Going about your day-to-day life, you may not think much about how everything around you came to be. How is your house kept cool or warm, for example, or what went into deriving materials for your house and the village, town, or city where it is located? Throughout history, important inventions you may not often consider have changed how humans live.
If you are like many people today, you probably rely on GPS (Global Positioning System) to get from here to there. However, before there were satellites circling the planet, explorers depended upon compasses. Most likely developed around 1050 B.C. by the Chinese, the first compasses were developed for spiritual growth as well as for navigational assistance. They were constructed of magnetic iron ore called lodestone.
In 1825, the electromagnet ushered in the creation of the current style of compass. For countless intrepid sea captains as well as overland adventurers, compasses combined with celestial objects have pointed the way for millennia.
Coke is a porous, carbon-rich fuel that burns cleanly. Often coke is derived from heating coal in specialized ovens, but petroleum coke,or pet coke, is created from crude oil. Coke has many uses.
- Iron ore smelting
- Fuel for house stoves to prevent heavy air pollution
- Roasting malt barley for single-malt Scotch whisky (Orkney’s Highland Park distillery)
- Heating industrial furnaces
Coke ovens require specialized parts such as coke oven door plugs because the process for creating coke requires high heat.
Though concrete may not sound exciting, its development has led to sturdy, lasting human and animal shelters for thousands of years. The first concrete-style structures were built by Bedouins in modern Syria and Jordan about 6500 B.C. Humans from the Egyptians to Industrial Revolution-era Americans have been developing uses for concrete ever since.
Human development has brought along many inventions that make life what it is today. While you may not consider these creations in your daily life, they have driven societal growth. We are where we are now thanks to these unsung innovations.