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Ask HN: What where the key inventions in the history of mankind?
3 points by no_gravity on Nov 13, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments
So far I got...

year / invention

-2000000 Stone tools

-1000000 Using fire

-6000 Metal tools

-6000 Agriculture

-4000 Writing

1550 Printing

1888 Telephones

1888 Cars

1903 Planes

1941 Penicillin

1941 First computer

1982 Homecomputers

1983 Mobile phones

1990 The internet

2001 Wikipedia

2004 Facebook

2007 Iphone

The iPhone? Seriously? On the same list as agriculture and fire?

I put iphone there as a short form of "mobile internet".

I don't think there's been nearly enough time to determine whether the internet, mobile or otherwise, as we now understand the concept will have a lasting (e.g. centuries or millennia long) influence. It probably will, but it hasn't demonstrated that yet.

The Wheel is probably pretty important. Also I would argue the transistor is pretty up there. As would be the nuclear bomb.

The needle. It allowed humans to hunt and live in cold climates. (disclaimer: watching Andrew Marr's History of the World. It's got everything you need in there).

I'm really tired so I'm sorry for not expanding. Dynamite.


Tool Manufacturing (wide-spread use of tools has grown COUNTLESS industries).

Educational Institutions (College but obviously others as-well)

The spear should have been pretty important for human history as one of the first (if not the first) ranged weapons.

Railroads & Freight Shipping (by sea) are probably key ones to include.

Both probably evolved gradually, so it might be hard to give it an invention date.

Sorry, was proposing both as one kind of. I didn't realize there was a term for it.


IIRC, this is what made it cheaper to mass produce overseas, definitely a huge impact on industry.

The domestication of livestock and beasts of burden.

Speech and non-verbal linguistic communication.

I would suspect that speech can hardly be given an invention date. As it gradually evolved. Did apes speak already?

The origin of human speech is obscure and may never been known with any exactness or certitude. However, language has been known to develop nearly spontaneously in human groups: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandt...


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