a whole new level – their smallest computer measures only 0.3mm per side.

To put things into perspective, that’s smaller than a grain of rice. However, it’s a bit questionable if this thing counts as a computer since it doesn’t retain any programming when it turns off.

But it’s okay, since the UoM also holds the claim to the smallest actually certifiable computer. The Michigan Micro Mote is a complete, functional computer system at a size of only two by four millimeters.

4) The Smallest Lighter

There are a lot of companies out on the internet claiming to sell the world’s smallest lighter. But the actual smallest lighter – at least according to Guinness World Records – was made in Spain in 2011.

Created by Jose Perez Richarte, the lighter measures 6 mm by 11 mm by 2.4 mm. Made out of brass, the lighter is fully functional with a 4mm3 fuel capacity.

Well, we say fully functional, but what are you going to light with this thing? Maybe the world’s smallest candle?

5) The Smallest Airplane

The Bumble Bee II was custom-built to achieve the title of the world’s smallest airplane. It achieved what it set out to do – Guinness certified the Bumble Bee II as the smallest plane every built in 1988.

The plane measured at just 8 feet and 10 inches in length and had a wingspan of 5 feet, 6 inches. Experts at the time said it was much like its namesake in that its wings were too small to allow for effective flight according to the laws of aerodynamics.

It turned out that they were right. The plane’s creator Robert H. Starr crashed the plane on its maiden flight, but luckily, he survived to claim the record title.

6) The Smallest Ad

The smallest ad in the world was made to promote cutting-edge technology. We’d say they succeeded.

The ad was made by the Dutch semiconductor maker ASML. Measuring at 33 microns wide and a but under 8 microns long, ASML etched it onto a tiny silicon wafer.

With the ad, the company wanted to build brand awareness among tech students. The ad reads “To Truly Go Small You Have To Think Big #Smallest_AD ASML.”

7) The Smallest Country

Yes, we’re counting countries as a human creation. After all, they don’t occur naturally in the wild.

The badge of the smallest sovereign country goes to Vatican City. It has an area of 0.19 square miles and a population of some 500 people.

You could go smaller if you started counting some of the one-person micronations, like the Principality of Sealand. But we’re going to require some level of international recognition for this listing.

8) The Smallest Operational Phone

Cellphone manufacturers tried to go small with their phones, but in recent years phone sizes have started growing again. That means this title won’t go to Apple or Samsung.

Instead, the world’s smallest working phone was made by Jan Piotr Krutewicz in the U.S. in 1996. The telephone is only 1.8 inches long and 0.3 inches wide.

How did they even test if it works? We can’t imagine making a call with this thing is very easy.

9) The Smallest Sculpture

The smallest sculpture in the world is also the tiniest manmade object ever created. At least so far.

Titled “Trust,” the sculpture depicts a female nude female figure. Standing at the height of 100 microns, it’s about as tall as a human hair is wide.

The creation of the sculpture took South African artist and engineer Jonty Hurwitz 10 months. During that time, he used 250 cameras to 3D scan his model.

10) The Smallest Snowman

The world’s smallest snowman is also the tiniest manmade object ever created. It was completed by Canadian Todd Simpson from the Western University Nanofabrication Facility in 2016.

He created the “snow” man out of silica spheres and platinum arms. The little guy is only 3 micrometers tall.

When first created in 2005, the snowman only had a body and arms. Simpson felt he could use a smile on his face, though, so he added facial features in 2016.