Top 5 Greatest Inventions Of All Time After the Wheel

The Atlantic has compiled a list of the 50 Greatest Inventions of All Time (after the wheel), presenting a look at the wide-sweeping creations that changed the course of history.

The magazine created the list based on a panel of scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, historians of technology, and others that gave their considerations on the inventions that changed the course of human existence.

The only criteria was that the inventions had to come into use after the wheel (dated to some 6,000 years ago), which of course ruled out fire.

Take a look at the Top 5 inventions of all time below.

#5: Optical Lenses (13th Century)

Reflecting light through glass. Seems simple, right? While lenses were first put into play by the Egyptians, the precision and in-depth crafting of this method took a long time to perfect.

The invention pushed man’s reach even further, into the unseen world via microscopes and telescopes.

#4: Semiconductor Electronics (Mid-20th Century)

These became the building block for the modern industrial world. They have also opened up a door to technological advancements that continue to astound today.

#3: Penicillin (1928)

What primary school student isn’t taught about the life-saving discovery of penicillin?

Though not widely used and distributed until after World War II, this modern day miracle cured disease and prevented widespread deaths.

#2: Electricity (Late 19th Century)

While the notion of electricity had been around for hundreds of years before, the ability to harness that power came later. As did the idea of electric engineering.

Sure, the use of candles dropped, but electricity not only enabled light to reach formerly dark spaces, but sparked a wave of energy use that powered nations.

#1: The Printing Press (1430s)

The Atlantic ranks this No. 1 because, as one of their experts puts it, “knowledge began freely replicating and quickly assumed a life of its own.”

When your great-grandchildren are adults, they will wonder about these things and remember when you told them that newspapers used to be printed on them. Newspapers? they’ll ask, confused.

Check out their full list of 50 Greatest Inventions Ever here.

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