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 Timeline

 

Click on a technology above to jump to its place on the timeline below (or just scroll there).

This timeline of major technology shows dates of invention before Christ (BC) as negative and those AD as positive.

Dates are approximate.  The graphic above is proportional; graphic below is not.

 

 

- 2,600,000 Stone tools

- 2,600,000 Inclined plane

 

 

 

 

 

- 2,400,000 Wedge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- 500,000 Fire (production and control of) Use of fire started by lightning dates back farther , to perhaps 750,000 years ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

< - 50,000 Bow & arrow

 

 

 

 

 

< - 10,000 Wind musical instruments

 

 

< - 4500 Plow

 

 

- 3500 Wheel

 

 

- 3500 Sundial

 

 

 

-3000 Abacus

 

 

 

- 3000 Stringed musical instruments

 

 

 

- 2000 Domestic bathroom plumbing

 

-1530 Glass

 

- 400 Hippocratic approach (technique of looking to environmental, rather than divine, causes of disease)

 

< - 260 Lever (although probably in use far earlier, this is the earliest documentation)

 

 

< - 260 Pulley

< - 260 Spiral screw

- 150 Paper

- 100 Water wheel power plants

- 83 Compass

2 Hospital (a temporary hospital in China)

 

800 Windmills

950 Mechanical clock

1040 Gunpowder

1041 Printing

1232, 1926 Rockets

1280 Eyeglasses 

1281 Guns

1300 Harpsichords, pianos

1590 Microscope

1609 Telescope (Telescopes were probably invented twenty years earlier and used, in secret, by the military in the Netherlands.  In 1609, the telescope was first used to view planets and stars.)

1620 Slide rule

1624 Submarine

1642 Mechanical calculator

1680 Match

1714 Thermometer

1774 Steam engine (practical, about 17 centuries after the first steam engine was invented by Heron)

 

1783 Balloon (sustained human flight; earlier, less practical balloons existed)

1796 Vaccincation

1800 Electric battery

1800 Interchangeable parts 

1802 Locomotive

1807 Steamship (practical)

1824 Photography (practical)

1830 Sewing machine

1831 Mechanical harvester

1831 Electric motor / generator

 

 

 

1834 Anesthesia

1836, 1860 Repeating firearms

1839 Electric fuel cell (generates electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen)

1845 Steam carriage 

1851 Elevator

1853 Aspirin

1859 Refrigeration (practical artificial)

1862 Machine gun

1866 Dynamite

1867 Typewriter

1869 Plastic

1871 Vacuum cleaner

1876 Telephone

1876 Internal combustion engine (practical)

 

1877 Phonograph

1879 Incandescent light bulb

1884 Synthetic fabrics

1889 Automobile

1891 Motion pictures

1893 Solar cells

1893 Zipper

1895 Wireless electronic communication

 

1897 Diesel engine

1898 Audio tape recording

1903 Airplane

 

1906 Vacuum bottle (Thermos)

1907 Radio

1909 Theory of Relativity

 

1923 Television

 

1925 Fax machine

1928 Penicillin

1928, 1939 Jet-propelled aircraft

1935 Color photography (practical)

1936 Radar (RAdio Detection And Ranging, practical)

 

1938 Teflon

1938 Xerography (photocopying)

 

1940 Helicopter (practical)

1941 Electronic computer (specialized)

1942 Nuclear reactor

1945 Nuclear weapon

1945 Microwave oven

 

The ENIAC computer, built from 18,000 vacuum tubes, was the first all purpose electronic digital computer1946 Electronic computer (general purpose)

 

1947 Instant photography

1948 Transistor

1948 Hook & loop fastener (Velcro)

1951 Nuclear generation of electricity

1955 Fiber optics

1955 Videotape recording

1956 FORTRAN computer language

1957 Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)

1958 Modem (MOdulate & DEModulate)

1958 Integrated circuit

1959 Photocopier (commercial)

1957, 1961 Spaceflight

1962 Communication satellite

 

1962 Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

1962 Video game

1963 Computer mouse

1965 Interplanetary spacecraft

1957 Calculator (handheld)

1969 Human spaceflight to another world

1969 ARPAnet (precursor to the Internet)

 

1970 Floppy disk

1970 UNIX computer operating system

1971 Speech-recognition software

1972 Optical disc (precursor to the compact disc)

1972 Email

1972 Microprocessor

1972 Interstellar spacecraft

1975 Word-processing software

1976 Ink jet printer

1977 Personal computer

 

 

 

1979 Compact disc (CD)

 

1979 Spreadsheet software

1981 Reusable manned spacecraft

1982 Artificial heart

1984 Macintosh computer

1988 Virtual reality

1989 High-Definition Television (HDTV)

1990 All-optical processor

1991 World Wide Web

1993 Graphic web browser

1993 Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)

1995 Flat-panel television

1995 Full-length computer-generated feature film (Toy Story)

1995 E-commerce

1997 Mammal cloned (Dolly the sheep)

 

 

2002 Artificial life (A synthetic polio virus, which took 3 years to make. In 2003 another virus was synthesized in just 2 weeks. Many consider viruses to not be alive)

 

2003 Human Genome fully mapped (a draft was completed in 2000)

 

 

What's next?

 

 

 2010 KnowledgeContext

 

Teaching Young People to Think About Technology