Throughout history, humankind has always been fascinated with innovation and invention. From the wheel to electricity, humans have always been eager to create, discover, and improve. However, some inventions were ahead of their time, and their potential benefits could only be realized centuries later. Here are six ancient inventions that were ahead of their time.
The Antikythera Mechanism
The ancient Greeks made an analog computer that was used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes.
The device was discovered in 1901 in the Antikythera shipwreck and was estimated to have been created around 150-100 BC. The Antikythera Mechanism was a technological marvel of its time, using complex gear systems to display the movement of the sun, moon, and planets. The device had a level of precision that was not matched until the development of modern clockwork in the 14th century.
The Baghdad Battery
The Baghdad Battery is an ancient battery that dates back to around 250 BC and was discovered in Iraq in the 1930s.
The battery consists of a clay jar, copper cylinder, and iron rod. When the jar was filled with an acidic liquid, such as vinegar or wine, the iron rod was inserted into the copper cylinder, producing an electrical charge. While the purpose of the Baghdad Battery is still unknown, it is believed to have been used for electroplating or medical purposes.
The Roman Concrete
Still today there are constructions based on Roman concrete that are more resistant than modern constructions.
This is a unique type of concrete that was used in ancient Rome to build structures such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and aqueducts. Roman Concrete was a mixture of volcanic ash, lime, and water that created a strong, durable material that could withstand the test of time. Unlike modern concrete, Roman Concrete used less water, which made it stronger and more resistant to cracks and erosion.
The Fire Lance
The Fire Lance was an early form of the gun, which was used by the Chinese military during the 9th century. The Fire Lance was a tube filled with gunpowder and projectiles, such as pellets or nails. When the gunpowder was ignited, it created an explosion that propelled the projectiles out of the tube at high speeds. While the Fire Lance was not as effective as modern guns, it was a significant advancement in warfare technology and paved the way for the development of firearms.
The Chinese Printing Press
The Chinese Printing Press was invented by Bi Sheng during the 11th century. Bi Sheng was a Chinese artisan, inventor, and engineer. The printing press used movable type, which allowed for the printing of multiple copies of a single document. The movable type was made up of individual characters that could be arranged in any order, making it easier and faster to produce written material. While the Chinese Printing Press did not have the same impact in China as the Gutenberg printing press did in Europe, it was a significant advancement in printing technology.
The Archimedes Screw
The Archimedes Screw is an ancient device that was invented by the Greek mathematician Archimedes during the 3rd century BC. The device was used to transport water from low-lying areas to higher elevations. The Archimedes Screw consisted of a spiral tube wrapped around a cylinder, which could be turned by hand or using an animal or water wheel. The water would enter the bottom of the tube and be carried up to a higher elevation, where it would be deposited. The Archimedes Screw was a significant advancement in hydraulic engineering and is still used today in modern irrigation systems.
The Greek Steam Engine
The Greek Steam Engine, also known as the Aeolipile, was invented by the ancient Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria during the 1st century AD. The steam engine was a simple device consisting of a sphere with two nozzles that rotated on an axis. Water was heated in the sphere, and the resulting steam escaped through the nozzles, causing the sphere to rotate. Although the Greek Steam Engine was not used for practical purposes, it was a significant step in the development of steam power and helped to pave the way for the Industrial Revolution.
The Mauryan Metal Pillar
The Mauryan Metal Pillar is an ancient Indian column that was erected during the 3rd century BC by Emperor Ashoka. The pillar is made of wrought iron and stands over 23 feet tall. What’s remarkable about the pillar is that it has withstood the test of time, remaining rust-free and corrosion-resistant for over two millennia. The secret to the pillar’s durability lies in its composition, which contains small amounts of phosphorus, which creates a protective layer of iron phosphate on the surface of the metal, preventing rust and corrosion. The Mauryan Metal Pillar is a testament to the advanced metallurgical knowledge of ancient India.
Ancient civilizations were capable of creating inventions that were far ahead of their time. These inventions paved the way for modern technology and contributed to the progress of the entire humanity.