Good inventions are a dime a dozen: the iPod, beer, whiskey, Camaros, cameras, etc. Sadly, most great inventions are taken for granted, which in a way is a testament to the quality of said invention. Things like bookstores, guns, complex music and cell phones would not be as developed as they are today had not someone first invented their primitive versions. This top 10 list is of the greatest inventions of all time.
10. Gunpowder. Discovered by 9th century Chinese alchemists searching for the elixir of immortality. Ironically, instead of immortality they stumbled onto the greatest destructive weapon until the atom bomb.
9. Football. American football has its origins in soccer and rugby, with simple archaic rules in place until Walter Camp established the concepts of a line of scrimmage and down and distance. Did you know: the first ever pro football game was held between the Dayton Triangles and the Columbus Panhandles. And you thought the Cleveland Browns were a poorly named team.
8. The Telephone. Though the actual inventor of the telephone is disputed, the patent for the telephone was awarded to Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Since then the telephone has evolved so far and undergone so many iterations that long distance communication has become something taken for granted.
7. The Printing Press. Invented by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 with the idea of making the Bible a more widespread text. Due to the emerging middle class during that period and the serious lack of books, most notably the Bible, the printing press changed the world of reading and literacy forever.
6. The Automobile. The first iteration of the modern automobile was invented by Karl Benz (as in Mercedes-Benz) in 1885. His automobile was really just an engine-powered tricycle that a snail could outrun. Initially met with skepticism, his wife took the automobile on a 60-mile road trip to prove the automobile’s road-worthiness. The first affordable automobile was the Ford model T, introduced in 1927.
5. The Flute. The oldest musical instrument ever discovered was a 43,000-year-old flute crafted from the femur of a young bear. Mankind probably did not have elegant language at the time, but the simple 3-note flute began a realization that music is something to be loved.
4. Electricity. This one has no inventor because it is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Harnessed electricity on the other hand has developed into the backbone of the modern world. Almost all technology relies on it to function.
3. Indoor Plumbing. Plumbing emerged in the mid 20th century. Thank god for this one because without it we would still be taking walks to wells for water and emptying out our “chamber pots” every morning. Nuff said.
2. The Wheel. Without a doubt the wheel is the most brilliant, if simple invention of the ancient world (aside from perhaps the alphabet). Evidence suggests the wheel emerged in the late neotholic era around 7,000 B.C.E. The spoked wheel, which has since become a staple for transportation, came from the Greeks around 1,500 B.C.E. Fascinatingly enough, evidence has been discovered showing native Americans simultaneously invented the wheel along with Europeans and Northern Africans.
1. The Internet. The Internet is without a doubt the greatest invention of all time. It connects people of all regions with each other, totally eliminating thousands of miles. Before the Internet it would be impossible to video chat with someone from China. Nowadays things like video chat and widespread information have become commonplace. Mark my words: the Internet will influence mankind’s evolution more than any other invention in history.
Honorable mention: The Sign. This invention is seriously taken for granted. Somewhat naturally occurring in the stars as signs of the sky… Think of how confusing the world would be to get around without signs to tell you where you’re going. Speaking of signs, here’s a damn good one….