5 Important Inventions that we take for granted

Sulabh Gupta

We are currently living in the most advanced technological advancement times in human history. We can connect to anyone digitally with just one click and I can't imagine how we would have coped with the recent lockdowns had it not been for the technology to keep us close and entertained.

While we marvel over the new electric cars and iPhones, you will be surprised to know that some of the most important innovations of the past are the ones that we take for granted.

1. The Wheel

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The Wheel(Yogendra Joshi, Flickr)

According to Archaeologists, there is evidence that the first wheel created around 3500 B.C. in Mesopotamia was used as a potter’s wheel and not for transportation. Someone figured out 300 years later to use the wheel for chariots.

Since then, this round invention has been everywhere and changed the way we transport around this world. Wheeled cart enabled agriculture and commerce to prosper as it made transportation of goods to and from the market easy and helped people who used to travel long distances. While a round wheel may seem common sense now but can you imagine pushing a heavy box vs carrying it on wheels.

2. The Compass

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The Compass(Wikimedia)

The Compass was invented in China during the Han Dynasty between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD. It was called “South Pointing Fish” or “South-Governor” at that time. According to Wikipedia, the earlier magnetic compass was not used for navigation but was used for divination, geometry, and fortune-telling by the Chinese.

Ancient Mariners used to navigate by the stars which was not a reliable method especially in the night and cloudy days. Once the compass technology was passed to Europeans and Arab through nautical contact, with the help of the compass, navigators were able to travel safely far from the land leading to an increase in sea trade and eventually contributing to the Age of Discovery.

3. The Light Bulb

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The Light Bulb(Flickr)

Thomas Alva Edison is often credited with the invention of the incandescent light bulb in 1879 but according to historians, there were 22 inventors before him, but his version was the most viable one. Edison’s version was the first practical version – the one with cost-effective material that burned brightly and also lasted for many hours.

Before the invention of the light bulb, people were dependent on daylight for their work and there was no choice except to sleep at nightfall. Bringing electricity to Western homes, light has revolutionized the way we spend our time.

4. Penicillin and Antibiotics

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Penicillin(Flickr)

Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin in 1928 at St. Mary's Hospital, London. It was accidentally invented when Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming came back from a vacation and found that a green mold called Penicillium Notatum had contaminated the Petri Dishes in his lab and killed some of the bacteria which he was growing. Over time, the idea was researched and it led to the development of the drug Penicillin which is an antibiotic. It fights with bacteria in our body without harming the body itself.

World War II witnessed major advances in medical technology including the mass production of Penicillin. The US-made Penicillin was first used to successfully treat the first patient of blood poisoning also known as septicemia on March 14, 1942.

5. The Internet

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The Internet(Flickr)
  • 5 Important Inventions That We Take for GrantedLawrence Roberts, the man who is mainly credited for the invention of the Internet, along with his team created The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) using packet switching techniques. This ARPANET was the predecessor of the Internet.

The Internet has enabled all of us to be connected from any corner of the world. When the whole world was under lockdown and quarantine, we saw the power of the internet. We were able to talk to our loved ones who are far away from us and helped us maintain social distancing. The Internet has become such an important part of our lives that we cannot imagine living without it for even a few hours.

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