The public does not realise how many inventions, ranging from the TV to cashpoints, were British-made and that could damage future innovations, according to a new report.
A survey of 2,200 members of the public by the EEF manufacturers' organisation found that many were in the dark about this country's role in inventing cutting edge products.
Only one in four knew that cashpoints and automatic kettles were dreamt up in Britain.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This report serves as a very good reminder of the UK's considerable strengths in manufacturing, and the current revival that we're seeing in the sector is highly encouraging.
"The Government is working closely with manufacturing businesses to give them the confidence to invest, securing highly-skilled jobs, a stronger economy, and more world-shaping inventions in the future."
Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF, said: "Inventiveness and resourcefulness are written into our collective DNA. Unfortunately, our strengths appear to be flying under the radar and this could damage our ability to innovate in the future.
"If we want to Make it Britain then we have to wake up Britain to the innovation, creativity and design going on within our shores today. Our success didn't end with the steam engine - it carries on from strength to strength with carbon fibre, bionic limbs and now the hypersonic engine too. We should be proud of what our inventiveness contributes to the world.
"If Britain is to continue to innovate then we need to start shouting about our achievements. Above all, we must give greater recognition to our inventors and innovators, so as to encourage more young people to want to learn the right skills to follow in their footsteps."