11 Modern Technologies That Are Way Older Than You Think

#5. The Automatic Door

Believed to have been invented in...

1954, by Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt.

These two Texans designed the first automatic door after noticing how strong winds would fuck with people's door opening abilities. The pair got to work on their product and, before long, people across the world were walking up to automatic doors, hesitating, thinking "fuck, is...is it broke?," continuing, halting abruptly, shielding their face with their hands and then flinching, humiliated as the door opened with perfect comedic timing.

Horton and Hewitt went on to found Horton Automatics, one of the biggest sellers of automatic doors today, with a massive range of clients including McDonald's and Tim Horton's Donuts (Nepotism?).

Actually invented in...

Around 50 BC, by Hero of Alexandria.

Fucktasticly named Hero was a Greek engineer, mathematician, inventor, teacher and overachiever who is believed to have lived somewhere around the second century. He is credited with numerous inventions, but his most celebrated was the aeolipile, which is not a type of airborne haemorrhoid, but an early steam engine.

The invention was used to spice up religious ceremonies with some special effects. The invention consisted of an alter, to be placed in front of some large, heavy temple doors, and all manners of pullies, buckets, fire and water. It was kind of like Mouse Trap, but instead of catching mice it made the masses think the breath of God had opened the doors.

As a companion piece, Hero designed a similar device that would be used to create the sound of a trumpet when the temple doors opened, because everyone knows God has an invisible trumpet follow him everywhere he goes.

#4. The Flamethrower

Believed to have been invented in...

1901, by the Germans.

Richard Fiedler created the "flammenwerfer" for the German army, just in time to capitalize on the 20th century's demand for horrible, skin-melting weapons. But it wasn't until the Second World War that the US invented a flamethrower that could fire continuous streams of burning fuel. These had such a damaging psychological effect on German soldiers that flamethrower operators who were captured by the Nazi's would be summarily executed on the spot.

The US army discontinued the use of the weapons when the realized that enemies running screaming while engulfed in flame doesn't really do much for the whole "winning hearts and minds" thing.

Actually invented in...

The 7th Century AD, by the Greeks.

Around 672 AD, a Syrian refugee and engineer invented what would come to be known as Greek Fire. This was a secret formula invented by the Byzantine Greeks and used in naval battle to burn ships, and in land battles to burn people.

Initially, it was fired from ships through a hand pump, but later a more mobile version that fired a stream of flames was developed. Greek Fire could not be put out with water alone, would stick to surfaces and ignited on contact. For this reason it has been compared to napalm, although no one liked the smell of Greek Fire in the morning, because due to its volatile and unpredictable nature, if you smelt it, you were probably on fire.

#3. Batteries

Believed to have been invented in...

1800, by Italian Alessandro Volta.

Nine years earlier fellow Italian Luigi Galvani attached two pieces of metal to a dead frog's leg and noticed that when he did, the leg twitched, thus discovering that animals generate electricity and, at the same time, establishing the historical animosity between experimental scientists and frogs.

"Science: 1. Frogs: 0."

Galvani, though, thought that living things and living things alone were the source of all electricity, a touchingly idealistic notion that would have made for some horrific power generators. Alessandro Volta, on the other hand, substituted frogs with cardboard soaked in salt water, producing what was thought to be the world's first battery.

Actually invented in...

Around 200 BC.

In 1938, German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig (who died a few years later in a face melting Ark of the Covenant related accident) discovered a number of clay jars that would come to be known as the Baghdad Batteries. The jars have an asphalt stopper and, sticking through it, an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder. Tests revealed the presence of an acidic substance similar to vinegar and when replicas were made and filled with such a substance they produced between 0.8 and 2 volts.

The discovery of a working battery from 200 BC raised a whole lot more questions than it answered. Were there a lot of devices that required batteries back then? Did everyone just respond to the inventor with, "Nice going dipshit, a battery is exactly what we need to feed our families."

Some scientists propose that they were used to relieve pain while other scientists point out that electric stimulation would be ineffective when compared to painkillers available at the time such as heroin opiate and cannabis; who wants an electric shock when you could be chasing the dragon?

The most plausible explanation is that they were used to electrically graft silver onto gold, a method that is still practiced in Iraq today. Another is that they were placed into statues of gods to simulate the religious experience of "HOLY CRAP GOD JUST FREAKING SHOCKED ME! WHAT A DICK!"

#2. Vending Machines

Believed to have been invented in...

The early 1880s.

Coin operated vending machines were first introduced in London to dispense post cards and books.

America protested, "But you can't get fat on post cards or books," so the Thomas Adams Gum Company installed machines that dispensed gum and snacks on the New York subway. The invention soon caught on and over the decades has provided mankind with their most desired items; cigarettes, candy and schoolgirls' used panties.

Actually invented in...

Between 215 BC and 100 AD by, you guessed it, Hero of Alexandria.

The purpose of this first vending machine was to dispense holy water in the temples of Egypt. The device worked in the same way as a modern vending machine; worshipers would put coins in the top and it would dispense a measured amount of holy water for washing. At the end of the day, the machine would be emptied of coins and topped off with blessed water.

And we have to assume that more than once a day, some ancient worshiper dropped his coins in, got nothing in return, and then immediately rocked the machine back and forth while cursing under his breath. At least we've ironed that little wrinkle out.

#1. The Dildo

Believed to have been invented in...

1966, by Ted Marche.

The 1960s were a volatile time for the world. In the US, students were being shot and killed at anti-war rallies; in Britain, the Rolling Stone's were recording Street Fighting Man; in France, there was rioting in Paris; while in California, Ted Marche was designing things for women to stick in their vaginas.

One night in 1966, middle-aged ventriloquist (that's right, ventriloquist) Marche sat down at the family dinner table and began carving a six inch cock. It was the beginning of something beautiful, sort of creepy and incredibly lucrative; Marche went on to build a million dollar industry out of his invention. By 1976, Marche Manufacturing (Cracked would have went with Ventriloquist Cock, Inc.) had sold nearly five million dildos. None of these though sold in Texas, where they passed a law banning their sale. For more information on the state of Texas and their fear of dildos, why not read this 33 page essay by Phoebe Godfrey Ph.D. of Texas A&M on Texan dildos, the last page of which is a "dildo release form."

Actually invented in...

28,000 BC.

In 2005, a group of archaeologists discovered 13 fragments of siltstone at a site in Germany. Upon unearthing the 14th, they put the pieces together and realized that their great archaeological discovery was not, in fact, an ancient Greek computer or a primitive Mesopotamian battery, but a massive dildo. Like Isaac Newton and gravity, Einstein and relativity and Columbus and America, their names would forever be associated with their discovery: really, really old cock.

The dildo is 20 centimeters long, three centimeters wide and dates to the Ice Age, where women, judging by the objects size, apparently had a "massive capacity". Professor Nicholas Conard, a member of the team that, ahem, examined the dildo, spoke about their find saying: "In addition to being a symbolic representation of male genitalia... It's highly polished." Indeed.

While they may have discovered the oldest known sex toy, they didn't discover the only one. It seems that as long as human beings have had holes, we've invented things to put in those holes. Sex toys were commonly used in ancient Greece and according to always reliable source Wikipedia, archaeologists regularly discover ancient dildos but are reluctant to label them as such, probably because they don't want to be known as "that guy that keeps discovering dildos--you know, Indiana Dongs."

To see more ways we're inferior to our ancestors, check out 6 Insane Discoveries That Science Can't Explain. Or find out about some puzzingly dumb mysteries they left behind for us that we do (or at least should) have answers for, in 6 Famous Unsolved Mysteries (With Really Obvious Solutions).

And check out Cracked.com's Top Picks, which may or may not have been innovated by Hero.

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