Friday Essential: Modern Technologies That You Thought Was Recently Invented

Whether it is Sushrat from 600 BC or Nicolas Joseph Cugnot from 1769, we have ancestors you have invented or discovered things which we think come from modern technology. So, if you think we have progressed and are smarter than our ancestors, then think again!

In this post, we will discuss some of the most advanced and complicated inventions that are supposed to be invented in the modern age, however, are quite old.

1. Mobile Phones:

mobile phones

First up in the category is the most popular device used by every one of us. People think that it was invented 1973 however it existed from 1918. Surprising, right?

Although, the first device which was perceived as cellphone by consumers came into being in 1973.  The model came after 10 years of it. If you observe mobile phones as an independent device used to receive or make calls using radio tower, also jump one tower to another to keep the communication going, However, if you think that mobile phone is the only way used to make and receive wireless calls, then you must think again!

A mobile phone is a combination of telephony and radiotelegraphy. Wireless radio technology came in 1901, however, there was no two-way communication until 1906. Still, communication was confined to telegraph signals. In 1918, German engineers found a way to link radios & telephones and established a wireless telephone system on a military train connecting Berlin and the provincial town of Zossen. As the system could be used while the train is on the move, it should be considered as the first mobile phone. Although, mobile phones didn’t become popular after that for a long time.

2. Automobiles:


Automobiles are supposed to be invented in the early 20th century but it was invented by a French inventor named Nicolas Joseph Cugnot even before the American Revolution.

In 1769, he successfully executed the idea of a horseless carriage, an automobile powered by a steam engine. The carriage could take four tons while moving at the speed of two and a half miles per hour.

Are you wondered why it never got recognized, it was due to the fact that while testing his vehicle, Cugnot lost control and bashed into a wall. As it was the first one of its kind, it had its faults. It was slow, heavy and difficult to drive. The vehicle was not improved further as Cugnot doesn’t have enough money to work on it.

3. The Computer

the computer

Computer which is now used worldwide was invented long back around World War II by Alan Turing or by Konrad Zuse (still the confusion). However, it is said to be invented in 1833 by Charles Babbage. It is said that he hated mathematical errors and mistakes so he decided to work on a complicated machine, which could help people working on maths.

In 1822, Babbage came up with the idea of developing a mechanical calculator to calculate polynomial functions. The British government approved the idea and sent him to work on it. However, Charles was working on something else a machine which could do all different kinds of math. He also invented the Analytical Engine.

The last version of the machine was capable to read programs and data from punch cards and came with a memory capable of storing 1,000 numbers with 50 decimal digits each, which roughly translates to 20.7 kb. Though Babbage was not able to perfect the design and only a partial model was completed as he died in 1878.

4. Robots


Robots were said to be invented in 1928 but were really invented in 1206. The human was always intrigued by robots. Will you be not fascinated with an object which looks like a human but can’t think or feel?

The first conventional robot named Eric was designed in 1928 at an engineering exhibition in London. The secretary of the Society of Model Engineers, W.H. Richards, designed the aluminium robot with a 12-volt motor, 11 electromagnets & 3 miles (5 kilometres) of wires. The robot was able to respond to remote-control or voice commands.Eric was a robot which was constructed artificially and performs functions according programmed by humans. Now think of a device constructed by Turkish inventor al-Jazari, who built a number of automata, as well as a full four-piece band in 1206. With the help of a series of hydraulic water tanks, al-Jazari built four men who could move and play instruments, along with a programmable drummer who was able to tap out different rhythms with a set of movable pegs.

After that in 1603, Karakuri ningy? (mechanical puppets) became popular in Japan by which could perform easy tasks, for example, serving tea and firing arrows. This robot was followed several others till Eric design was recognized.

5. Batteries


Batteries claimed to be invented in 1800 by an Italian named Alessandro Volta. However, 1791 another Italian named Luigi Galvani connected two pieces of metal to a dead frog’s leg and saw that when both of the things were in contact, the leg jerked. Thus, he discovered that you can generate electricity from animals.

But Galvani was under the impression that living things are the only source of generating electricity. Unlike him, Alessandro Volta used cardboard soaked in salt water instead of frog, presenting the world’s first battery.

However, the concept of battery has been invented long back in around 200 BC. The fact was unravelled when German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig in 1938, as he discovered some clay jars which was called as Baghdad Batteries. The jars have an asphalt stopper along with an iron rod enclosed by a copper cylinder. After some tests, it was exhibited acidic substance presence like vinegar, so when duplicates were created and filled with an alike substance they generated between 0.8 and 2 volts. Although, the use of these clay jars was not clear, and a lot of people came with different theories. Some said it was for electric simulation some said used as painkillers and what not!

So, these are the modern technologies which we thought were invented in the modern age but were way old.

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