33 Things That Were Invented Earlier Than You Probably Thought

1Central Heating

The ancient Romans (the wealthy ones) had central heating in their homes. They used a system called 'hypocaust' that produced and circulated hot air below the floor of a room, and also warmed the walls with a series of pipes through which the hot air passed. The earliest example of such a system was the temple of Ephesus that was built in 350 B.C. Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro in what is now Pakistan have unearthed what is believed to be a hypocaust lined with bitumen-coated bricks. If it fulfilled a similar role, the structure would pre-date the earliest Roman hypocaust by as much as 2000 years.


2Musical Instruments

The oldest known musical instrument is a 43,000-year-old flute that was carved from a bear femur. This is older than the extinction of Neanderthals, domestication of animals, the extinction of Ice Age mammals, and the invention of the wheel.


3Concrete

Ancient Romans used a mixture of limestone, water, and volcanic ash to make concrete. This mixture and its curing technique produces a stronger and more environmentally friendly concrete than modern Portland cement. By 25 B.C., Romans had even developed a recipe for concrete to be specifically used for underwater work, which is essentially the same formula we use today. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the technology to make concrete was lost for nearly 1000 years before it was found again in the 14th century.


4Submarines

The first submersible of whose construction there exists reliable information of, was designed and built by a Dutchman named Cornelis Drebbel in 1620. It had Oars that stuck through leather seals and had snorkel hoses for air. The first military submarine was the Turtle which was built in 1775. It was a hand-powered acorn-shaped device designed to accommodate a single person. The Turtle was used during the American Revolutionary War.


53D Movies

The earliest confirmed 3D film shown to an audience was ‘The Power of Love,’ which premiered in Los Angeles in 1922. Even before this, in 1915 audiences were presented with clips of random scenes shot in 3D at the Astor Theater in New York City.


6Billiard Balls

The earliest known written reference to ivory billiard balls is in the 1588 inventory of the Duke of Norfolk. By the mid-19th century, elephants were being slaughtered for their ivory at an alarming rate, just to keep up with the demand for high-end billiard balls.


7Fax Machine

Scottish inventor Alexander Bain received British patent in 1843 for his "Electric Printing Telegraph". The first device resembling the modern fax machine was the pantelegraph which was invented by an Italian physicist. He introduced the first commercial telefax service between Paris and Lyon in 1865, some 11 years before the invention of the telephone.


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8Automatic Doors

In the 1st century A.D., Greek mathematician Heron of Alexandria invented the first known automatic door. He described two different automatic door applications. The first application was used to open temple doors. The device used heat from a fire lit by the city's temple priest. After a few hours, atmospheric pressure built up in a brass vessel caused it to pump water into adjacent containers. These containers acted as weights that, through a series of ropes and pulleys, would open the temple's doors at about the time people were to arrive for prayer. Heron used a similar application to open the gates to the city.


9Color movies

Even in the earliest days of silent film, color was used in motion pictures. The technique utilized in the earliest color films like "Vie et Passion du Christ" ("Life and Passion of the Christ") (1903) and "A Trip to the Moon" (1902) was stenciling, in which each frame of a film was hand-colored. The process to hand-color each frame of a film — even films much shorter than the typical film of today — was painstaking, expensive, and time-consuming. The first feature film with a sound was The Jazz Singer, which was released in 1927.


10Animation

Humans made animated art tens of thousands of years ago. The 21,000 years old cave paintings in Lascaux, France were made in such a way that flickering oil light would create the illusion of motion on the cave-painted animals. When the cave was discovered in 1940, more than 100 small stone lamps that once burned grease from rendered animal fat were found throughout its chambers. A flickering flame in the cave may have conjured impressions of motion like a strobe light in a dark club.

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