A lot of the advances in technology have been built upon the advances that came before. Only logical. While it’s true that many visionaries forsee technology decades before it can be created, most inventions build upon what came before.
This brings my wandering mind to The Iron Age. Wikkipedia gives a lovely overview.
Here’s my question- how could anyone make the cognitive leap from a huge astonishingly heavy rounded chunk of meteorite to a very sharp metal blade used for hunting or cutting? Not to insult the intellect of our ancient ancestors, but if you think about it, even the most intelligent person does not exist in a mental vacuum.
They exist using their native intelligence coupled with the accumulated information gleaned over their lifetime. In ancient Egypt where the Iron Age is said to have originated, I am trying to understand how- lacking ANY frame of reference as to metallurgy or what a meteorite was or what it was made of or what the tensile strength MIGHT have been if one were to figure out a way to section off shards of a meteorite- anyone could have thought of using a hunk of stone for a sharpened weapon.
It is one thing to see molten lava and find nearby razor-sharp shards of pumice, suitable for flaying flesh. Ah hah- lava can cool into hard sharp surfaces ! But I struggle with the idea that anyone could see a meteorite and lacking any prior knowledge, think of making tools out of it.
Some of the greatest inventions have been based on need and prior knowledge or the desire to create out of whole cloth using information at hand. The catapult, the wireless, the wheel, etc. But this? I don’t see it. No, I don’t think Space Aliens gifted the Ancients with the power of Iron… but I do struggle to see how anyone could have made the cognitive leap that resulted in crafting Iron.