Timeline of Inventions

Timeline of inventions - complete with leads to detailed articles and photos. Select the time period that you are interested in, each section will lead to specific years and inventions of that era. 

Middle Ages

middle ages
Inventions of the Middle Ages. Getty Images
Historians differ in their opinions of when the Middle Ages began and ended, most sources define the Middle Ages as an historical period from 500 AD to 1450 AD. While there was a suppression of knowledge and learning, the Middle Ages was a period full of discovery and inventing.

15th Century

15th Century Inventor Leonardo DaVinci
15th Century Inventor Leonardo DaVinci. LOC

The 15th century gave birth to three major events: the beginning of the Renaissance Era (circa 1453) with a return to research and learning after the Dark Ages; the birth of the Age of Discovery with increased exploration and improved naval ships and navigation methods that created new trade routes and trade partners; and the birth of modern printing marked by 15th century master printer Johann Gutenberg's invention of movable type presses (1440) that made the inexpensive mass-printing of books possible.

16th Century

16th Century Map Maker - Gerardus Mercator
16th Century Map Maker - Gerardus Mercator. LOC
The 16th century was a time of unprecedented change, the very beginning of the modern era of science, a time of great exploration, religious and political urmoil, and extraordinary literature.

17th Century

17th Century Inventor - Blaise Pascal
17th Century Inventor - Blaise Pascal. LOC
During the 17th century major changes in philosophy and science took place. Before the 17th century began, science and scientists were not truly recognized. In fact, at first people like the 17th century genius Isaac Newton were called natural philosophers, since there was no concept of the word scientist for most of the 17th century.

18th Century

An 18th Century Invention - James Hargreaves' Spinning Jenny
An 18th Century Invention - James Hargreaves' Spinning Jenny. LOC

The 18th century (also referred to as the 1700s) began the first Industrial Revolution. Modern manufacturing began with steam engines replacing animal labor. The 18th century saw the widespread replacement of manual labor by new inventions and machinery

19th Century

A 19th Century Invemtion - The Daguerreotype
A 19th Century Invemtion - The Daguerreotype. LOC

The 19th century was the age of machine tools - tools that made tools - machines that made parts for other machines, including interchangeable parts. The assembly line was invented during the 19th century, speeding up the factory production of consumer goods.

20th Century

20th Century - the technology, science, and inventions of the 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80, and 90s.

21st Century

Segway Human Transporter
Segway Human Transporter. Segway
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