Samples Technology History of Technology

History of Technology

685 words 3 page(s)

As tool-using animals, human beings have always used their technological skills to develop tools that would make their lives easier. The term technology is extremely broad and encompasses a wide range of inventions, going from language and clay items to the telephone and the Internet. For simplicity’s sake, the history of technology is commonly divided into four phases: Prehistory, Greek and Roman history, the Middle Ages, the Mechanical Age, the Electromechanical Age and the Electronic / Information Age.

The history of technology began approximately 2, 5 million years ago, when prehistoric men learned how to give stone a cutting edge, thus creating the first stone tools ever (Toth et al., 2014). With the passage of time, mankind developed new techniques to make increasingly sophisticated tools that were used to carve various materials and give them more complex shapes (e.g. needles, hooks etc.). The discovery of fire played a key role in making it possible for early humans to make ceramics and smelt metals such as bronze and iron. This age was also marked by the emergence of other revolutionary technologies and tools, such as the brick, the loom, the plough, the wheel, spinning, knitting, weaving, mining and harnessing, to name but a few (History World, 2017).

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Greek and Roman history
Between 350 BC and 600 AD, the Greeks and the Romans used the tools and techniques discovered by their ancestors to develop a number of sophisticated machines, such as the pulley, the screw, the screw press (whose pressure allowed Mediterranean people to extract oil from olives), rotary mills, water mills and cement. Their dedication to science and mathematics resulted in the development of roads, bridges and advanced architectural elements such as domes, arches and vaults (History World, 2017).

Middle Ages
The medieval phase of technological evolution was marked by the emergence of vertical wind mills (12th century), the invention and adoption of gunpowder, mechanical clocks, flash locks and pound locks to manage canal systems in such a way prevent differences in water level from obstructing navigation, tide mills and cloth mills (History World, 2017). Around the end of the 13th century, people began using heavy hammers to produce more resistant clothes, thus laying the foundations for the Industrial Revolution.

Mechanical Age
In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press democratized literature and culture, allowing manufacturers to print large quantities of books and manuscripts at once. Domestic clocks, pocket watches, the slide rule, the Pascaline and the difference engine are among the groundbreaking technologies that emerged during this age (Brady & Elkner, 2011).

Electromechanical Age
Between the early 1800s and 1940, a series of technologies such as the telegraph, Morse code, the telephone, the radio, the voltaic battery and the Mark 1 – i.e. the world’s first automatic digital computer – revolutionized the field of telecommunication.

Information Age
With the rise of the Information Age, information and data replaced industrial production as the engine of Western economies. The US Defense Department funded the development of ARPANET, a packet switching network that would then evolve into the Internet. In the 1980s, access to ARPANET was expanded and supercomputing centers were established at various universities across the nation to facilitate interconnectivity. British scientist Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web and commercial ISPs emerged, thus enabling the general public to also access the Internet. The development of personal computers and the Internet has had profound cultural, social, economic and technological implications, revolutionizing the way in which people obtain and share information, communicate, educate themselves, buy, sell, work, interact with one another and perceive the world. As reported by Castells (2014), the development of wireless communication has made it possible for mankind to be almost entirely connected, despite differences in price, bandwidth and efficiency.

  • Brady, W. & Elkner, J. (2011). History of Information Technology. Retrieved from
  • Castells, M. (2014). The Impact of the Internet on Society: A Global Perspective. Retrieved from
  • History World (2017). History of Technology. Retrieved from
  • Toth, N., Blades, B., Wright, R. P., and Killick, D. (2014). Prehistoric technology, AccessScience. McGraw-Hill Education.