Can you imagine civilization without bridges, railroads ... or the Internet? Human society is forever changed by various important technologies, but can you name which tech came first?
Our early ancestors may have learned to control fire one million years ago. The wheel? We've only been using it since around 3500 B.C.
We're really, really hoping that you didn't miss this one, because you can't have electric light bulbs (1878) without electricity. Electricity can't be invented because it's a natural phenomenon, but in 1800 an Italian physicist named Alessandro Volta created some of the earliest batteries.
In the 1430s, the printing press revolutionized the way humans shared ideas and beliefs. Penicillin-based antibiotics didn't arrive en masse until 1928, making them virtual infants in the history of groundbreaking inventions.
Cars have been around since the first one-cylinder version made in 1879 by Carl Benz. In 1816, a man named Nicephore Niepce created the first photograph using a piece of paper coated in silver chloride.
Gunpowder changed societies everywhere starting around 1000. Clothes have been around since perhaps 25,000 years ago, and thank goodness, cover up that stuff.
Semiconductor electronics are at the heart of all of our digital marvels, but they didn't arrive until the mid-20th century. Samuel Morse demonstrated the telegraph all the way back in 1838.
Boats, of course, are much simpler and much older than submarines. The first boats floated in about 10,000 B.C., and the first sub may have made its maiden journey in the 1570s in Greece.
In 1918, a German chemist created a new class of nitrogen-based fertilizers that greatly expanded humanity's crop yields. The first refrigeration systems were invented in the mid-1800s and transformed the way we eat.
In the early 20th century, Henry Ford's assembly line altered the way humans build products. First made in the 1880s, steam turbines became a vital new way for people to generate energy.
The first personal computers of the 1970s brought number-crunching to the masses. They helped to enable communications technologies like Bluetooth, which saw its first patent in 1997.
The first TVs began turning people into couch potatoes in the early 20th century. Commercial airlines didn't come along until the World War I era.
The piano isn't really all that old. It was first made back around 1700. The electric motor altered many aspects of life starting in the 1830s.
In 1939, just before the start of World War II, a German scientist developed the first jet airplane engine. The Internet didn't come along until the 1960s.
Airplanes made their historic debut in 1903, when the Wright Brothers sent their rickety contraption into the air above North Carolina. The Germans created the first rocket-powered missiles in the '30's, just in time to terrify the world during World War II.
As part of the Green Revolution of the '30s, combines made it much easier for people to harvest crops. The cotton gin was created in the 1790s and simplified the separation of cotton fibers from detritus like seeds.
The first real sanitation systems (thankfully) began spreading in the mid-1800s, and they immediately had a positive effect on human longevity. That gives you more time to play Flappy Bird on your cell phone (1970s).
Versions of concrete and cement have been used for thousands of years, perhaps dating to 6500 B.C. Humans have only been making steel in large quantities since the mid-19th century.
In 1839, Charles Goodyear made the first truly durable (vulcanized) rubber. But it wasn't until the 1880s that the first car hit the scene.
In 1939, humans began harnessing nuclear fission, both for power generation and later for weapons of mass destruction. Kevlar vests, which can protect against shrapnel and bullets, were invented in 1965.
Humans began making stuff with iron back in 2000 B.C,, and the Iron Age changed a multitude of technologies. Mass-produced steel, which is much harder, didn't alter the metalworking landscape until the mid-19th century.
In the 1840s, anesthesia changed the way humans perceive physical suffering, helping to alleviate pain. Air conditioning relieved some of the suffering of humidity and heat, but that wasn't until the early 20th century.
Paper currency wasn't introduced until the 11th century. Nails, however, arrived in the second millennium, and they provided a fantastic new way for people to build basic shelter.
In the late 1790s, a British doctor named Edward Jenner used the concept of vaccination to protect people against dreaded smallpox, but it took another century for the idea to really grab the medical community. Penicillin wasn't a thing until the 1920s, too late to help soldiers in World War I.
The first telephone came about in 1876, thanks in large part to a patent filed by a guy named Alexander Graham Bell. Radio was invented in 1906 and immediately altered many aspects of human civilization.
In the 1960s, birth control pills altered the social landscape of the planet. Lipitor was introduced in the 1990s and simply allowed you to keep stuffing your face with cheese pizza without immediately collapsing from a heart attack.
The moldboard plow (1797) not only dug up hard soil, it also turned it over, allowing humans to spread agriculture to many new areas. Mechanized clocks were invented centuries earlier, in the 1400s.
Invented in the 1830s, the telegraph made it much easier to communicate over long distances. But the first railroad was built in 1804 and used to transport iron in England.
The first cameras appeared in the early 1800s. Radio and its transcendent communications capabilities weren't introduced until about a century later.
Internal combustion engines combine air with fuel for maximum power, but they didn't emerge until the late 1800s. Steam engines, which were at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, were invented in the 1700s.
In the 1760s, technologies like steam engines propelled the Industrial Revolution, which increased the efficiency of many processes while reducing hard labor. The Green Revolution of the '30s and '40s starred fertilizers and chemicals that helped humans get much more food from their crops.