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.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This report serves as a very good reminder of the UK's strengths in manufacturing and the 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 DNA.
"Unfortunately, our strengths appear to be flying under the radar and this could damage our ability to innovate in the future."