13 Everyday Inventions That Are Way Older Than We Thought

13 Everyday Inventions That Are Way Older Than We Thought

As we look to the past, it is often with a sense of awe and wonder at the accomplishments of those who lived before us. We marvel at the inventions and discoveries that have changed the course of human history, from the wheel to the printing press. But there are many inventions that are often overlooked or forgotten, inventions that are surprisingly old and ahead of their time. 

From the Aeolipile steam engine invented by Heron of Alexandria in 62 A.D. to the rocket-powered torpedo invented by Al-Hassan er-Rammah in 1280, these inventions show us that innovation is not limited by time or place... and that stuff that looks modern and brand-new sometimes has really, really old roots. They demonstrate the ingenuity of our ancestors and the power of human creativity. So without further ado, let us explore the amazing inventions of the past and appreciate the people who made them... for us to enjoy today.

Ancient Chinese Buddhism: check.

CRACKED ca. 868 A.D. THE PRINTING PRESS The oldest printed book we know of was made in China around 868 A.D. It was called the Diamond Sutra and was about Buddhism. That's all we know, though - we have no idea who invented the first printing press or when, exactly.


Divine intervention, indeed.

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Food 52 

Ancient Peruvians: Popcorn Pioneers.

CRACKED 4700 B.C. POPCORN People in Peru have been eating popcorn for a really long time - around 6,700 years, to be more specific. It's one of the oldest snacks around.

History / Britannica 

Invented in 1823: Lighter.

CRACKED 1823 LIGHTERS German inventor Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner came up with the first lighter in 1823. It used hydrogen gas and a metal catalyst to create heat and light through a chemical reaction.

Lighter USA 

Ancient Cooling Hack.

CRACKED 400 В.С. REFRIGERATION 2,400 years ago, people in the desert had been using an ancient Persian invention called a Yakhchãl to make ice. It's a huge dome made of mud-bricks with a clever cooling system that allowed people to store ice even in the scorching desert heat.


BAT's attempt at a "healthier" smoking device: too little, too late.

CRACKED 1967 E-CIGARETTES E-cigarettes have been around since the 1960s, when researchers at British American Tobacco created a new type of smoking device, the Ariel. BAT decided to scrap the project so they wouldn't put cigarettes, their main product, in danger.

NCBI / Stat News 

The ancients invented steam engines? Wow.

CRACKED Pivot Directional Nozzle Steam exhaust causes sphere to spin. Steam rises through the tubes. Water vaporized in heated kettle. 62 A.D. THE STEAM ENGINE A Greek inventor named Heron created a steam engine way back in 62 A.D. in Alexandria, Egypt. It was called the Aeolipile. Weirdly, we still don't know what it was used for.

Popular Mechanics 

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