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Technology Timeline










2.5 Million Years Ago - Knives
Knives were used more than two and a half million years ago before there were humans as we know them today (hominins of the Lower Paleolithic Era).



60,000 Years Ago - Bow and Arrow
It is estimated that stone arrow heads found in Africa may be about 60,000 years old making them one of the oldest human technologies.



41,000 BC - Flute
A bone flute found in Slovenia is thought to be the oldest known musical instrument. However, theories persist that it is just a bone with some random holes in it.



10,000 BC - Beer
Stone Age Beer Jugs have been found that are more than 12,000 years old. It is thought that beer was a staple in the diet at this time.



5000 BC - Alcoholic beverages
Wine was made in China in 5000 BC as evidenced from wine jars from the period. These early Alcoholic beverages included fermented rice, fruits and honey.



3500 BC - Writing
Writing originated in Southern Iraq (Mesopotamia) around 3500 BC. One of these earliest forms of writing is called Cuneiform script and was used for over 3000 years.



3700 BC - Wheel
Pictures of wheels appear on clay pots from the four millennium BC found in southern Poland.



3000 BC - Candles
The Egyptians made candles out of beeswax way back in 3000 BC.



2800 BC - Soap
Ancient Babylonians made soap as far back as 2800 BC. This soap was made of water, alkali and cassia oil.



2800 BC - Toilet
The Indus Valley Civilization developed toilets almost 5000 years ago.



2600 BC - Papyrus
Papyrus, an early type of paper, was invented by the Ancient Egyptians.



2000 BC - Noodles
Until recently the earliest evidence of noodles were Roman writings from 200 BC. However, in 2005 a 4000 year old bowl of noodles was unearthed in China.



2000 BC - Fork
Bone forks have been found in Chinese Qijia tombs that are almost 4000 years old.



2000 BC - Plastic Surgery
Reconstructive surgery was first done in India over 4000 years ago.



1600 BC - Bells
Chinese perfected the art of bronze casting with zhong bells as early as 1600 BC.



1100 BC - Coins
The earliest known coins are copper coins found in a Shang Dynasty tomb.



800 BC - Kite
Kites bamboo and silk kites were invented about 2,800 years ago in China.



600 AD - Quill Pen
Quill Pens were the dominate writing tool from the six to nineteenth century.



500 BC - Maps
The ancient Greeks developed the first maps.



500 BC - Sugar
Sugar was first refined 2500 years ago in India.



400 BC - Compass
The 2400 year old Chinese Book of the Devil Valley Master (鬼谷子) makes references to Chinese compass technology and its use for navigation.



100 AD - Vending Machine
The first vending machine was developed in Greece almost 2000 years ago. It dispensed holy water for a coin and was developed by the famous inventor Heron of Alexandria



100 AD - Steam Engine
The first steam engine prototype was build by Heron of Alexandria in the first century AD. The first practical steam engine was a water pump developed in 1698 in England.



589 AD - Toilet Paper
Chinese literature from more than 1400 years ago is the first to mention the use of toilet paper.



700 AD - Gasoline
Gasoline was first refined in Arabia about 1300 years ago. Initially it was sold in small bottles as a treatment for lice.



800 AD - Gunpowder
Gunpowder was first mentioned in Chinese texts in the mid-800s. The exact origin of Gunpowder is controversial with some theories that it was actually invented in the middle east.



900 AD - Gun
The gun was invented in China more than 1100 years ago.



900 AD - Soft Drinks
Arabic chemists developed sherbet drinks over 1100 years ago. By 1300, there were popular soft drinks in Europe such as the carbonated Dandelion & Burdock drink in England.



1037 AD - Thermometer
The thermometer was developed in Persia about a thousand years ago.



1041 AD - Printing Press
The Chinese developed the first movable type printing press in 1041 four hundred years before Gutenberg's printing press in Europe. However, the Chinese moveable type system was very labour intensive because it needed to support 10,000 Chinese Characters. It was Gutenberg`s printing press that reduced the price and increased the production of books. Before the invention of the printing press books were very expensive (a single parchment book could be worth more than a farm or vineyard).



1128 AD - Cannon
It is known that Chinese invented Cannons by 1128 because they are depicted in a painting in a cave in Sichuan from this year.



1260 AD - Handgun
The first handgun was invented in Egypt in 1260.



1400 AC - Mechanical Clock
The first clock was made for King Charles V of France.



1400 AC - Tooth Brush
World cultures have used various methods to clean teeth for thousands of years but the first tool to resemble the modern tooth brush was invented in China in 1400.



1400 AD - Coffee
There are theories that Egyptians invented coffee around 900 AD. However, the earliest hard evidence of coffee drinking is from the fifteenth century in southern Arabia.



1565 AD - Pencil
The first modern graphite pencils were developed around 1565 in Europe. Before that, metal styluses (thin pieces of lead) had been used since ancient times.



1600 AD - Condom
It is possible that civilizations such as China and Japan used condoms from Ancient times. However, the first fully documented use of condoms was in Italy in 1600. Interestingly, they were used to prevent STDs (syphilis) as well as for birth control.



1759 AD - Shampoo
Shampoo was first developed in Bengal India and the word Shampoo comes from the Hindi chāmpo (head massage).



1700 AD - Piano
Musical instruments using strings and a keyboard such as the clavichord date back to 1500. The first modern piano was invented in Italy around 1700.



1776 AD - Steamboat
The first working steamboat was developed by the French in 1776.



1784 AD - Steam Train
A Scottish inventor developed the first steam train prototype in 1784. The first working railway system was developed in 1804 in Britain.



1796 AD - Vaccination
Early forms of vaccination existed in China way back in 200 BC. However, the first modern Vaccine was the smallpox vaccine of 1796.



1800 AD - Torpedo
Torpedos were invented on paper as early as 1275. However, working torpedos were not developed until 1800. The first submarines used torpedo-like devices to attack enemy ships. At this time, torpedos were not self propelled but dragged under the target ship by the submarine.



1802 AD - Light Bulb
Many people believe it was Thomas Edison who invented the light bulb but this is not true. The first incandescent light bulb was invented as early as 1802 by British researchers. However, Thomas Edison's light bulb was the first commercially viable electric light.



1817 AD - Bicycle
The first modern Bicycle was developed by a German inventor in 1817. Before the Bicycle, there were similar devices such as the hobby horse and push bike.



1821 AD - Electric Motor
A prototype electric motor was developed by British scientists in 1821.



1823 AD - Lighter
The first lighter was called Döbereiner's lamp and was popular from 1823 - 1880. It was developed by a German chemist.



1838 AD - Telegraph
The Electric Telegraph was developed in Britain in 1838.



1844 AD - Telephone
The idea of a speaking telegraph was first developed by an Italian inventor Innocenzo Manzetti in 1844. Much research into telephones occurred in the 1800s and Alexander Graham Bell developed some major enhancements in this technology by 1875.



1862 AD - Machine Gun
The first revolving machine gun was developed in the US in 1862 (the Gatling Gun). It was driven by a hand crank.



1866 AD - Dynamite
Dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel in 1866.



1867 AD - Typewriter
Nobody invented the typewriter. As with many inventions, it evolved from various related technologies. As many as 50 people developed some version of the typewriter. The first commercially successful typewriter was released in 1867.



1888 AD - Automobile
The first production automobile was produced by the Benz company of Germany.



1904 AD - Radar
The early research into the possibility of a Radar system was completed in 1904 by Christian Hülsmeyer. Working prototype radar systems were developed by the mid-1930s.



1907 AD - Bikini
There were Bikini-like athletic garments for women in Greece way back in 1400 BC. However, the modern Bikini was developed after a highly publicized event in which Annette Kellerman was arrested on a Boston beach in 1907 for wearing a two piece. Due to the publicity, this style of swim suit was popular by 1913 in the US.



1910 AD - Jet Engine
The principles of Jet Propulsion have been known for thousands of years and rockets were invented by the Chinese in the 1300s. In 1910, a jet powered aircraft was built in France but crashed on takeoff.



1912 AD - Sliced Bread
The first bread slicing machine was made in 1912 in Iowa but was destroyed in a fire. It was not until 1928 that the first sliced bread was sold in shops. It became an instant commercial success.



1913 AD - Radio
The first radio receiver was developed in 1913.



1914 AD - Tank
The tank first appeared in fiction in the 1903 story "The Land Ironclads" by H.G. Wells. The tank was developed for the WWI battle field by Austrians and the first tank-on-tank battle occurred in France in 1918 between British and German tanks.



1937 AD - Computer
The first digital computer was developed in the US in 1937 but it was not programmable.



1942 AD - Nuclear Reactor
The first working nuclear reactor was developed at the University of Chicago in 1942.



1945 AD - Microwave oven
Heating food with microwaves was discovered by accident by engineer Percy Spencer in his lab. The first food to be heated by microwaves in his experiments was popcorn.



1945 AD - Nuclear Weapons
During WWII the United States had a massive research program to develop nuclear weapons called the Manhattan Project. At its peak the Manhattan Project employed 130,000 people. The first nuclear bomb test was exploded on July 16, 1945 near Socorro, New Mexico.



1947 AD - Transistor
The Transistor was first developed in 1947 at Bell Labs.



1950 AD - Credit Cards
Credit Cards first appear in fiction in the utopian story Looking Backward of 1887. Merchants providing credit to customers goes back hundreds of years but the first modern credit card was the Diners Club card released in 1950.



1959 AD - Bullet Train
The first Bullet Train(shinkansen) was built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan. Japan`s dense population centers make extensive bullet train networks financially viable.



1960 AD - Lasers
Albert Einstein theorized about lasers in 1917. The first working prototype was not developed until 1960 by Hughes Research Laboratories.



1963 AD - Computer Mouse
The first mouse was developed by Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute.



1967 AD - Hypertext
Hypertext (ie HTML) was first developed back in 1967 at Brown University.



1968 AD - Video Game Console
The first Video Game Console was developed in 1968. By 1972, the Magnavox Odyssey was released with the game pong. Other titles such as Simon Says, Cat & Mouse, Hockey etc.. were quick to follow.



1975 AD - Digital Camera
The first working digital camera prototype was developed by Eastman Kodak company in 1975. It took 23 seconds to capture a photo. Ironically, digital photography eventually caused Eastman Kodak company`s profits to plunge as film and related products became obsolete.



1970 AD - Database
The first modern relational database system was developed in 1970 by Edgar Codd.



1971 AD - E-mail
Electronic mail (E-mail) was developed by Ray Tomlinson for the US Military Network ARPANET.



1971 AD - Karaoke
The Karaoke machine first appeared in Japan in the early 1970s.



1971 AD - Microprocessor
Intel's 4004 is considered the world`s first microprocessor and was released in 1971.



1973 AD - Personal computer
The first PC was the Xerox PARC way back in 1973.



1973 AD - Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)
The first GMO was a recombinant bacteria developed in 1973.



1974 AD - Hybrid Vehicle
In 1974, Victor Wouk successfully converted a Buick Skylark to have dual internal combustion / electric operation.



1975 AD - DNA Sequencing
The first method for sequencing DNA was developed in 1975.



1977 AD - Mobile Phone
The first mobile phone was developed by Bell Labs in 1977.



1983 AD - Internet
The Internet was originally a US military research network that was opened up to commercial interests in 1988.



1990 AD - World Wide Web (WWW)
Tim Berners-Lee invented the WWW in 1990 with the first web browser, Web server, and Web pages all being developed as part of a research project.



1993 AD - Global Positioning System(GPS)
GPS was developed by the US Military with test systems being developed as early as 1972. By 1993 GPS was operational and was made available to the public. The US made the decision to open the system to civilians in 1983 after Korean airliner KAL 007 was shot down by the Soviets after going off course.



1994 AD - Wiki
Wiki collaborative software was first developed in 1994. It was originally called wiki-wiki after the buses at Honolulu airport.



1995 - PageRank
PageRank, the technology behind google search, was first developed in 1995 by the founders of Google.






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