Timeline of historic inventions

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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.

Earliest inventions[edit]

The dates listed in this section refer to the earliest evidence of an invention found and dated by archaeologists (or in a few cases, suggested by indirect evidence). Dates are often approximate and change as more research is done, reported, and seen. Older examples of any given technology are found often. The locations listed are for the site where the earliest solid evidence has been found, but especially for the earlier inventions there is little certainty how close that may be to where the invention took place.

Pre-Paleolithic[edit]

  • 23.5 million years ago (Ma): Beds, composed of a sleeping platform including wooden pillows[1]

Paleolithic[edit]

A few non-invention dates are included in italics, for context. This time period is characterized as an ice age with regular periodic warmer periods - interglacial episodes - initially every 41,000 years slowing to

Neolithic[edit]

Note the shift from Ma and ka to BC and AD – 8000 BC is approximately the same as 10 ka.

3rd millennium BC[edit]

2nd millennium BC[edit]

1st millennium BC[edit]

7th century BC[edit]

6th century BC[edit]

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.[89]

5th century BC[edit]

4th century BC[edit]

3rd century BC[edit]

An illustration depicting the papermaking process in Han Dynasty China.

2nd century BC[edit]

The earliest fore-and-aft rigs, spritsails, appeared in the 2nd century BC in the Aegean Sea on small Greek craft.[113] Here a spritsail used on a Roman merchant ship (3rd century AD).
  • 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. 50–121 AD) 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.[114]
  • 150 BC Astrolabe invented in the Hellenistic world.

1st century BC[edit]

1st millennium AD[edit]

1st century[edit]

2nd century[edit]

3rd century[edit]

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.[133][134][135]

4th century[edit]

5th century[edit]

6th century[edit]

A Nepali Charkha in action

7th century[edit]

9th century[edit]

A Mongol bomb thrown against a charging Japanese samurai during the Mongol invasions of Japan after founding the Yuan Dynasty, 1281.

10th century[edit]

2nd millennium[edit]

11th century[edit]

12th century[edit]

  • 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).[180][182][183][184][185][186][187] The typical Chinese navigational compass was in the form of a magnetic needle floating in a bowl of water.[188] 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.[189]

13th century[edit]

14th century[edit]

15th century[edit]

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.[202]

16th century[edit]

17th century[edit]

A 1609 title page of the German Relation, the world's first newspaper (first published in 1605)[218][219]

18th century[edit]

1700s[edit]

1710s[edit]

1730s[edit]

1740s[edit]

1750s[edit]

1760s[edit]

1770s[edit]

1780s[edit]

1790s[edit]

19th century[edit]

1800s[edit]

1810s[edit]

1820s[edit]

1830s[edit]

1840s[edit]

1850s[edit]

1860s[edit]

1870s[edit]

1880s[edit]

1890s[edit]

20th century[edit]

1900s[edit]

1910s[edit]

1920s[edit]

1930s[edit]

1940s[edit]

1950s[edit]

1960s[edit]

1970s[edit]

1980s[edit]

1990s[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

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External links[edit]