Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Greatest Invention in human history.

  • Please log in to reply
64 replies to this topic

#1 MacAstro126

MacAstro126

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 13
  • Joined: 23 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Brisbane, Australia

Posted 22 May 2021 - 08:43 AM

I would suggest that the most influential human invention since the wheel is the vacuum pump.

Our knowledge of existence can be divided into before the ability to make an evacuated volume and after this was achieved.

 

What do you think?



#2 MikeHC8

MikeHC8

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 201
  • Joined: 09 Dec 2018
  • Loc: San Diego

Posted 22 May 2021 - 08:48 AM

I would say fire was the big one, as for the wheel I would agree but it did not come until later and some places on earth did not have the wheel yet until others showed up.  North America is one Place.



#3 SandyHouTex

SandyHouTex

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,173
  • Joined: 02 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Houston, Texas, USA

Posted 22 May 2021 - 08:56 AM

toilet paper?


  • rgsalinger likes this

#4 Cali

Cali

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,406
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2018
  • Loc: Bay Area

Posted 22 May 2021 - 08:57 AM

The first vacuum pump was invented in 1650 by Otto von Guericke, and was preceded by the suction pump, which dates to antiquity.

 

LINK

 

Now let us see. What was invented between the invention of the wheel and 1650 ...? 

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 22 May 2021 - 09:01 AM.


#5 Cali

Cali

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,406
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2018
  • Loc: Bay Area

Posted 22 May 2021 - 09:05 AM

toilet paper?

Nice try but(t) the first modern commercially available toilet paper in the United States was offered by Joseph Gayetty in 1857.

 

When questioned, my wife somehow recited his name and the year without hesitation. Next up, cotton balls.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 22 May 2021 - 09:12 AM.


#6 Astrojensen

Astrojensen

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,479
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Bornholm, Denmark

Posted 22 May 2021 - 09:07 AM

The printing press.

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


  • J A VOLK, jim kuhns, jagriesser and 8 others like this

#7 Astrola72

Astrola72

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,179
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2014
  • Loc: Maryland, USA

Posted 22 May 2021 - 09:09 AM

As far as actual influence on human history, as much as it pains me to say it, gunpowder.



#8 jagriesser

jagriesser

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 01 Sep 2008
  • Loc: Atlanta, GA USA

Posted 22 May 2021 - 09:13 AM

The steam engine.  Heralded in the Industrial Age the mass exodus of people to cities from the agrarian countryside and led to the eventual development of the internal combustion engine, the automobile, global climate change, and...?,  



#9 David I

David I

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 133
  • Joined: 07 Mar 2020
  • Loc: Illinois

Posted 22 May 2021 - 09:15 AM

Coffee  The earliest coffee-drinking was in southern Arabia in the middle of the 15th century in Sufi shrines where coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed in a manner similar to how it is now prepared for drinking.


  • jim kuhns, Astrola72 and Tangent like this

#10 Stellar1

Stellar1

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,555
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2018
  • Loc: Juuuust outside Toronto

Posted 22 May 2021 - 09:24 AM

Printing press hands down.


Edited by Stellar1, 22 May 2021 - 09:34 AM.

  • jim kuhns, Astrojensen and DSOGabe like this

#11 72Nova

72Nova

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 218
  • Joined: 22 Feb 2020
  • Loc: Coachella Valley, CA

Posted 22 May 2021 - 09:34 AM

I’m going with electricity  electric power generation with honorable mention to the compass

 

Edited for clarity smile.gif


Edited by 72Nova, 22 May 2021 - 05:27 PM.

  • Cali and Stellar1 like this

#12 Richard O'Neill

Richard O'Neill

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,676
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2014

Posted 22 May 2021 - 09:43 AM

Hands down, sliced bread! Just look at what fast food did with it!


  • Jon Isaacs, BoriSpider, jim kuhns and 3 others like this

#13 MisterDan

MisterDan

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 784
  • Joined: 20 Jun 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 22 May 2021 - 09:54 AM

Neither fire nor electricity was invented.  AC power, or generator? - okay.  Forge, kiln, or oven? - sure.

 

Agriculture.

Language.

Flip a coin.


  • lee14 likes this

#14 Sandy Swede

Sandy Swede

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 802
  • Joined: 23 Feb 2018
  • Loc: Delaware beaches

Posted 22 May 2021 - 10:21 AM

I was going to go with the printing press and then I recalled the book 'One Second After' wherein the U.S. was plunged back to the 1850's after a smuggled short-range missal with a nuke was detonated approx 100 miles over the mid-U.S., generating an EMP.  Think about how your life, and society in general, would change if the electric power grid was destroyed.  In the book, the first to die are the diabetics because there is no refrigeration for insulin.  Can sewage treatment plants operate without electricity?  Of course, most computers are toast in this scenario.  Would not want to live in a major metropolitan area if that ever happened. 



#15 robbieg147

robbieg147

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 990
  • Joined: 23 Mar 2020
  • Loc: Kent, England

Posted 22 May 2021 - 10:31 AM

I probably would have said the wheel but as you said since the wheel for me it would be the toilet drainage system, must have saved millions upon millions of lives and massively improved peoples standard of living.



#16 06AwzIyI

06AwzIyI

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 239
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2020

Posted 22 May 2021 - 10:47 AM

You know, the thing we're all using right now...the internet.
  • dnrmilspec likes this

#17 Otto Piechowski

Otto Piechowski

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,459
  • Joined: 20 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Lexington, KY

Posted 22 May 2021 - 10:55 AM

Infrared optical screws

#18 EJN

EJN

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,017
  • Joined: 01 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Between eigenstates

Posted 22 May 2021 - 12:26 PM

Beer


  • DeanS and Stellar1 like this

#19 FloridaFocus

FloridaFocus

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 329
  • Joined: 26 May 2016
  • Loc: Gainesville, FL

Posted 22 May 2021 - 02:05 PM

It's all relative. I live in Florida, so for me... air conditioning.

Seriously, though... electricity (I mean, my A/C wouldn't work without it).
  • jim kuhns likes this

#20 MacAstro126

MacAstro126

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 13
  • Joined: 23 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Brisbane, Australia

Posted 22 May 2021 - 04:52 PM

Some worthy contenders, indeed, and some I suspect 'tongue in cheek'...

 

Let me elaborate my reasoning...

There was a time before the wheel(and axel)... then with the wheel transport improved along with mechanical devices(screw threads, clocks, winches, etc.) leading to lathes(which enabled the application of steam to motive engines). This replaced manpower/animalpower, bringing about the industrial revolution...

There was a concept of the vacuum and early examples utilizing condensation, but the vacuum pump(first improved to a useful device by Robert Hooke) enabled the creation of an evacuated volume(something not found in nature and adapted, like fire or steam, or even electricity) which resulted in a 'step-function' in our ability to scientifically investigate the fundamental properties of matter/materials, leading to the current ongoing era of modern science and society.

Think of all the things that could not have been done(and that which we do now) without the use of a vacuum, and hence the vacuum pump?

 

Have I gained any colleagues to my side of the fence...?

 

Cheers, Neil.



#21 Keith Rivich

Keith Rivich

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,048
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2011
  • Loc: Cypress, Tx

Posted 22 May 2021 - 07:47 PM

My two inventions:

The spear and reinforced bricks

 

Developments:

Writing and printing press

 

Uses:

Fire and aquaducts

 

As a teenager:

Front hooking brassier and Clear Eyes™

 

As an old guy:

Front hooking brassier and reading glasses


  • Old Man and 72Nova like this

#22 DSOGabe

DSOGabe

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,257
  • Joined: 02 Aug 2019
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 23 May 2021 - 05:52 PM

Wheel and written language


  • garret likes this

#23 ECP M42

ECP M42

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,194
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2021
  • Loc: central Europe 45°N

Posted 23 May 2021 - 07:30 PM

Too many come to mind: clothes, shoes, ropes, knife and all hunting utensils (slings, bows, arrows, spears, etc.) and the various basic containers (cups, bottles, sacks-bags- backpacks, etc.). Writing and printing have already been said, so I add the musical instruments and the music, the colors, the pencils and the brushes, but also the swing, the hammock and the rocking chair ...

 

... then, the house, the stove and the fireplace, the soft bed with clean sheets, the chair, the table and the ceramic plates, the pasta, the bread, the wine, the beer, the salami, the ham, the cheeses, ice cream, apple pie, sour cherry tart, tiramisu, carbonara, barbecue ... the ladder, the umbrella, the water tap, the light switch, the light bulb, the bicycle and binoculars ... but also soap, washing machine, toilet and toilet paper!

 

But without the vacuum machine, I don't know ... 



#24 Nick Dangerr

Nick Dangerr

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 64
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2021
  • Loc: Marietta, GA

Posted 23 May 2021 - 07:38 PM

Not sure it is an invention compared to current answers, but agriculture. Allowed the specialization that eventually lead to all the inventions listed.


  • Second Time Around likes this

#25 MisterDan

MisterDan

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 784
  • Joined: 20 Jun 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 23 May 2021 - 08:03 PM

Neil did specify "since the wheel," and I admittedly missed that provision when I first noted agriculture and/or language as my "top two."  Alas, they are disqualified by the "since-the-wheel" criterion.  Even though the wheel was invented/developed later than most would imagine, it's still preceded by plenty of crucial inventions - many of which are so ingrained, universal, and normal, that they are very often overlooked.  (Pottery, anyone? The boat?)

 

Since the wheel?  Yes, Neil, I can definitely recognize the vacuum pump as a tremendous and critical step (or jump) along our technological path.  I'm not convinced of its "supremacy," but I'm open to the possibility (however difficult such a consensus might be), and I would definitely include it among the most important - both then and now.

 

Cheers and best wishes.

Dan


Edited by MisterDan, 23 May 2021 - 08:38 PM.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics