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Top Human Inventions

There are few things that encapsulate the human experience as much as our constant need for invention — it’s one of the core aspects of our nature. Since the dawn of humanity, we’ve been hard at work creating wondrous tools that give us the ability to tame nature, bend the physical world to our will, and put incredible invention ideas into practice.

Naturally, trying to decide which of these inventions has influenced us the most is difficult. That being said, we’ve decided to celebrate the immense invention talent of our species by taking a look at some of the biggest advancements of humankind — roughly in chronological order.

Discovery of Fire
There’s a reason why we say that fire was more of a discovery than an invention — it’s not really anything mechanical. Instead, it’s a force of nature early humans had observed and slowly tamed.

Interestingly enough, the first humanoid species that used fire weren’t even homo sapiens — current evidence shows that other humanoids had used it around two million years before. However, the widespread use of fire by our direct ancestors has first been dated to 125,000 years BC.

It was one of the crucial tools for early human development, providing us with protection, warmth, and the safety we needed to focus on a host of various crucial inventions; not to mention vital skills such as cooking. The mere fact that we started to cook food gave us access to nutrients that vastly expanded the size and capacity of our brains over time. Many experts believe that this is what gave us the biggest competitive advantage over fellow primates.

The Wheel
The invention of the wheel was what made trade and geographically dispersed civilizations possible. According to current estimates, it was first invented in ancient Mesopotamia, around 5500 years ago. Its initial use was for pottery, where stone wheels still have heavy use to this day.

However, the wheel didn’t reach its true potential until a Mesopotamian genius tried to put it on the first rudimentary chariot — everything else went smoothly from there. And even in our technologically advanced age, wheels still remain one of the most fundamental aspects of modern technology; they still facilitate trade and transportation via modern cars.

Screws and Nails
When discussing ancient inventions, fire and the wheel often get most of the spotlight. However, none of our modern architecture or machinery would be possible without the invention of the mighty nail and its younger cousin — the screw.

The first metal fasteners were created by Ancient Egyptians around the same time as the Mesopotamians discovered the wheel. Screws would come much later, probably made by the Ancient Greeks around two centuries before Christ.

Lenses and Optics
Few human inventions have helped modern science as much as the creation of optical lenses — they’ve made our observation powers infinitely bigger, from telescopes and microscopes to simple reading glasses.

Their history is surprisingly long — the first lenses were used by Mesopotamians and Egyptians millennia before Christ. However, the Ancient Greeks would make the most significant strides in vision and light theory.

Centuries later, our nearer ancestors would use those same theories and principles to create the first photographs, soon followed by movies and television.

The Compass
Navigation has always played a massive part in the advent of human civilization — especially in the context of maritime exploration. And we’ve used the magnetic poles to govern our movement for longer than you might think; the earliest compass-like navigational devices were created in China around 200 BC.

Paper And The Press
Speaking of the many technological strides made in Ancient China — paper is probably one of the most important ones. It has allowed mankind to easily record and share many ideas without an expensive or arduous production process.

And years later, Gutenberg created the first paper printing press and ushered in the modern age of media and knowledge. The device was easily able to mass-produce books by transferring ink from movable type to reams of paper. This invention spread through 15th-century Europe like wildfire, revolutionizing knowledge and making it more widely available to the common people than at any other point in human history.

Before Gutenberg’s printing press, most of the books we’ve had were copied and hand-written by members of various religious orders — who also used their unique role in society to maintain an informal monopoly on knowledge and the written word. Luckily, the printing press brought a much-needed democratization of knowledge to the late medieval world.

Since Thales of Miletus first began ancient research into electricity, humans have been utterly fascinated by its possibilities. Benjamin Franklin, the most industrious among the Founding Fathers, would further our knowledge of electricity millennia later — and that powerful concept has brought us everything from the (now) simple lightbulb to the Internet.

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Published by 201jameswilliam

I am a ambitious, self-made, work alcoholic but down to earth person. I like to balance professional & family life. Professional life gives you exposure, confidence & sense of achievement. I believe the fulfillment one gets from one’s work is very important for wellbeing. I also participate in family get-togethers, functions, parties, etc. My favourite pastime is to watch English movies, reading fictions & cooking.

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