Today we are bombarded with new inventions, especially in technology. Patents are sought to make sure others don't infringe on the benefits of the new device. Many times the name of the inventor is very well known, sometimes even giving the invention his or her name.

Needless to say, it's been that way for years. But, have you ever wondered how some things were invented, things we do or use everyday with no inventor listed. We might even start with fire. No one knows how mankind actually learned to tame a fire so it would be a useful tool to cook with or keep us warm. Some might say those early people saw lightening start a fire and learned by feeling its heat and thinking of its possibilities. Who thought of skewing a rabbit on a stick and roasting it over the fire realizing that it was much more savory and tender when cooked? Much better than the alternative!

From there we can go on to the wheel. There have been a lot of jokes about the invention of the wheel. Without it there would be no cars, no tires, no engines, no so many things that rely on that round object to make things go and lessen our work load. After all, what would one do without a wagon or wheel barrow, or other handy devices that have made life easier for thousands of years. Well, maybe it was the chariots that used them first, but whatever we just don't know who put their thinking cap on and thought of something round to put on something else to make it go. One could conjecture that it was when someone put a log underneath another log to move it from one place to another, then it became more sophisticated when it became more and more shaped as a wheel . We can't imagine living without these wheels, found everywhere, on everything.

You could thinks boats. A log floats, but a hollowed out log held people more safely. Who put the idea of using bark or hides, then coating those hides or bark with some kind of coating such as resin to make them more waterproof? Maybe trial and error. We just don't know for sure. There are no patents, no name of an inventor, no copyrights to any of it.

Who looked at a horse, a camel, a donkey, a dog, and thought of transportation? A lot of knowledge went into training and keeping animals. From transportation also came burden carrying, taking some of the load off mankind. Each invention made life a bit easier.

Who realized that weaving sticks together to make a structure was so much stronger than just laying them parallel to each other? That woven structure was carried further when it was used for other things.

Necessity is the mother of invention they say and the homes of people all over the world reflect this. Think of the igloos of the far north, the sod houses of our pioneers, the log cabins in the forested lands. Someone had to come up with the idea and it caught on.

Someone learned that to twist the fiber from some of the animals, wild or domesticated, could be made into a string hundreds of times stronger than it was just off the animal. Someone else discovered that if you wove it, it could be a garment that kept one warm. The drop spindle was and is used by many countries to spin fibers. All it took was a stick and something heavy to put weight on the bottom. Give it a spin and it twisted those fibers into yarn.

Who first took two sticks and began knitting yarns into garments or other useful items? If you think about it these two methods, weaving and knitting, are still the way its done today on every garment you buy. Like they say there is nothing new under the sun! Who first unwound a silkworm cocoon to discover the wonderful properties of silk?

Someone took a quill or a spine off a tree or plant and learned to sew fiber or hides together to make something bigger or to shape it to wear. Almost every common thing we use today was invented by someone and for most of them we don't know who or when. None of their inventors received monetary gains or recognition, but their inventions have stood the test of time.

Look around you and you can see inventions that have stood through years of use. Some have gone by the way, but their usefulness still exists. It's amazing if you start to think about all the things mankind has invented and used throughout the centuries. Language or the written word, mathematics, you name it and someone thought it up made it work and over the years it's been perfected. So maybe one could say the human mind is one of endless possibilities; it can come up with some pretty special inventions. The more I think about it the more I wonder how anyone can say they are bored. Our minds can do so many things, and our hands can make it happen. Inventors are still inventing, so minds are still working and hands are still doing. It's a legacy that has been ongoing since time began.


Jeannine Roediger has lived on a family farm all her life, first as a farmer's daughter and now as a farmer's wife. She writes weekly for the Times Bulletin and enjoys gardening, quilting, cooking, bird watching and writing.