As a society, we are very lucky to live in the time period that we do. While things might seem terrible with climate change, armed conflict and pandemics, we really need to take a moment to appreciate the things we do have. Running water, central heating, food choices beyond compare. Most people would say we’re really living in the golden age of comfort, but what if we’re not? What if all the things we consider so revolutionary today has actually been around for ages before us? Today you’re going to read about ten such things that are far older than you may think.
1:People Had Flushing Toilets 4,000 Years Ago
Pooping is the great equalizer of humanity. Rich or poor, powerful or meek. You’ll have to poop and it’s going to stink. Even today throughout large portions of the world, some countries still struggle with the logistics of waste management and keeping their communities safe from the disease and vermin that come from not properly disposing of their poops.
But if you look at the civilization of the Indu River Valley you’ll find something interesting. Dating all the way back to 2,000BC, archaeologists have found that not only do the homes in the area have the remnants of private toilets, they also sported piping and septic tanks to carry away and store their waste until a worker could come and clean them out. Four thousand years ago and they were working with an albeit crude yet effective way to keep their towns free from the looming menace of poo.
2:Oreo’s Predate Chocolate Chip Cookies By A Lot
Homemade chocolate chip cookies are a staple in American homes. Nothing is more classic and timeless in the baking world than a fresh chocolate chip made with love, and in the minds of most people, they couldn’t imagine a world in which chocolate chip cookies weren’t a thing. For a whole generation of kids though, that was a matter of fact.
You see, the first chocolate chip cookie recipe wasn’t published until 1938, less than a hundred years ago. While that might not be the most shocking thing to hear, the mass produced sleeves of Oreo’s you see on store shelves today had been in production since 1912, 26 whole years before the first chocolate chip cookie was baked. Such a huge gap of time that people grew up and had kids of their own with only Oreo’s as their cookie of choice. Barbaric.
3:Touch Screen Displays Existed With Black And White TVs
Pretty much everyone has a touch screen computer in some form these days. Whether it be a tablet or smart phone, you’re using your fingers to interact with it instead of pressing buttons. While public touch screens probably aren’t the best thing in society right now with the pandemic raging, it feels like a fairly new thing in the public conscious. Of course, that isn’t the case.
The first touch screen was actually patented all the way back in 1965, more than half a century ago. Called a capacitive touchscreen, it used disruptions in the screen’s electric charge to read where a finger was making contact with it and input it as a command. Amazingly enough, this technology is still used in most smartphone and tablets today. It’s more refined with things like multi touch displays, but the concept is still the same.
4:First And Foremost We Need Beer
It’s not a stretch to imagine that beer is an old creation. Most stories throughout history involve characters getting drunk and partying to avoid the crushing reality that life was at the time, and who could blame them? They didn’t have touch screens and toilets yet. Beer is so much older than you’d think, though. So much older in fact, humanity figured out how to get drunk before they figured out how to properly process bread, depending on your definition of it.
While evidence exists that humans were at the very least grinding up wheat and seeds 20,000 years ago, it isn’t known exactly what people were doing with them. The first real known recipe for something similar to bread popped up around 1,000BC in Egypt. That’s more than 4,000 years after the first recipe for beer was written. 4,000 years of people getting sloshed and eating grains before someone decided to try a little harder.
5:The First Contacts REALLY sucked
Eyeglasses have been around for a long time and there’s no stretch there, but you might be surprised to hear that eye contacts were first produced all the way back in the late 1800’s for general use. That might be confusing to you since plastics wouldn’t be in mass production for quite a while still, so how could contacts exist so early? The answer, horrifyingly, was that they were made of glass. And because there was no way to get the proper shape of the iris, the glass contact had to cover the entire eye.
Since glass doesn’t breath well, this meant that anyone wearing a contact was in constant pain as their eyes literally suffocated beneath the glass. For decades people would take cocaine eye drops to dull the pain of their contacts before better, thinner materials came into use. It really makes you wonder, why not just wear eyeglasses?