15 Amazing Lost Technologies the World Didn’t Know About

The world has never been so technologically advanced that we can do almost everything at the tip of our fingers. Life has drastically changed since the advent of modern technology and we’ve become dependent since then. From communication, transportation to doing basic everyday activities modern technology is always on our side. But despite having too much technology today, we’ve also lost some great ones along the way. Most people don’t even know hat such things even existed. These lost technologies were so way ahead of its time that it was mind blowing that these things were invented during its time. Some of these amazing inventions were rediscovered and dumb founded the scientists of our time. They thought they were ahead but someone else was. There were even some inventions that they have yet to figure out its use. Want to know what these lost gems are? Check out this gallery of amazing lost technologies that we can no longer use.

15. Flexible Glassflexible glass

Flexible glass is a legendary lost invention from the time of Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar’s reign. The craftsman who invented the technique brought a drinking bowl made of flexible glass before the Emperor who threw it to the floor, where the bowl dented rather than shattering. The inventor then easily fixed it with a small hammer. After he swore to the Emperor that he alone knew the technique of manufacture, Tiberius had the man beheaded, fearing that the material could cut the value of gold and silver.

14. Damascus Steeldamascus steel

Damascus Steel is a type of steel used for producing sword blades in the Middle East. These swords have distinctive patterns of banding which are comparable to flowing water. People have claimed that these blades were so tough that it is able to slice through rocks and even cut other blades in half. It also has given rise to many legends, like the ability to cut through a rifle barrel or cut a hair falling across the blade. How cool is that?! The material used for forging the weapons is known to be imported wootz steel from Sri Lanka, but the process of making the swords and knives is what actually makes them unique and incredibly strong. Not only that, but it has been known that the blade forged this way was also extremely flexible. The particular process for forging Damascus steel appears to have disappeared sometime around 1750 AD.

13. Starlitestarlite

Starlite is an indestructible heat-resistant plastic invented by amateur chemist Maurice Ward during the 1970s and 80s after seeing a plane burst into flames. In 1993, it received much publicity thanks to the show Tomorrow’s World. The material was tested to withstand as much as 10,000 degrees Celsius and could even survive blasts 75 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb. NASA got very interested in getting hold of the material but Ward refused to reveal how he made it as he didn’t want other people making money off of his invention. In 2011, he died along with his secret.

12. Stradivari Violinsstradivarius violin

Violins are probably one of the earliest stringed instruments used. There something about these instruments the exudes classic elegance and nobility. Back in the 1700s, the Stradivari violins were very much sought after because of its amazing sound and quality that no has and most likely will ever be able to replicate. The process of making these one-of-a-kind violins is a closely guarded family secret. It was only the patriarch Antonio Stradivari and his sons, Omobono and Francesco who knew the secret. Sadly, after the patriarch and his sons died, the secret died with them. Now, there are thought to be only 600 of the instruments left and each is considered to being worth millions.

11. Mithridate

Mithridates also known as Mithridiatum, Mithridatum or Mithridaticum refers to any generally all-purpose antidote. It is an ancient semi-mythical remedy that contains as much as 65 ingredients that are widely used as an antidote for poisoning. It was one of the most complex and sought after drug during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In the Middle Ages, the concoction was used as part of a regimen to ward off potential threats of plague. The drug has been used continually for centuries particularly in Italy and France. The updated recipe is called theriac and was well-known during the 19th century. Stories have it that even its inventor wasn’t able to commit suicide by poisoning because he has ingested the concoction over the years. Sadly, the recipe was lost centuries ago.

10. Greek Firegreek fire

Greek fire was a weapon developed back in the 11th century used by the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. It was typically used in naval battles to great effect as it could continue burning while floating on water. The Greek fire is a primitive form of napalm. It provided a great technological advantage and was key to many Byzantine military victories, most notably the salvation of Constantinople from two Arab sieges securing the Empire’s survival. The technology behind this weapon is not completely alien, modern militaries have long used this technology but the closest counterpart of this wasn’t perfected until the early 1940s. The technology for this has long been lost, and despite researchers have tried to recreate the concoction used to make it they have not fully succeeded.

9. Apollo Space Programapollo space program

The Apollo program or also known as the Project Apollo was the third U.S. human spaceflight program carried out by NASA. It accomplished the landing of the first humans on the moon. The program was first conceived during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration as a three-man spacecraft to follow the one-man Project Mercury which put the first Americans in space, Apollo was then later dedicated to President John F. Kennedy’s national goal of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth”. But interestingly much of the technology used at the time has been lost. This is because much has died out with the previous researchers, as well as little physical records being made at the time.

8. Sloot Coding Systemsloot coding system

Jan Sloot the Dutch electrician claimed that he developed a data compression technique that was way ahead of his time. Apparently, even up to now there is still nothing that comes close to his invention. Not even the computer forerunners were able to match this Dutch electrician’s invention. Because of his brilliant invention, he was due to sign a deal with Philips. Unfortunately, he died the day before he was due to sign a deal with Philips and the disc that contained his work mysteriously vanished. Or did it?

7. Roman Cementroman cement

The modern concrete wasn’t developed until the 1780s. Today it is a simple mixture of cement, water, sand, and rocks that is the most widely used building material in the world. But the mixture developed in the 18th century wasn’t the first time concrete was invented. Throughout antiquity, concrete was already widely used by the Persians, Egyptians, Assyrians, and Romans. The Romans specifically used it extensively, and they were the first one to perfect the recipe by mixing burnt lime with crushed rocks and water. Their masterpiece allowed them to build many of their timeless structures, such as the Pantheon, Roman baths, the Colosseum, and aqueducts. It’s much sturdier than the modern cement. Their recipe was lost during the descent into the Dark Ages, but the reason remains a mystery. The most popular theory is that the recipe was a trade secret among stonemasons and that the method for making cement and concrete died along with those who knew it.

6. The Library of Alexandrialibrary of alexandria

Although it is not considered a technology, the famed Library of Alexandria is valued so much that its destruction meant lost knowledge forever. The library was founded in Alexandria, Egypt in 300 B.C. and marked the first serious attempt to gather as much information about the outside world. The size of its collection has been estimated to have one million scrolls. Due to the vast varieties available, the library attracted some of the brilliant minds during its time. Legend even has it that visitors of the library would have to surrender upon entering so that a copy could be made for storage. Sadly, the library and all it contents burned sometime around the first or second century A.D. Scholars are still uncertain how the fire started but there were some scrolls that were salvaged and kept for safe keeping. We’ll never know what lost knowledge we missed from all those burned scrolls.

5. Silphiumsilphium

Silphium was a plant heavily used during antiquity as a seasoning and as a medicine. It was the essential item of trade and was so critical to the economy that most of their coins bore an image of the plant. It was the Romans’ herbal wonder drug and was used as one of the earliest forms of birth control, used to treat warts, fever, indigestion, and a whole lot of other ailments. But it’s contraceptive ability was the reason why it was a highly valued substance in the Roman world. If used correctly, it would even be enough to terminate a pregnancy. The particular genus of the plant only grows in one area along the Mediterranean in North Africa. Its scarcity, combined with the overwhelming demand, an over harvesting, most likely drove the plant into extinction.

4. Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera Mechanism is a bronze machine that was discovered by divers off the coast of the Greek island in the early 1900s. The mechanism has a series of 30 gears, cranks, and dials that could be manipulated in order to chart the astronomical positions of the sun, moon and other planets. Its purpose is still not fully known, and researchers have been puzzled for years. But the consensus seems that this mechanism was the earliest invention of an “analog computer.” The sophistication and precision seen in the design of the mechanism suggest that it was not the only device of its kind. The existence of other devices like the Antikythera Mechanism doesn’t appear on any historical record until the 14th century, which would mean that the technology was lost for nearly 1400 years. The reason still remains a mystery.

3. Telharmoniumtelharmonium

The Telharmonium or Dynamophone was an early electrial organ created in 1897. It was very popular and one of the biggest instruments ever built during its time, with crowds of people gathering just to hear a recital. Thaddeus Cahill, the inventor eventually constructed three versions of it, one of which weighed up to 200 tons and could fill an entire room. Despite its success, the instrument consumed massive energy that strained the early power grids and it had a price tag of a whopping $200,000. It was too expensive to build on a large scale.

2. Nepenthenepenthe

The Greeks were considered one of the most sophisticated people during antiquity. Their society was advanced compared to other civilizations at that time. One area they are well-known is in the field of medicine. They were known to treat the bereaved with Nepenthe, an ancient anti-depressant also known to “chase away sorrow.” The plant is frequently mentioned in Greek literature so some claim that it could be fictional. While there are others who believed that it was real and widely used in ancient Greece. It was said that Nepenthe originated in Egypt and its effects have led many to compare it to opium or laudanum as “a drug of forgetfulness.” It’s possible that this plant is still around today but modern science probably hasn’t identified its modern equivalent so for now it still remains a mystery.

1. Cloudbustercloudbuster

The cloudbuster is a device that was invented by Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian psychoanalyst during the 1950s. The cloudbuster is a pseudoscientific device designed to produce rain by manipulating what he called the “orgone energy” present in the atmosphere. The device was intended to be used similarly to a lightning rod by focusing the metal tube in the sky in order to create rain. The machine was proven to work when the inventor was able to bring to a farm in 1953. Unfortunately, when the FDA saw that the machine actually worked, they immediately destroyed all Reich’s work and imprisoned him in fear that his invention would bring danger with people being able to manipulate the climate.

How amazing were these lost technologies? Too bad they got lost in time. Humanity could have benefitted from these things big time. Also the inventions of ordinary people who passsed away tha suddenly disappeared is very suspicious. Especially these things have great potential to benefit millions of people. Something smells fishy (insert conspiracy). Well, whatever the reason may be these technologies will forever be gone not unless another brillint mind creates another or a better one. What do you think?

Advertisement

What Others Are Reading