There are many great inventions that have vastly improved our quality of life. Many more have helped human beings over come generational challenges. Without them, the human race would probably have become extinct a long time ago. But the few that really stand out are the ones that continue to have an impact on our lives today and there is no sign that their effects will be replaced by anything else in future.
In short, human beings are what they are today because of the following three inventions. All of them have one thing in common; they were mainly influenced by necessity rather than by accident. Since their invention, they have been improved upon by humans and they continue to define how we live our day to day lives. They have opened the gates to more inventions and expanded Man’s ability to think beyond limits.
1. THE INVENTION OF THE WHEEL
We would not know the world as we do today if it was not for the wheel. It is in Mesopotamia that the wheel was invented and its invention was motivated by the need to move heavy objects. The invention of the wheel was not an event but a process. It started with a tree log that was placed beneath heavy objects and rolled in order to move them over very short distances. Later on, there was a need to move the objects over longer distances easily. The tree log was therefore cut into smaller circular wheels which were easier to control.
Since then, many improvements have been made on the wheel and many inventions have come about as a result of these improvements. Cars, airplanes, industrial machines and even the clock are all some of the inventions that were made possible by discovery of the wheel.
Improvements on the wheel led to the invention of bearings and cogs that were used to turn heavy machinery. This sparked the industrial revolution as we know it. Man began forming social groups that revolved around the industries. Eventually he began exploring, learning and interacting with others, far and wide. This enriched his quality of life.
2. THE INVENTION OF FIRE
This is arguably one of the earliest of human inventions. Early man (who was more Ape than man) was able to endure harsh climatic conditions because he had fur on his body. He lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and so he only ate raw foods. As he evolved into the upright man, he discovered fire by rubbing two wooden sticks together. Though this would be interpreted as an accident, its timing was a generational necessity. Through the process of evolving, he had lost most of the fur on his body and his eating habits were changing.
Homo sapiens used fire to keep warm, to warm their caves and to cook. Today we use fire for cooking, for heating, refining, hardening in kilns, for destruction, as a source of light etc. The controlled use of fire has led us to where we are now. Fire led to the invention of clothes and opened up the mind of man to think about growing his own food, hence the development of agriculture.
Fire also contributed immensely to the industrial revolution due to its refining action. Similarly, it played a big role in developing the clay industry (which was the first form of industry) because it was used in the kilns for hardening clay products.
Fire begat fuels. Burning wood was the first source of fuel. Later on, coal and oil were discovered as it emerged that more efficient sources of fuel were necessary.
3. THE INVENTION OF ELECTRICITY
Electricity is the third invention that is responsible for the high quality of life today. Practical applications of electricity have moved the human race from darkness; literally speaking. It would seem like Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity by accident as he was flying his kite in thunderstorm. But, the discovery of static electricity was an invention in labor pains because people had for long marveled at the wonders of rubbing objects against fur in the dark.
Other people began putting Benjamin Franklin’s theory into practical use and so the production and conduction of electricity was quickly discovered. Soon afterwards, Thomas Edison discovered the electricity bulb for lighting. It is hard to imagine life today without the light bulb.Michael Faraday came along and built the first motor by improving on Benjamin’s theory. The motor revolutionized the industries and took them to new heights.
These three inventions are the pillars on which the modern world stands upon. Their influence will be felt in years and centuries to come. As they undergo more improvements, even today, life can only get better.