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Timeline of historic inventions

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Timeline of historic inventions

The 15th-century invention of the printing press with movable type by the German Johannes Gutenberg is widely regarded as the most influential event of the modern era.[1]

The timeline of historic inventions is a chronological list of particularly important or significant technological inventions and the people who created the inventions.

Note: Dates for inventions are often controversial. Inventions are often invented by several inventors around the same time, or may be invented in an impractical form many years before another inventor improves the invention into a more practical form. Where there is ambiguity, the date of the first known working version of the invention is used here.

Contents

  • Earliest inventions 1
    • Paleolithic 1.1
    • Neolithic 1.2
  • 2nd millennium BC 2
  • 1st millennium BC 3
    • 8th century BC 3.1
    • 7th century BC 3.2
    • 6th century BC 3.3
    • 5th century BC 3.4
    • 4th century BC 3.5
    • 3rd century BC 3.6
    • 2nd century BC 3.7
    • 1st century BC 3.8
  • 1st millennium AD 4
    • 2nd century 4.1
    • 3rd century 4.2
    • 4th century 4.3
    • 5th century 4.4
    • 6th century 4.5
    • 7th century 4.6
    • 9th century 4.7
    • 10th century 4.8
  • 2nd millennium 5
    • 11th century 5.1
    • 12th century 5.2
    • 13th century 5.3
    • 14th century 5.4
    • 15th century 5.5
    • 16th century 5.6
    • 17th century 5.7
    • 18th century 5.8
    • 19th century 5.9
      • 1800s 5.9.1
      • 1810s 5.9.2
      • 1820s 5.9.3
      • 1830s 5.9.4
      • 1840s 5.9.5
      • 1850s 5.9.6
      • 1860s 5.9.7
      • 1870s 5.9.8
      • 1880s 5.9.9
      • 1890s 5.9.10
    • 20th century 5.10
      • 1910s 5.10.1
      • 1920s 5.10.2
      • 1930s 5.10.3
      • 1940s 5.10.4
      • 1950s 5.10.5
      • 1960s 5.10.6
      • 1970s 5.10.7
      • 1980s 5.10.8
      • 1990s 5.10.9
  • See also 6
  • Footnotes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Earliest inventions

Note that all dates refer to the earliest known evidence of an invention. Dates are often approximate and likely to change as more research is done and older examples of any given technology are found. Similarly, the locations listed are for the site where the earliest solid evidence to date has been found, but in most cases there is little certainty how close that may be to where the invention actually first took place.

Paleolithic

Neolithic

2nd millennium BC

1st millennium BC

8th century BC

7th century BC

6th century BC

With the Greco-Roman trispastos ("three-pulley-crane"), the simplest ancient crane, a single man tripled the weight he could lift than with his muscular strength alone.[59]

5th century BC

4th century BC

3rd century BC

An illustration depicting the papermaking process in Han Dynasty China.

2nd century BC

The earliest fore-and-aft rigs, spritsails, appeared in the 2nd century BC in the Aegean Sea on small Greek craft.[79] Here a spritsail used on a Roman merchant ship (3rd century CE).
  • 2nd century BC: Paper in Han Dynasty China: Although it is recorded that the Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 220) court eunuch Cai Lun (born c. 50 – AD 121) invented the pulp papermaking process and established the use of new raw materials used in making paper, ancient padding and wrapping paper artifacts dating to the 2nd century BC have been found in China, the oldest example of pulp papermaking being a map from Fangmatan, Gansu.[80]

1st century BC

1st millennium AD

2nd century

3rd century

Schematic of the Roman Hierapolis sawmill. Dated to the 3rd century AD, it is the earliest known machine to incorporate a crank and connecting rod mechanism.[99][100][101]

4th century

  • 4th century: Field mill in Ancient China, first mentioned in the Yezhongji, or 'Record of Affairs at the Capital Ye of the Later Zhao Dynasty' written by Lu Hui in the 4th century, describing a field mill built by two engineers, Xie Fei and Wei Mengbian.[106]
  • 4th century: Fishing reel in Ancient China: In literary records, the earliest evidence of the fishing reel comes from a 4th-century AD[107] work entitled Lives of Famous Immortals'.[108]
  • 347 AD: Oil Wells in China. Such wells could reach depths of up to 240m (790 ft).[109]
  • 4th century: Stirrups in Ancient China: The first dependable representation of a rider with paired stirrups was found in China in a Jin dynasty tomb of about AD 322.[110][111][112] The stirrup appeared to be in widespread use across China by AD 477.[113]
  • 4th century: Street Light in Syria[114]
  • 4th–5th century: Paddle wheel boat (in De rebus bellicis) in Roman Empire[115]

5th century

6th century

7th century

  • 7th century: Porcelain in Tang Dynasty China: True porcelain is manufactured in northern China from roughly the beginning of the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century, while true porcelain was not manufactured in southern China until about 300 years later, during the early 10th century.[129]

9th century

A Mongol bomb thrown against a charging Japanese samurai during the Mongol invasions of Japan after founding the Yuan Dynasty, 1281.
  • 9th century: Algebra in Syria[136]
  • 9th century: Numerical zero in Ancient India: The concept of zero as a number, and not merely a symbol for separation is attributed to India.[138] In India, practical calculations are carried out using zero, which is treated like any other number by the 9th century, even in case of division.[138][139]

10th century

  • 10th century: Fire lance in Song Dynasty China, developed in the 10th century with a tube of first bamboo and later on metal that shot a weak gunpowder blast of flame and shrapnel, its earliest depiction is a painting found at Dunhuang.[140] Fire lance is the earliest firearm in the world and one of the earliest gunpowder weapon.[141][142]
  • 10th century: Fireworks in Song Dynasty China: Fireworks first appear in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279), in the early age of gunpowder. Fireworks could be purchased from market vendors; these were made of sticks of bamboo packed with gunpowder.[143]
  • 10th century: Hospital in Iraq[144]

2nd millennium

11th century

  • 11th century: Ambulance by Crusaders in Israel and Lebanon[145]
  • 1088: Movable type in Song Dynasty China: The first record of a movable type system is in the Dream Pool Essays written in 1088, which attributes the invention of the movable type to Bi Sheng.[146][147][148][149] In the 13th century, Koreans invent metal-type movable printing.[150] In the 15th century, Johannes Gutenberg invents the modern movable type system in Europe.[151]

12th century

  • 1119: Mariner's compass (wet compass) in Song Dynasty China: The earliest recorded use of magnetized needle for navigational purposes at sea is found in Zhu Yu's book Pingzhou Table Talks of 1119 (written from 1111 to 1117).[148][152][153][154][155][156][157] The typical Chinese navigational compass was in the form of a magnetic needle floating in a bowl of water.[158] The familiar mariner's dry compass which uses a pivoting needle suspended above a compass-card in a glass box is invented in medieval Europe no later than 1300.[159]

13th century

  • 13th century: Soap in Babylonia[160]
  • 13th century: Rocket for military and recreational uses date back to at least 13th century China.[161]
  • 1277: Land mine in Song Dynasty China: Textual evidence suggests that the first use of a land mine in history is by a Song Dynasty brigadier general known as Lou Qianxia, who uses an 'enormous bomb' (huo pao) to kill Mongol soldiers invading Guangxi in 1277.[162]
  • 1286: Eyeglasses in Italy[163]
  • 13th century: Explosive bomb in Jin dynasty Manchuria: Explosive bombs are used in 1221 by the Jin dynasty against a Song Dynasty city.[164] The first accounts of bombs made of cast iron shells packed with explosive gunpowder are documented in the 13th century in China and are called "thunder-crash bombs",[165] coined during a Jin dynasty naval battle in 1231.[166]
  • 13th century: Hand cannon in Yuan Dynasty China: The earliest hand cannon dates to the 13th century based on archaeological evidence from a Heilongjiang excavation. There is also written evidence in the Yuanshi (1370) on Li Tang, an ethnic Jurchen commander under the Yuan Dynasty who in 1288 suppresses the rebellion of the Christian prince Nayan with his "gun-soldiers" or chongzu, this being the earliest known event where this phrase is used.[167]

14th century

15th century

The oldest known parachute is depicted in this anonymous Italian manuscript dated to the 1470s.[169]

16th century

17th century

A 1609 title page of the German Relation, the world's first newspaper (first published in 1605)[174][175]

18th century

19th century

1800s

1810s

1820s

1830s

1840s

1850s

1860s

1870s

1880s

1890s

20th century

  • 1900: Human voice transmitted wirelessly (by radio) for the first time by Roberto Landell de Moura. The first AM radio factory is opened in 1912.
  • 1903: The first successful gas turbine is invented by Ægidius Elling.
  • 1903: First manually controlled, fixed wing, motorized aircraft flies at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina by Orville and Wilbur Wright. First modern fixed wing aircraft. Gustave Weisskopf (Whitehead), a German-American immigrant, is credited with motorized aircraft flight in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1901. Flights are witnessed by citizens and other associates and recorded in the Bridgeport Herald, a local newspaper, but were not mentioned in a 1904 article in Scientific American.[189]
  • 1904: The Fleming valve, the first vacuum tube and diode, is invented by John Ambrose Fleming.
  • 1907: The first free flight of a rotary-wing aircraft is carried out by Paul Cornu.
  • 1909: Fritz Haber invents the Haber process.
  • 1909: The first instantaneous transmission of images, or television broadcast, is carried out by Georges Rignoux and A. Fournier.

1910s

  • 1915: The tank is invented by Ernest Swinton,[190] although the British Royal Commission on Awards recognised a South Australian named Lance de Mole who had submitted a proposal to the British War Office, for a 'chain-rail vehicle which could be easily steered and carry heavy loads over rough ground and trenches' complete with extensive drawings in 1912.[191] Additionally, an Austrian by the name of Günther Burstyn designed a tank in 1911 and a Captain Levavasseur of the French army proposed a design in 1903.
  • 1916: The Czochralski process, widely used for the production of single crystal silicon, is invented by Jan Czochralski.

1920s

1930s

1940s

  • December 1947: The transistor, used in almost all modern electronic products is invented in December 1947 by John Bardeen and Walter Brattain under the supervision of William Shockley. Subsequent transistors became steadily smaller, faster, more reliable, and cheaper to manufacture, leading to a revolution in computers, controls, and communication.

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ See People of the Millennium for an overview of the wide acclaim. In 1999, the A&E Network ranked Gutenberg no. 1 on their "People of the Millennium" countdown. In 1997, Time–Life magazine picked Gutenberg's invention as the most important of the second millennium; the same did four prominent US journalists in their 1998 resume 1,000 Years, 1,000 People: Ranking The Men and Women Who Shaped The Millennium. The Johann Gutenberg entry of the Catholic Encyclopedia describes his invention as having made a practically unparalleled cultural impact in the Christian era.
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External links

  • U.S. National Academy of Engineering's Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century Timeline
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