When we think of cutting-edge technology, our brains tend to gravitate toward some of the newest innovations that we’ve seen in the past few years. However, some of the amazing technology that we know about today has been around for much longer than you think. We’re not talking about just a couple of decades, or even centuries, we’re talking about an entire millennium or even longer.
Though the average person might think that ancient civilizations didn’t have much knowledge or formal education, there were still some brilliant scientists that created technology that changed the world. Let’s take a look at five of those ancient technologies that show the ingenuity of humans and how we use that technology today.
Pyramids of Giza
There are some people who are so enthralled by the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt that they believe that the pyramids were built by aliens. It’s truly a marvel that dates back thousands of years, and the pyramids were believed to have been built as tombs for Pharaohs of the time. Scientists have tried to figure out the specifics and think that it took 20 years to finish the pyramids and around 20,000 workers.
That might sound like a lot of people, but over the course of 20 years, it really isn’t that much. The rope and pulley system helped to get the pieces in place, or at least that’s our best guess. After all, the pyramids are almost perfectly facing in all four cardinal directions, and that would have been hard to pull off with the technology at the time. The shafts and heat spots have left people wondering for millennia how the Egyptians pulled off such an impressive feat.
Archimedes Steam Cannon
Archimedes of Syracuse was one of the best scientists in the world during his time in the 3rd century BC. Archimedes helped to form modern mathematics and science, and that even spilled over into the world of weaponry. During the Siege of Syracuse, Archimedes created the steam cannon, a weapon that only needed heat and water to operate.
A copper tube was put into a furnace, and when it became hot enough, only a small amount of water was needed to launch a projectile. This proved to be a very effective weapon and would continue to be in use for the centuries that followed. Even during World War II, a newer version of Archimedes’ cannon was used by the United States.
Anyone who lives in an area where there’s both hot and cold weather knows just how annoying it can be to deal with potholes. It seems that throughout the summer, potholes are patched up, but plenty more pop up throughout the winter and the spring to make it an endless battle. Many of us that deal with this wonder why modern concrete doesn’t seem to be as effective as the concrete in ancient Rome.
The concrete that was used at the time was found to actually become stronger as time goes on. That’s because Roman concrete was made with a mixture of lime, seawater, and volcanic ash. This combination reacts to the environment that surrounds it, and even something like seawater helps to fortify the concrete rather than cause it to erode.
Batteries Over Baghdad
It probably wouldn’t be too surprising to hear that the first known batteries came from Baghdad, Iraq, but you probably wouldn’t guess how old they are. In the 1930s, scientists discovered a ceramic pot that also contained a copper tub and iron rod. This turned out to be the first battery known to man and stood at an impressive height of six feet.
There have been several theories as to how the battery worked, with some claiming that there’s no way that it could’ve worked without electricity. Some have said that it could electroplate gold and silver, while others have said that it was used for electrotherapy. Either way, it appears to be a one-of-a-kind technology for its time.
One of those things that still boggles the average mind to this day is flexible glass, especially when you see it on modern smartphones. It’s not clear exactly who it was that invented flexible glass, but records show that it dates back to the 1st century AD and was during the time of Tiberius Caesar.
The story of the flexible glass would become a thing of legend but wasn’t widely used for many years. These days, flexible glass is just about everywhere from our fiber optics to the previously mentioned smartphone screens. This is not to be confused with the less flexible plexiglass, which was created in the mid-19th century.