Ancient Egyptian Inventions
When going about your daily routine, have you ever looked around and stopped to wonder who invented some of the products that you use everyday? If you have, you might be surprised to learn that many everyday items have been invented by the Ancient Egyptians. What’s even more amazing is discovering how this civilization came up with its ideas. Following are some of the items that help make our lives a lot easier thanks to the genius of the Ancient Egyptians.
#1. 365 Day Calendar
Many of us would be lost without a calendar to help us remember dental appointments and important meetings, but in ancient Egypt, a calendar could mean the difference between feast and famine. Without a calendar, ancient Egyptians had no way of knowing when the annual flooding of the Nile would begin. Without that knowledge, their entire agricultural system would be put at risk, so a few thousand years before the common era, they started using one [source: Weininger].
#2. Egyptian Labor Organisation
Even though they regarded the pharaoh as a kind of living god, Egyptian workers were not afraid to protest for better working conditions. The most famous example came in the 12th century B.C. during the reign of the New Kingdom pharaoh Ramses III. When laborers engaged in building the royal necropolis at Deir el-Medina did not receive their usual payment of grain, they organized one of the first recorded strikes in history. The protest took the form of a sit-in: The workers simply entered nearby mortuary temples and refused to leave until their grievances were heard. The gamble worked, and the laborers were eventually given their overdue rations.
#3. Egyptian Surgical Instruments
The practical Egyptians seem to have been able to perform some surgical operations – and they have left enough information behind them to tell us a little about it.Archaeologists have found stone carvings in Egypt showing surgical instruments, and there are Egyptian papyri which speak of cautery and surgery.
#4. Egyptian Cosmetics
The ancient Egyptians regarded beauty as a sign of holiness. Everything the ancient Egyptians used had a spiritual aspect to it, including cosmetics, which is why cosmetics were an integral part of their daily lives. In tombs, cosmetic palettes were found buried with the deceased as grave goods which further emphasized the idea that cosmetics were not only used for aesthetic purposes but rather magical and religious purposes.
#5. Egyptian Plow
While historians aren’t entirely certain of where the plow originated, evidence suggests that the Egyptians and Sumerians were among the first societies to employ its use around 4000 B.C [source: Pryor].
#6. Egyptian Paper
No one will deny that the Chinese changed the world forever with the invention of paper around 140 B.C., but what many people don’t know is that the Egyptians had developed an admirable substitute thousands of years earlier from the papyrus plant [source: UCLA].
#7. Egyptian Black Ink
Have you ever wondered if Egyptians used the same ink as we use? Egyptians used black ink and it was made of different materials such as, vegetable gums, water mixed with soot, and a simple reed.[Source: penguisa.blogspot.co.uk]
#8. Egyptian Shoes
Egyptians had developed advanced shoe making skills for their time, and they created sandals woven of reeds or leather that were quite similar in design to many modern sandals. [Source: fashionencyclopedia.com]
#9. Egyptian High Heels Shoes
Ancient Egypt Dating back to 3500 B.C., early depictions of high heels could be seen on ancient Egyptian murals. These murals would depict Egyptian nobilities wearing heels to set them apart from the lower class, who would normally go barefoot. Heeled shoes were worn by both men and women, and most commonly for ceremonial purposes. However, high heels also served a practical purpose for Egyptian butchers who wore them in order to walk over the bloodied bodies of animal carcasses [Source: history-of-heels.weebly.com].
#10. Egyptian Condoms
Condoms were invented in 3000 B.C. in Egypt. Ancient drawings clearly depict men wearing condoms–sometimes made of material that may have been animal hide. It’s not clear however, whether condoms were used for sex or ceremonial dress [source: itthing.com].
#11. Egyptian Hair Wigs / Hair Weaves / Hair Extensions
Wigs appear to have been commonly used in Egypt; Egyptologists normally refer to the majority of hairstyles shown in painting and sculpture as wigs [Source: britishmuseum.org].
#12. Egyptian Hair Dye
Ever wondered why the people in Egyptian tomb paintings all seem to have such lovely lustrous black hair? It turns out that the ancient world used a hair dye. Researchers have found that the Egyptians gelled and dyed their hair, braided it and wore elaborate hair styles including wigs, hair extensions and hair pieces. The embalming process was adapted to preserve the hairstyle [Source: sites.google.com].
#13. Egyptian Shaving & Haircuts
Perhaps the Egyptians were the first ancient people to fuss over their hair, or perhaps not. But either way, they considered hair unhygienic, and the sweltering heat of their homeland made long tresses and beards uncomfortable. Thus, they cut their hair short or shaved their heads and faces regularly. To that end, the Egyptians invented what may have been the first shaving implements, a set of sharp stone blades set in wooden handles, and later replaced those with copper-bladed razors. They also invented the barbering profession. The first barbers made house calls to wealthy aristocrats’ houses but tended to ordinary customers outdoors, seating them on benches underneath shady sycamore trees [Source: science.howstuffworks.com].
#14. Egyptian Hair Comb
The afro comb dates back to ancient Egypt. The oldest comb from the collection is 5,500 years old.
#15. Egyptian Makeup
Egyptians of both sexes wore makeup. Vanity is as old as civilization, and the ancient Egyptians were no exception. Both men and women were known to wear copious amounts of makeup, which they believed gave them the protection of the gods Horus and Ra [Source: History.com].
#16. Egyptian Breath Mints
The next time you peruse the counter in the shop, you should thank the ancient Egyptians for devising a way to conceal the unpleasant aromas our mouths sometimes exude. Just as in modern times, bad breath in ancient Egypt often was a symptom of poor dental health. Unlike us, the Egyptians didn’t gorge on sugary soft drinks and foods that contribute to tooth decay, but the stones they used to grind flour for bread contributed a lot of sand and grit to their diet, which wore down tooth enamel to expose the pulp of the tooth, making it vulnerable to infection [Source: science.howstuffworks.com].
#17 Egyptian Toothpaste
As we mentioned previously, the Egyptians had a lot of trouble with their teeth, in large part because their bread had grit and sand in it, which wore out their enamel. While they didn’t have dentistry, they did make some effort to keep their teeth clean. Archaeologists have found toothpicks buried alongside mummies, apparently placed there so that they could clean food debris from between their teeth in the afterlife [Source: science.howstuffworks.com].
#18. Egyptian Paved Roads
The world’s oldest paved road, a 4,600-year-old highway that linked a basalt quarry in a desolate region of the Egyptian desert to waterways that carried basalt blocks to monument sites along the Nile. The eight-mile road is at least 500 years older than any previously discovered road and is the only paved road discovered in ancient Egypt,The road probably doesn’t rank with the pyramids as a construction feat, but it is a major engineering achievement,”Not only is the road earlier than we thought possible, we didn’t even think they built roads.” [Source: articles.latimes.com]
#19. Egyptian Perfumes
The Ancient Egyptians loved beautiful fragrances. They associated them with the gods and recognised their positive effect on health and well being.Egypt was the world leader in the creation of perfume and was closely associated with the international perfume trade. When Julius Caesar took control of Egypt, he demonstrated this fact to the Roman people by throwing bottles of precious perfume to the crowd during his triumphant return to Rome [Source: ancientegyptonline.co.uk].
#20. Egyptian Scissors
Scissors were invented thousands of years ago (roughly 1500 B.C.) in ancient Egypt. Early scissors have been found in ancient Egyptian ruins. These early scissors were made from one piece of metal (unlike modern scissors, which are made from two cross-blades which pivot around a fulcrum). Modern cross-bladed scissors were invented in ancient Rome (roughly A.D. 100). Early scissors were used by clothes makers and barbers. Scissors were not in common use until much later, in the 1500’s (in Europe) [Source: enchantedlearning.com].
#21. Egyptian Door Lock
Whenever you lock your door at night and slide the deadbolt into place, say a prayer of thanks for the ancient Egyptian invention of door locks. The earliest such device, created around 4000 B.C., basically was a pin-tumbler lock, in which a hollowed-out bolt in the door was connected to pins that could be manipulated by insertion of a key. When the key pushed upward on the pins, they slipped away from the bolt shaft, allowing it to be withdrawn [Source: science.howstuffworks.com].
#22. Egyptian Writing
The ancient Egyptians believed that it was important to record and communicate information about religion and government. Thus, they invented written scripts that could be used to record this information [Source: ancientegypt.co.uk].
#23. Egyptian Astronomy
One of the earliest advanced civilizations, Ancient Egypt, had a rich religious tradition which permeated every aspect of society. As in most early cultures, the patterns and behaviors of the sky led to the creation of a number of myths to explain the astronomical phenomena. For the Egyptians, the practice of astronomy went beyond legend. Huge temples and pyramids were built with specific astronomical orientations. Thus astronomy had both religious and practical purposes. The design on the ceiling of Senenmut’s tomb (Chamber A, Tomb TT353), who was the chief architect and astronomer during the reign of Queen Hatchepsut. (c. 1473-1458 B.C.), is the oldest astronomical presentation known in Egypt (with the possible exception of the Giza pyramids).
#24. Egyptian Medicine
Physicians lived earlier in Ancient Egypt. Imphotep was the physician to King Zozer and lived in about 2600 BC. Imphotep was considered so important that he was, after his death, was worshipped as a god of healing. Egyptian medical thought influenced later traditions, including the Greeks.
#25. Egyptian Mathematics
The early Egyptians settled along the fertile Nile valley as early as about 6000 BC, and they began to record the patterns of lunar phases and the seasons, both for agricultural and religious reasons. Alongside the Babylonians and Indians, the Egyptians are largely responsible for the shape of mathematics as we know it. Their knowledge and techniques passed on to the Greeks, helping the Hellenes to develop their great store of mathematical knowledge.
#26. Egyptian Government
The Egyptian government was heavily centralized, dominated by a single man, the Pharaoh, who was considered a living god – The successor of the Pharaoh was usually his eldest son, who was usually appointed co-regent during his father rule [Source: aldokkan.com].