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Right from the start of history, we have had multiple technological innovations that have contributed to where technology is at in today’s world. It is only good if you should know the history of technological innovations that have happened over the years.

Without compilation of interesting facts about everything and anything there’s almost no way for us to learn accurate information from history. One of such is this fact  about the history of tech innovations.

So in this article, I’ll be sharing with you the history of technological innovations that you should know. 

History of Technological Innovations

Without wasting much of our time, let’s get right into the history of technological innovations you should and also their timeline across different ages.

Prehistory & Ancient times

  • About 3.5 million years ago, the first humans made the first-ever tools from available resources like wood, stones, bones, and antlers.
  • About 1-2 million years ago, fire was discovered. Don’t bother thinking about how the first humans ate without fire, they were literally built differently.
  • Around 10,000 BCE, boats and ships were being constructed as humans began to explore different places.
  • Around 6,000-7,000 BCE, the first ever handmade bricks were available for construction and it was used in the Middle East of today.
  • In 4000 BCE, Iron was used for the first time and this came in ornaments used for decorating palaces back then.
  • About ~4000 BCE, Glass was first produced by the early humans.
  • In 3,500 BCE, the Wheel was invented and this marked a significant start in the discovery of machines, automobiles, and other tools.
  • In 2,500 BCE, Ancient Egyptians created papyrus which is a primitive early version of paper made from the pithy stem of a water plant.
  • From 3,000 BCE to 1200 BCE which is also called the Bronze Age, copper was discovered and it was widely used amongst people then. Alongside it, bronze, an alloy of copper, also had widespread usage.
  • In 2000 BCE, the Ancient Egyptians invented the Shadoof which is a hand-operated device for lifting water from a well. It also kick-started the idea of lifting heavy objects using counterweights which is quite popular nowadays.
  • Around 1200 BCE, the Iron Age began and it marked a widespread usage of iron for making different objects, tools, equipment and weapons in different places around the world.
  • Around 1800 BCE, Steel, an alloy of iron was discovered and now, it is one of the most used elements in the world of engineering and construction.
  • Hot air balloons are quite popular nowadays and they were said to have been discovered by the Nazca people of Peru after they experimented with balloon flight around 500 BCE.
  • Also, during 300 BCE to 400 BCE, the Chinese were said to have experimented with flying kites.
  • Around 300 BCE to 250 BCE, the Chinese were said to have invented the magnetic direction finders called compass. Nowadays, they may not be used widely but they had immense impact on human’s early exploration and navigation. It was once the primary equipment used by mariners who were sailing. The compass helped people who were once isolated from one another interact either peacefully or otherwise.
  • Around 250 BCE, Archimedes invented the screw pump to be used for pumping water from wells and carrying other materials.
  • Around 150 BCE to 100 BCE, precise clockwork with gears were made. The Antikythera mechanism is a popular one as it was used to calculate astronomical position. It is was discovered in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of  Antikythera.
  • In c.50 BCE, Vitruvius, a Roman engineer, helped to perfect the more modern and vertical water wheel now known as turbines.
  • In 62 CE, the discovery of steam power was pioneered by a Greek scientist called Hero of Alexandria. His discovery is what led to the invention of steam engines and turbines.
  • In 105 CE, a Chinese man named Ts’ai Lun invented paper and the modern paper making process.

Middle Age

  • Around 600 CE, windmills were invented in the Middle East.
  • Around 700 to 900 CE, the Chinese invented gunpowder and other fireworks.
  • Around 1000 CE, eyeglasses were made by fitting lenses into frames that fit on people’s face in China.
  • In 1206, a flushing hand-washing machine was invented by an Arabic engineer named al-Jazari. He is said to be one of the pioneers of the modern toilet. 
  • In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg developed the Gutenberg’s printing press which used rearrangeable metal letters called movable type. The machine was capable of making up to 3,600 pages per day. Johannes Gutenberg is said to be the father of the modern printing press.

16th to 18th Century

  • In 1590, the first compound microscope was invented by Zacharias Janssen, a Dutch spectacle maker.
  • Around 1600, Galileo Galilei is said to have designed and invented a basic thermometer.
  • In 1609, Galileo Galilei who’s also an astronomer built a practical telescope and made new astronomical discoveries about the universe.
  • In the mid 17th century, two scientists named Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hooke developed the microscope.
  • In 1643, the first mercury barometer for measuring air pressure was built by Evangelista Torricelli, an Italian physicist.
  • In the 1650s, Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch mathematician invented the pendulum clock with the aid of Galileo Galilei’s early discoveries.
  • In 1687, Isaac Newton known as the Father of Motion formulated the three laws of motion which are the basic principles of modern physics.
  • In the early 1700s, Bartolomeo Cristofori, an Italian instrument maker, invented the piano.
  • In 1703, the binary number system that almost every computer runs on was pioneered by Gottfried Leibniz.
  • In 1780, Thomas Massey invented the pyrometer which can be used to measure the temperature of far away objects.
  • In 1783, the first practical hot-air balloon was developed by French Brothers Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier.
  • In 1791, Titanium was discovered by Reverend William Gregor, a British clergyman and amateur geologist.

19th to 20th Century

This 19th to 20th century represents one of the biggest jumps in the history of technological innovations. Some of the greatest innovations from these centuries are:

  • In 1800, an Italian physicist named Alessandro Volta created the first battery known as the Voltaic pile 
  • In 1801, the automated cloth-weaving loom was invented by Joseph-Marie Jacquard, a French weaver.
  • In 1803, the paper making machine was made by the Fourdrinier brothers.
  • In 1806, an Englishman named Sir William Congreve helped to develop long-range military missiles with the aid of the Mysore rocket, an earlier Indian technology.
  • In 1814, the furt practical steam locomotive was built by George Stephenson.
  • In 1827, the first modern photograph was made by Joseph Nicéphore.
  • In the 1830s, the first ever electric motor was developed by William Sturgeon, an English physicist.
  • In 1849, a water turbine was invented by James Francis. Today, water turbines are a major source of electricity generation in many of the world’s hydropower plants.
  • In the 1850s, Henry Bessemer created a new  and better method of making steel, an alloy of iron, in large quantities. During this period, Louis Pasteur developed pasteurization, an effective way of preserving food. Also, a mechanical fax machine was developed by Giovanni Caselli in this period.
  • In the 1860s, the internal combustion engine was developed by Frenchman Étienne Lenoir and German Nikolaus Otto. Fire extinguishers were also invented during this time. In the late 1860s, the modern typewriter and QWERTY keyboard were invented by Christopher Latham Sholes.
  • The 1870s started off well with Frank Wenham inventing the wind tunnel, then Alexander Graham Bell went on to patent the telephone though there’s controversy over its ownership. Thomas Edison also invented the phonograph.
  • In the 1880s, Thomas Edison patented the modern day incandescent electric lamps and also went on to open the world’s first power plant.
  • In 1885, the first gasoline engine car was built by Karl Benz.
  • In 1888, Nikola Tesla patented the alternating current (AC) electric induction motor. Later, he went on to invent remote controls.
  • In the 1890s, Rudolf Diesel, a German engineer, developed his diesel engine which is said to be a more efficient internal combustion engine. Later in the 1890s, X rays was discovered by German physicist, Wilhelm Röntgen. Also, the electric bike was invented by Ogden Bolton Jr.
  • In 1903, the Wright Brothers built the first engine-powered airplane.
  • In 1908, Henry Ford launched the Ford Model T. It became the world’s first truly affordable car as it sold a lot.
  • In the 1920s, John Logie Baird developed the first mechanical television and later on, Philo T. Farnsworth invented the world’s first modern electronic television. In the late 1920s, the first electric refrigerator was made.
  • In 1939, the first truly practical helicopter was built by Igor Sikorsky.
  • In the early 1940s, the radar system was fully developed and it was used in the airplane radar navigation system.
  • In 1942, the first nuclear chain reactor was built by Enrico Fermi.
  • In 1947, the transistor was invented and it allowed electronic equipment to become much smaller which contributed to the modern computer revolution.
  • In the early 1950s, fiber optics and airbags were invented.
  • In 1957, the USSR launched the Sputnik space satellite.
  • In 1965, the portable defibrillator for treating cardiac arrest patients was developed by F. Pantridge.
  • In 1969, the first solar power station in the world was opened in France. This is also the year when astronauts first walked on the moon.
  • In 1973, the first handheld cell phone was developed by Martin Cooper.
  • In 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs launch the Apple I: one of the world’s first personal home computers. To rival this, IBM launched their own affordable PC 5 years later.
  • In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web.

21st Century

  • At the start of the 21st century in 2001, Apple launched the iPod music player which helped to make significant changes in music listening.
  • Still in 2001, Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales created Wikipedia online encyclopedia which is one of the greatest websites for research and information discovery.
  • Also, BitTorrent file sharing was developed by Bram Cohen in 2001.
  • In 2004, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov discovered graphene which is an allotrope of carbon consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice nanostructure.
  • In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone, a touchscreen smartphone. This was the beginning of the smartphone era as more and better smartphones became available later on. Three years later, the iPad, a touchscreen tablet was also launched.
  • In 2013, Elon Musk announced the “hyperloop” which should revolutionize the world’s transport system.
  • In 2019, Google claimed to have achieved quantum supremacy with the development of Sycamore, a quantum computer that is said to be 1.5 billion times faster than the present supercomputers. 
  • A year later, DeepMind, Google’s AI computer program, helped to solve the problem of protein folding.

A lot has happened in the world of technology over the centuries, all of these have been documented alongside other historical information one of such is the article you read through.

Other historical events are compiled into something like this day in history, which covers all aspects of historical events according to the day they occurred, they are not limited to tech.

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