The Greatest Inventions in History

List your picks, and why.
These are the inventions and developments that made our civilization possible.

I’ll start out with three.

  1. Fire. Enables humans to survive in freezing climates, cook, and work metal.

  2. The wheel. You can have a civilization without it, but only at a primitive level. Makes transportation of people and goods possible.

  3. Written language. History itself could not begin until the dead could communicate with the living and pass along all they have learned.

There are many others to list, but why should I have all the fun?


Printing press

Beer again.

  1. Clothes
  2. Manmade shelter (houses, tents, etc.)
  3. Sliced Bread

Oh, and the Internet, cause we all know it’ll get mentioned sooner or later. Might as well be sooner.


Fire wasn’t an invention, it was a discovery.


Written language, may be the most important but lets face it due to this little discovery we also have to deal with things like Paul Ruebens Auto-biography.

Iron, steam engines, shake and bake.

Many Washingtonians will agree with me on this particular day that refrigeration and air conditioning are fine inventions indeed.

I knew someone would mention this. True, fire as a natural phenomenom was a discovery. However, the ability to create fire AT WILL and use it as a tool is, in my opinion, an invention.


I would tend to agree with you. However, The ability to create fire at will was not in the OP. If it was, the nitpick would not have been mentioned. :slight_smile:

I liked Mel Brooks’ 2000 Year Old Man one-word answer, ** “Onan.” ** You can figure out for yourselves what the invention was.

The chimney.

According to Donnie Darko, antibiotics.

Birth control.

bunt cake.

Harnessing electricity.

Splitting the atom.

You know, if you leave that stuff alone for long enough, it’s kind of fun to drink it.

As much as I love technology, I think social inventions have been the most important. Laws, property rights, democracy. These are harder to pin down to one individual or time.

Mathematics - without it there’d be no computers, CDs, etc.