Top 10 Most Influential Inventions from Egypt

When we think of Egypt, pyramids, mummies, pharaohs, and sphinxes are some of the things that come up to our mind. Egypt consists of a rich history tracing all the way back to over 10,000 BCE - its Dynastic Period starting at 3,150 BCE with the rise of Ancient Egyptian civilization. What made Egyptian civilization so successful is that it came from the familiarization of the Nile River and its predictable conditions, thus giving an abundance of crops due to its annual flooding and rich fertile soil. The Old Kingdom (or also known as the Age of the Pyramids) also marked a significant milestone to both architecture, cultural, and technology advances that changed the rest of Egyptian history. Along with Mesopotamia, it's no doubt that Egypt contributed a vast collection of technology and inventions - some of that we use today. From hieroglyphics to mathematics, this list presents the top 10 most influential inventions from Egypt.
The Top Ten
1 Hieroglyphics

Also known as Ancient Egyptian writing, along with the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians invented writing in the medium of pictograms and symbols, which were used to convey information about an event, person, or object. However, this was of limited use. Later on, the Egyptians developed different ways to communicate, including logograms and other elements used to describe abstract things.

Hieroglyphics were a combination of logograms, phonograms, ideograms, and other symbols. It was believed that Egyptian writing was dedicated to the Egyptian god Thoth, the inventor of languages and writing. This strong medium of communication allowed the Egyptians to convey information through stories, literature, knowledge, and documentation, helping us understand how Egyptian society worked.

2 Mathematics

While the Mesopotamians developed their fair share of mathematics, Egyptians also developed their own number system, which revolved around arithmetic, mostly for calculating fractions and multiplication, tracing back to approximately 3000 BC. Although they weren't as abstract as the Greeks, they were the first to solve quadratic equations.

The ancient Egyptians also knew some of the math that's used daily in the modern world, including algebra, geometry, and calculating the surface area and volume of objects. Egyptian mathematics was based on the number ten, which had its own symbols for tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, etc. Additionally, Egyptian multiplication, with the emphasis on the power of two, is surprisingly linked to the same binary system used in modern computers, with values either being doubled or their first number being placed back into it.

Without their clever usage of mathematics, the Egyptians wouldn't have built the pyramids.

3 Clocks

The Egyptians were one of the earliest people to invent clocks, in the form of obelisks, and one of the earliest to split whole days into hours. It's reported that obelisks were built as early as 3500 BCE. The moving shadows around the obelisk were used to determine the time of day, hence their effectiveness as shadow clocks.

Not only did obelisks play a role in telling time, but they also played a major role in religion, particularly in the building of temples and honoring the gods. Later on, starting in 1500 BCE, the Egyptians invented a specialized shadow clock, which more accurately indicated the daytime and divided the nighttime into fifty parts, including the twilight hours of both morning and evening.

4 Papyrus

The Egyptians were the first people to use papyrus as a medium for writing, with the material first being produced from papyrus plants around 4000 BCE. The durability of papyrus stood out exceptionally from other writing materials due to Egypt's rather dry climate. It was, in other words, the "paper" of the Egyptians.

The process of making papyrus involved cutting the plant stem into strips, placing them side by side on a hard surface, and soaking them to rot. They were then glued together, beaten into a piece of paper, and dried, after which they were polished with stone or other hard materials.

5 Toothpaste

You can also credit the Egyptians for being majorly responsible for maintaining dental hygiene. The creation of toothpaste dates back to 5000 BCE and was composed of rock salts, pumice, burnt eggshells, and ox hooves. This was effective for hygiene as Egyptians struggled with cleaning their teeth and often had cavities and abscesses.

Not only are they credited for making toothpaste, but they were also the first to invent the toothbrush, which consisted of twigs with worn-off ends.

6 Furniture

Surprisingly, many of our comfortable household objects trace back to Ancient Egypt. Prehistoric evidence shows that people carved furniture over 30,000 years ago in the Neolithic times, but it was the Egyptians who are credited for their innovative creations of furniture.

Chairs were first invented by the Egyptians around 3100 BC during the Archaic Period of Egypt and were upholstered with leather or cloth. The chairs that were invented in Egypt weren't the same as the modern chairs we use today. The seats were much lower back then. Tables were later made approximately in 2500 BCE, composed of alabaster and wood. The Egyptians also invented beds and were the first to create chests.

7 Ink

Ink was of great importance in Egypt along with papyrus, as it opened the gates to writing and art. Both the Egyptians and the Chinese are credited with the invention of ink. Tracing back to 2600 BCE, ink was used by the Egyptians for writing on papyrus.

The making of ink involved a combination of organic and inorganic materials, including ocher, iron, and lead, which were accompanied by phosphate, chloride, sulfide, and carboxylate ions.

8 Makeup

Egyptian culture placed a strong emphasis on cosmetics. The appearance of Egyptians had a strong connection to holiness and spirituality and determined their social class as well - the more cosmetics a person wore, the more likely they were regarded as wealthy. The use of makeup dates back to 4000 BCE.

Egyptian makeup was applied to both women and men. Eye makeup was made of black kohl and green eye paint, while green cosmetics were made of malachite. Black eye makeup was composed of galena ore. It was also believed that kohl and mesdemet pigments provided protection from sickness, bugs, and the sun.

9 Door Locks

Based on evidence from paintings in Egyptian tombs, the Egyptians were one of the first people to invent door locks. The creation of door locks dates back to 4000 BCE and featured a pin tumbler lock composed of wood. A pin tumbler lock had a pole fastened to the door, accompanied by a bolt consisting of pins that slid towards the pole.

The locks that Egyptians used were much larger than the locks we use today.

10 Calendar

We all rely on calendars to remember our schedules and traditions, and that's all thanks to the Ancient Egyptians. The Egyptian calendar consisted of three seasons, attributed to their agricultural lifestyle, and 12 months with 30 days each, totaling 360 days. Later on, they included five extra days to align with the solar year.

These five extra days were spent on religious holidays and traditions, mostly in honor of Osiris, Isis, Horus, Seth, and Nephthys.

The Contenders
11 Plow
12 Sundial
13 Surgical Instruments
14 Bowling
15 Barbers
16 Breath Mints
17 High Heels
18 Sarcophagi
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