Ancient Inventions You Thought Were Modern

By Raza Mehdi

May 2, 2022


Numerous ancient cultures like the Egyptians, Chinese, Arabs, and Indians used perfumes. In 2003, archaeologists in Cyprus discovered the oldest known perfume factory, which dates back over 4,000 years.

Video source: Pexels

When: 2000 BC

Central Heating

The Greeks developed a central heating system called the hypocaust that created floor heat. The system included pipes built beneath the floors and walls, circulating heat from a constantly tended fire under the building.

Image source: Pexels

When: 350 BC


Experts believe that people enjoyed pancakes as far back as 30,000 years ago during the Stone Age. In fact, researchers found pancakes in the stomach of Ötzi the Iceman, whose naturally mummified remains date back over 5,000 years!

Video source: Pexels

When: Stone Age

Eye Makeup

The earliest known remnants of eye makeup have been found dating to predynastic Egypt. The use of black and green makeup around the eyes became common amongst the Egyptian upper classes.

Video source: Pexels

When: 4000 BC

Automatic Doors

Although he likely never implemented them, Greek mathematician Heron of Alexandria designed a set of automatic doors that used a pulley system powered by heat from a fire and weighted with buckets of water.

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When: 1 AD


Although the origins of chocolate have long been traced to Central America as far back as 4,000 years ago, recent archaeological evidence from Ecuador shows that Theobroma cacao seeds were used by the Mayo-Chinchipe people over a thousand years earlier.

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When: 3300 BC


Grooves found in stone structures in Greece suggest that Ancient Greeks used cranes to lift massive stones while building temples. The cranes would have consisted of a set of tongs attached to a rope powered by either humans or donkeys.

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When: 6th century BC


Toothpaste is thought to have been used in Egypt as far back as 5000 BC, but the oldest recorded recipe for toothpaste dates back to the 4th century AD. The paste recipe included rock salt, mint, iris flowers, and black pepper.

Video source: Pexels

When: 5000 BC


The Acta Diurna, which translates to "daily acts", was a series of Roman public notices carved into stone or metal and posted daily in prominent places in 131 BC. Eventually, the format moved to handwritten notices on papyrus, an ancient paper-like material, making it the first newspaper in the world.

Video source: Pexels

When: 131 BC

Vending Machine

Another of Heron's inventions is considered to be the first vending machine, designed to dispense holy water to worshippers. A coin was inserted in a slot, which pushed down a bar to release a precise quantity of water so that no one could take more than their fair share.

When: 62 AD

Video source: Pexels