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The History of Human Innovation

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More than 6 million years ago …


= invented

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1. First humans walk upright (about 6 million years ago). Stone tools invented in Ethiopia (about 2.6 million years ago). Humans discover fire (about 1.9 million years ago). Earliest use of paint (15,000 B.C.). First calendar created (8,000 B.C.). People domesticate unruly cats (around 7,500 B.C.).

2. First known wine created in China (7,000 B.C.). Papyrus invented in Egypt (3,000 B.C.). Soap invented (2,200 B.C.). Assyrians create the first aqueduct (700 B.C.). First play performed, in Greece (534 B.C.).

3. First hospital founded, in Sri Lanka (431 B.C.). Toilet paper invented, finally (A.D. 851). First university is founded, in Morocco (859). Gunpowder invented, in China (9th century). Humans discover the benefits of coffee, in Africa (9th century).

4. An Italian invents eyeglasses (1285). Gutenberg invents printing press (1440). Copernicus posits that the Earth revolves around the sun (1514). Umbrellas become popular (18th century). First pizza parlor founded, in Naples, Italy (1738).

5. First symphony written (1740–50). Benjamin Franklin discovers electricity’s shocking secrets (1752). John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, invents the sandwich (1762). First steam-powered engine for a vehicle created (1769). America founded (1776).

6. Frenchman takes the first photograph (1826). Revolver invented (1835). First electric car invented (1837). First fax machine invented–really (1842). First baseball game played, in New Jersey (1846). Antonio Meucci invents the telephone (1871).

7. Thomas Edison patents the lightbulb (1879). First gas-powered car (1885). Wright brothers make first flight (1903). Modern nail polish invented (1920). First lie-detector test administered (1921). Henry Luce founds TIME (1923). Television invented (1925).

8. First talking picture (1927). Digital computer invented (1945). Modern bikini unveiled in France (1946). Jonas Salk invents vaccine for polio (1952). Russians launch Sputnik (1957). First successful heart transplant (1967).

9. Humans walk on the moon (1969). Internet invented (1980). Emoji invented in Japan (1999). Mark Zuckerberg founds Facebook in college (2004). The iPhone is unveiled (2007). Google unveils driverless car (2014).


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