5. The Wheel
The wheel is really an ancient invention that we have no way of knowing who first developed it. The oldest wheel and axle mechanism was found near Ljubljana, Slovenia, and dates to roughly 3100 B.C.The wheel, when attached to animal-drawn carts and chariots made the transportation of goods much faster and more efficient and enabled us to travel greater distances. The invention of the wheel played a great part in the development of many modern technologies
4. Printing Press
Chinses has already invented the block printing but the idea didn’t gain much popularity. Marco Polo brought the idea to Europe in 1295. Johann Gutenberg combined the idea of block printing with a screw press and invented the printing press in the 1430s. He developed metal printing blocks that were far more durable and easier to make than the hand-carved wooden letters in use previously. His advances in ink and paper production revolutionized mass printing.The printing press allowed enormous quantities of information to be recorded and spread throughout the world and the mass production brought the prices down tremendously.
Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph in 1836 (building on the prior work of others, of course). The telephone simply refined the idea by allowing actual voice communications to be sent over copper wires, instead of just beeps that spelled out the plain text in Morse code. These communication methods were point-to-point and required an extensive infrastructure of wires to function.
Transmitting signals wirelessly using electromagnetic waves was a concept worked on by many inventors around the world, but Guglielmo Marconi and Nikola Tesla popularized it in the early 20th century. Eventually, sound could be transmitted wirelessly, while engineers gradually perfected the transmission of images. Radio and television were new landmarks in communications because they allowed a single broadcaster to send messages to thousands or even millions of recipients as long as they were equipped with receivers.
These developments in communications technology effectively shrank the world. In the span of about 120 years, we went from a world where it might take weeks to hear news from across the country to one where we can watch events occurring on the other side of the globe as they happen. The advent of mass communications put more information within our grasp and altered how we interact with each other.
If there’s a common theme to this list, it’s that no major invention came from a single stroke of genius from a single inventor. Every invention is built by incrementally improving earlier designs, and the person usually associated with an invention is the first person to make it commercially viable. Such is the case with the light bulb. We immediately think of Thomas Edison as the electric light bulb’s inventor, but dozens of people were working on similar ideas in the 1870s when Edison developed his incandescent bulb. Joseph Swan did similar work in Britain at the time, and eventually, the two merged their ideas into a single company, Ediswan.
The bulb itself works by transmitting electricity through a wire with high resistance known as a filament. The waste energy created by the resistance is expelled as heat and light. The glass bulb encases the filament in a vacuum or in an inert gas, preventing combustion.
You might think the light bulb changed the world by allowing people to work at night or in dark places (it did, to some extent), but we already had relatively cheap and efficient gas lamps and other light sources at the time. It was actually the infrastructure that was built to provide electricity to every home and business that changed the world. Today, our world is filled with powered devices than we can plug in pretty much anywhere. We have the light bulb to thank for it.
A computer is a machine that takes information in, is able to manipulate it in some way, and outputs new information. There is no single inventor of the modern computer, although the ideas of British mathematician Alan Turing are considered eminently influential in the field of computing. Mechanical computing devices were in existence in the 1800s (there were even rare devices that could be considered computers in ancient eras), but electronic computers were invented in the 20th century.Computers are able to make complicated mathematical calculations at an incredible rate of speed. When they operate under the instructions of skilled programmers, computers can accomplish amazing feats. Some high-performance military aircraft wouldn’t be able to fly without constant computerized adjustments to flight control surfaces. Computers performed the sequencing of the human genome, let us put spacecraft into orbit, control medical testing equipment, and create the complex visual imagery used in films and video games.If we only examine these grandiose uses of computers, we overlook how much we rely on them from day to day. Computers let us store vast amounts of information and retrieve a given piece of it almost instantly. Many of the things we take for granted in the world wouldn’t function without computers, from cars to power plants to phones.