Photography, invented in , changed the world for better and for worse. Do you know how hard it was to sext before some weirdo invented the camera? Much like the automobile, this one has probably done more damage than most inventions.
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But it needs to be acknowledged. Alexander Fleming, a professor in London, discovered penicillin in and changed the world. Not bad. Not bad at all. Unless you live in the 21st century, where antibiotics are becoming increasingly useless. The sailboat was invented in Mesopotamia around B. The only problem?
By the late 19th century, the sail gave way to steamships powered by coal , and the rest is history. There were a number of mechanical inventions in the 20th century that changed the world. But one that can be easily forgotten is the mechanical refrigerator. Few things outside of trucks themselves revolutionized the way that people ate in the 20th century. Thanks to refrigeration, food travels from all over the world in ships, trucks, and personal cars, and is deposited in the home refrigerator for consumption later. Cast iron was first developed around roughly BC , and it would radically transform life for average people with its use in agriculture and eventually warfare.
And much like other landmarks in creation, such as photography, the pencil would alter how we recorded the world and how we saw our place in it. Where would you be without a fork? And much more versatile. Have you ever tried eating sushi with a fork? Invented sometime around the year by Bi Sheng in China, moveable type would change the world, making it easier to print books and other knowledge.
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Hilariously to modern eyes, many people saw the transition away from oral traditions to the printed word as a form of laziness. Oil lamps can be traced back to BC and virtually every civilization since has made their own improvements on this vital device. There were few things more important than an oil lamp before the invention of electric light—at least if you had any desire to not rely on the sun as your only means of light.
The guillotine, or at least something like it, was invented in the s, but this invention and the name we use today became popular during the French Revolution in the s. It was meant to send a message.
That message? Off with their heads. No gods, no masters. Off with their fucking heads. No wonder the guillotine has become a bit of a meme these days. History has a funny way of resurfacing this invention any time the wealthy decide that they prefer austerity to economic concessions for the masses.
The sewing machine would come into common use during the 19th century, would revolutionize the production of clothes for generations to come. What would you be in a hunter-gatherer society? The person who forages for tweets? Pass me another microwaved burrito, fellow nerd. Have you ever tried to bareback a horse?
Me neither. People at the turn of the 20th century predicted that the horse would be extinct by now, thanks to the invention of the automobile. The spinning wheel, used for creating thread and yarn, was likely invented in India sometime around the year and spread throughout Asia and the Middle East from there. The spinning wheel was an absolutely essential invention for clothes and textiles before the Industrial Revolution.
100 Military Inventions that Changed the World
Likely invented around the year by the Persians, the windmill would go on to be used for crushing grain and pumping water in countless societies. The humble windmill might just be an aesthetic novelty to many Americans. But modern agriculture and manufacturing owes a great deal to this invention. Few things have made the world smaller than the airplane. Humans spent generations trying to make powered, heavier-than-air flight a reality, but when the Wright Brothers first succeeded on December 17, , the world entered a new age.
There were plenty of hurdles to surpass, like crossing the Atlantic Charles Lindbergh made the first solo trip from New York to Paris in and so on , but the world would look a lot different without the airplane. Especially s stand-up comedy. It would be impossible to guess how many people have been killed with pistols throughout history since their invention in the 16th century. The worst thing about pistols?
When we talk about gun violence, the mass shootings and gang violence get all the headlines. But we barely talk about the number of Americans who kill themselves with handguns every year. I think I speak for all of humanity in the 21st century when I say that the telephone is more of a burden than it should be these days. But it was quite important in its time.
Much like the wheel, nobody knows exactly who invented the spear. We just know that the first one was created roughly , years ago. Prozac, otherwise known as fluoxetine hydrochloride, was the first mainstream antidepressant in the SSRI family. There is a segment of the population that believes going on drugs like Prozac is wrong, and that all you need is to radically change your life with some vaginal jade eggs or some shit. Those people, of course, are idiots and you should take any drug that makes you feel better. It had so many fantastic attractions, from the Ferris Wheel to the Midway.
At the start of the s, just 35 percent of American households had electricity. But by the end of the decade, it was 68 percent. Gunpowder was discovered in China in the 9th century, but it was mainly used for peaceful purposes like fireworks. It could literally move mountains. Or, at least, large pieces of a mountain. Explosives became crucial for mining, opening up the Earth with a tremendous bang and literally creating empires.
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The birth of the internet is tough to pin down. The rest is history. The internet has transformed our lives in the 21st century. No invention improved public health better than the invention of the sewer system. The humble transistor made modern computing possible. The earliest modern computers used vacuum tubes, which were bulky, cumbersome, and unreliable.
Some of the earliest evidence of steel that we have is in modern Turkey, dating back to BC, but this incredibly versatile alloy of iron and carbon would be used in countless different ways over the next few thousand years. Post-World War II production in the United States depended heavily on steel, giving rise to entire pockets of the country now known as the Rust Belt that have never fully recovered. During the 19th century, the electric telegraph was arguably more revolutionary than the telephone and the internet would ever become.
When Samuel F. The world became instantly smaller, allowing for communication over vast distances in a way that use to require physical delivery letters or large visual signal stations most common in wartime.
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Anyone who wanted to send a message from the United States to Europe in the s would have to wait at least 10 full days—the time it took for ships to cross the Atlantic.