Who InventedThe first evidence of the use of fire (c.600,000 BC) comes from China in the caves of Choukeoutien near Beiing.  Fire was used to cook and probably to ward off dangerous animals or lure them into traps.

20,000 BC saw the first use of needles made from bone.  As nomadic peoples moved to colder regions, they naturally needed something warmer than a loincloth to keep warm.

The human desire to be well-groomed seems to date around 8000 BC.  Combs have been discovered in Scandinavia made from antlers.  It wasn’t until 3000 BC Egyptians could see their pretty faces in metal mirrors however.

Fishing nets were first used by people living near the Mediterranean Sea 10,000 BC.  These simple nets were made of twisted vines.  Also at this time, the earliest stoneworkers produced primitive hammers.  It wasn’t until c.3000 BC that the first barbed fish hooks were used in Scandinavia.

c.13,000 BC sees the harpoon on the hunting scene.  This effective weapon kept early hunters from getting too close to dangerous prey.

Between c.4000 and c.3000 BC writing was invented by the Sumerians of the Mesopotamian region.  It is called cuneiform and was written on clay tablets.  The region of Sumer also saw the first use of irrigation in c.5000 BC using the Tigris and Euphrates rivers as their primary water source.

The Egyptians invented glass in c.3000 BC.  The earliest technology allowed them to make simple glass beads.  They also invented papyrus in 3500 BC which led to their inventions of the first inks in c.3200 BC.  There ink was a mixture of soot and natural gum from the bark of the acacia tree.

Talented Egyptians also invented the first pins in c.4000 BC made out of copper.  These pins were first used to fasten robes.

In c.1700 BC the Phoenicians invented the first true alphabet.  It was comprised of twenty-two letters and developed into the Latin letters still used in parts of the world today.

The first wooden spoons date from c.1500 BC.  The Greeks used them exclusively to eat eggs.  Earlier spoons were mainly simple shells.

Hemp rope was invented in China in c.2800 BC.  It was still in use until better synthetic fibers were invented in the twentieth century.

Mesopotamia saw the invention of the wheel in c.3200 BC.  This fertile region also saw the first plow in c.3500 BC and the yoke in c.3000 BC that allowed animals to do much of the heavy labor.

Balls were among the earliest children’s toys and date from c.2000 in Egypt.  Ball games are painted on the walls of Egyptian tombs from about this time.

Syria saw the invention of welding in c.1350 BC.  Iron smelting was invented in Mesopotamia C.1900 BC.

Dental problems go way back.  The Etrurians of Italy were the first to used false teeth in c.700 BC.

More major Egyptian discoveries consist of the sundial from 1000 BC, surveying instruments from 600 BC, the water clock c.300 BC.  Also in 300 BC, Alexandria saw the first musical organ.

Greece saw the first water-powered mill in .85 BC.  This meant people no longer needed to use the mortar and pestle (from Egypt and Mesopotamiac.5000 BC) to grind grain for flour.

Greek engineers invented huge catapults in c.400 BC which were the forerunners of modern artillery.

In c.620 BC, Asia Minor saw the first use of coins.  This made trading much easier for traders who didn’t want to lug heavy goods to market.

Sugar refining occurred in India c.1000 BC.

China invented the first carpets in c500 BC.

by J. A. Young