Pre-17th Century

1589 - Knitting machine

William Lee invents the knitting machine.

1578 - Underwater rowing boat

Mathematician and innkeeper William Bourne designs an underwater rowing boat, covered in waterproof leather. The design is never built.

1493 - Concept of flight

Leonardo da Vinci conceives of flying machines, creating over 100 sketches to illustrate his ideas.

1440 - Printing press

The modern printing press is invented by Johannes Gensfleisch Gutenberg.

1326 - Prototype handgun

A prototype handgun is mentioned in an order for iron bullets.

1185 - Post windmill

The first recorded use of a post windmill, in Yorkshire. The first were of the sunken type.

1150 - Tidal mills

Tidal mills are documented as being in use in England and France.

1050 - Steel

Precursor to the modern Bessemer process that uses partial decarbonization via repeated forging under a cold blast is documented as being in use.

However, steel was known much earlier.

1010 - Human flight

First human flight, according to popular myth. Inspired by the Greek myth of Icarus, Brother Elmer (a monk at Malmesbury Abbey) creates a glider from wood and either linen or parchment. Launching himself from a height of around 18 metres, he flies 200 metres before panicking and crashing, breaking both of his legs.

650 - Windmill

The horizontal windmill is in use in Iran and Afghanistan.

644 - Wind-power

A wind-power machine is developed by the Persians.

62 - Æolipile

The æolipile, a simple steam engine, is invented by Hero of Alexandria.

circa 3000 BC - Potter's Wheel

The potter's wheel is invented.

circa 3300 BC - First sailing ship

The first depiction of a ship using cloth sails, in Egyptian paintings.

circa 4000 BC - First wheeled vehicle

The first depiction of a wheeled-vehicle is on a pot from Southern Poland. It shows a wagon with four wheels and two axles.

circa 6000 BC - First boats

First depictions of canoes, dugouts and rafts in Egyptian rock paintings.