What took longest to invent?

Sharpened stone flakes took millions of years of experimentation and testing to develop.


The automobile had to have successful parallel developments to be possible:
-smooth surfaced roads (McAdam, late 18th century)
-cheap gasoline (late 19th century)
-rubber tires (early 19th century)
-cutting tools that could handle hardened steel gears (late 19th century).
There were attempts at building steam cars in the early 1800’s-but these were only a limited success.
For people like Henry Ford to scceed, you needed a lot of other stuff to be available.

That would be an excellent offering for a thread concerning the exact opposite question the OP is asking. Not sure what use it is in this thread, though.


Not developed until near the end of the Lower Paleolithic age.

The television remote control. Early cavemen must have stared at the cave wall and wondered why they couldn’t see moving pictures of people delivering distorted news ( Smilodons big danger! Details after sun go sleep) , informercials (NEW IMPROVED OG ROCK not available in caves, 6 rabbit skins shipping and handling), mindless sitcoms ( Thag: Ugh! — Everybody: THAG!), and sports (Dag has rock, throws, hits Ig head!). Yet they realized the cruel irony of such an invention ("Why Drog stand, walk cross cave change wall picture?).

Do you know how many tries it took Gutenberg to work out all the problems, and that he had many precurors who failed? It’s like James Watt - the steam engine was there long before him, he just invented that small detail of the relief valve to keep the thing from exploding.

I thought he invented the valves and condensor that kept the engines from reaching heat equilibrium. Am I wrong about that?

Actually, the Plains Indians used big dogs first, and horses only after the Spaniards introduced them.

Secondly, when the white settlers with their oxen wagon went across the treeless plain, they found out how much trouble wooden wheels on bad roads are, because they keep breaking.

The wheel was invented in ancient Mesapotamia because it had a civilsation that needed to move a lot of stuff and relativly smooth roads on the hard earth. Jared Diamond in “Guns, Germs and Steel” also points out the lack of strong big animals elsewhere, that prevented the development from sledge (like the travoise) being pulled to putting a log under the sledge.

That’s why the Incas and others only had wheels as playthings: because the llamas and Alpakas could carry not more than 50 kg, and not pull anything heavy.


No, we are both right, kind off. here it says:

which is what you said; further down it says

Which is the part I remembered about his improved safety design leading to a commercial breakthrough because people didn’t want to buy an engine with the tendency to blow up.

I humbly submit that whatever is the most recent thing invented is the one that took the longest to invent. It took from the beginning of time until the present moment. You can’t get much longer than that.

Except that’s not what the OP is asking.

it seems that modern horseshoe was invented only during the post-Roman Dark Ages in Europe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe#History . Whereas chariot horses and regular cavalry that could have benefited from it existed a thousand years and more before that time.