Special Report

Alarm Clocks, Mints and Other Ancient Inventions We Still Use Today

Source: Internet Archive Book Images / Flickr

6. Cataract surgery

Some experts call the surgery to restore vision lost to cataracts one of the most successful medical treatments ever. Couching, the oldest method to treat a cataract, involved dislodging it out of the visual axis with a needle. The procedure, which restored limited but unfocused vision, dates back to 5th centuryB.C. The first modern cataract surgery to involve anesthesia took place in Paris in 1748.

Source: Artaxiad / Wikimedia Commons / US Public Domain

7. Maps

The first maps of geographical places were created in Babylonia on clay tablets around 2300 B.C. They showed hills, valleys, and other natural formations. The oldest known map of the world is considered to be the Babylonian World Map and dates back to 600 B.C. The earliest paper maps were created by ancient Greeks.

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8. Door locks

The very first locks were technically knots made from ropes. Eventually people created locks made from wood and metal. The first types were documented in ancient Egypt some 6,000 years ago. A pin tumbler lock, made from wood, was attached to the door. A horizontal bolt, which could be opened with pins, slid into the post. The key was large, also made from wood, and looked like a toothbrush.

Source: striatic / Flickr

9. High heeled shoes

Today you are not very likely to see men wearing high heel shoes, but men in 10th-century Persia were the reason why the extravagant footwear was designed. Horseback riders wore them so their feet would fit better in the stirrups. Maybe this is why cowboy boots have heels, even though they are not very high.

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10. Alarm clocks

Most people’s alarm clocks today are on their phones. Until a decade ago, they were mechanical with the first models invented in 1787 by Levi Hutchins. But people had found ways to wake up long before this. Famous Greek philosopher Plato is said to have designed the first water alarm clock in 427 B.C. It consisted of two parts. Water dripped from one to another through an outflow funnel for a specifically calculated time. When the second part became full, the water quickly escaped toward the next closed part and forced the contained air to come out whistling through a tube, thus making nose and waking people up.

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