Weaving may not sound like a groundbreaking invention, but when the Ancient Egyptians mastered it back in the fourth millennium BCE, it revolutionised the way we dressed. This early weaving was undertaken on primitive, two-person looms that could only weave a fixed length of cloth. However, by the close of classical antiquity, dexterous horizontal and vertical weaving looms could be found throughout Asia, Africa and Europe (including Ancient Greece, as illustrated). Today, weaving is undertaken on a massive scale by large, shuttleless machines such as rapier and air-jet looms.
The phonetic alphabet is believed to have been devised around 6,000 years ago by the Canaanite peoples of the Middle East as a simplified version of Egyptian hieroglyphs. This language, which incorporated a mixture of the earlier hieroglyphic system and later Semitic letters, enabled the average person to write down their thoughts and feelings for the first time. Previous to this, the physical writing of information had been a highly restricted practice, typically the reserve of priests and the well educated. Today, all subsequent alphabets have descended in one way or another from this first phonetic system and are used to communicate the world over.
While these days we have artificial man-made adhesives, simpler natural glues have been used for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptian carvings that are over 3,000 years old demonstrate the use of glue to stick veneer to sycamore, while many burial sites throughout Europe have 6,000-year-old pottery that has been repaired with plant sap and bark tar. The Ancient Romans even used beeswax glues to fill in the seams of their ships.
Just think, where would we be without glass? Living in much colder or darker homes, that’s for sure. Indeed, since its invention some 4,500 years ago in the Bronze Age Middle East, the use of glass became more and more widespread. By the time of the Ancient Romans, glass was no longer a luxury commodity, used by many for bottles and jewellery. Today, this world-changing material features in virtually every building and vehicle on Earth.
One of the greatest inventions of all time, the wheel has not only stood the test of time — with the oldest discovered carbon dated to around 7,150 years ago — but i transformed every society or u industry it has touched. From farming fields 1,000 years ago through to commuting miles into a 21st-century metropolis, 1 the invention of the wheel has 1 made all our day-to-day lives easier and more efficient. While rough estimates can be placed on the wheel’s date of invention, who invented it is well and truly lost to the ages.