Then and Now: 7 Useful Technologies That Have Evolved Over Time

Did you know more than 3 billion people own a smartphone? It’s amazing how quickly technology spreads, especially when you consider how smartphones only launched in the market a decade ago. That said, their humble phone beginnings go as far back as 1876.

What other technology do we have today that existed in some form centuries ago? We’ve come so far with technological advances and breakthroughs. Let’s take a look at old innovations that evolved with time and we are still using now.

Check out our list of 7 useful technologies that have come a long way from the time of their invention.

1. Computers

If the computers from the 1970s didn’t evolve, we would need an entire room to house an entire computer. Thanks to the evolution of the personal computer in the 1980s, we’ve come a long way.

Now, we put computers in everything. A telephone plus a computer equals a smartphone. A computer chip integrated into a home appliance is a thermostat.

Computers make anything possible now. With the help of the internet, it gives us access to information from all over the world.

2. Engines

Advancements in transportation technology wouldn’t occur without these. It began with the steam engine. The first practical use of external combustion was in 1698 in the form of a steam-powered water pump.

James Watt later perfected the steam engine in the late 16th century. The addition of fuel during the industrial revolution resulted in a historic technological leap. The engine improved further later, creating new opportunities for better transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture.

The 20th century gave rise to the innovation of the internal combustion engine. This allowed for the advancement of contemporary cars and planes. Now, Elon Musk’s company is revolutionizing this technology to create electric cars.

3. Telephone

Did you know that if Alexander Graham Bell’s family didn’t have problems with speech and hearing, the telephone wouldn’t exist? This prompted Bell to research and experiment with the transmission of sound. In some way, the telephone was an accidental invention.

It then evolved to the candlestick phone to the rotary phone to the wireless phone. In 1993, IBM created the first smartphone, Simon. From there, companies continued to develop this tech further.

Could you believe Bell invented the telephone around 150 years ago, in 1876? Now, smartphones are more than useful gadgets; they’re vital to our daily lives. No doubt that this piece of technology can still go a long way.

4. Semiconductors

Semiconductors began the modern digital age. Although, they aren’t as appreciated as bigger, more complicated technological devices. If it wasn’t for these tiny tools, we wouldn’t have many computers.

Bell Laboratories first developed semiconductor devices in 1947. They control the amount and flow of current through circuit boards. Inventors installed semiconductors in radios before they used them in other electronics too.

Now we use semiconductors in almost every electronic device. Some devices that use semiconductors include microprocessors, transistors, and memory chips.

5. Cars

Have you ever wondered how life would be if cars were not invented? It’d take us days to travel from one city to the next. Not only that, our advancements in technology and cities would have very different designs.

Did you know that Karl Benz created the first motorcar in 1885? With the invention of the motorcar, transportation became easier. Within a couple of centuries, the design evolved and became very different.

Not only that, thanks to cars, other similar vehicles came about. We use a variety of trucks, vans, buses, and more. Companies are also inventing ways to make cars last as well as how to make them safe.

6. Printing Press and Printers

It all began in 1439 with Johannes Gutenberg. The first printing press used types molded on lead. This invention allowed people to mass-produce books.

Before the internet era, printing presses were the main publishers of information.  It sparked the Age of Enlightenment. Religious knowledge and scientific revelations got disseminated.

As time passed, printing presses became smaller and electricity-powered. This technology developed further with the emergence of 3D printers. Although companies are still developing it and the material for its ink, 3D printers are already very popular and useful.

7. Optical Lenses

The ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians first developed optical lenses. Ancient Greeks helped with theories of light and vision. Now, optical lenses are tools placed in many modern instruments and technology.

Without the evolution of optical lenses, we wouldn’t have TV, Google glasses, or the first photo of a black hole. Photography using drones wouldn’t exist without them. Even the invention of CDs and DVDs wouldn’t occur without this innovation.

8. Bonus: Other Useful Technologies

Some ancient timepieces include water clocks, sundials, and hourglasses. Later, humans used mechanical timepieces like antique pocket watches and early wrist watches. In the digital, we have digital watches too.

Yet, it seems that the analog watch is a timeless and more reliable way of keeping time. Some people prefer mechanical gadgets while others favor non-traditional watches. Even so, analog watches keep up with the times with their modern designs.

Artificial light is something you’d expect would get invented at some point. Still, many people take this technological advance for granted. If not for these, we would still have to rely on oil lamps, candles, and daylight to do almost everything.

Humphry Davy founded the carbon arc lamp. It initiated the invention of electric lights. Thanks to these people, we conquered the dangers of and our disadvantages in the night.

Now, we have LED lights and smart lights. Not only that, we’re using light for function and aesthetic. For example, astronomy museums use light shows to educate visitors about space. With the right placement of lights to create an ambiance, small businesses flourish.

Modern Technology Can Still Evolve Further

That’s our list of the 7 useful technologies.

If you noticed, some took centuries to evolve and others took only decades. With enough time, we can expect most of these and many other techs to evolve even more.

Do you want to know how you can have a spa day without leaving the comfort of home? Have you ever entertained the idea of getting a spa in your bathroom? Check out our other posts to discover the answers today!

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