15 “Modern” Conveniences That Are Actually Much Older Than You Think

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Sometimes it’s hard to realize how old things are because they appear younger. Other times, the sheer amount of years makes it difficult to wrap your mind around their age. Let’s break down some things and inventions that have endured longer than we realize.

1 – Flushing Toilets

Flushing Toilets
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Toilets may seem like a relatively recent development over the last century or two; however, flushing toilets date back farther than many realize. The Indus River Valley civilization, existing from 1300 – 3300 B.C.E., had a flushing toilet system. Sure, later inventors fine-tuned this creation, but the concept was in motion long before they even existed.

2 – Heating

Home central heating system
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Central heating dates back as far as 2500 B.C., and fireplaces date back to around 800 A.D. Floor heating, considered the most efficient form of heating a home, has existed since about 5000 B.C. in North Korea. It’s amazing that floor heating particularly existed for so long, yet I’m staring at a radiator that heats my room inefficiently. Make floor heating the standard.

3 – Fax Machines

Fax Machines
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Did you know the fax machine existed before the telephone? Yes. The device, known as the electric printing telegraph, predates phones by a few years. Its origin date is 1843, while the first phone was in 1849.

4 – Electric Cars

Bakersfield, CA - December 18, 2017: Tesla Super Charging station on Stockdale Hwy and the 5 fwy. Tesla Supercharger stations allow Tesla cars to be fast-charged at the network within an hour.
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While Elon Musk thinks he’s a genius, electric cars existed long before he existed. A poster points out the first crude electric car was in the 1830s, although it was a “semi-functioning model.” Interesting how cars that need oil were preferred to electric vehicles back then, only for them to flip now.

5 – Nintendo

Amsterdam, Netherland - 24 Jan 2021, Teenager boy wearing headset playing game on Nintendo Switch console. Kid with handheld Nintendo Switch on the couch in the livingroom. Top view
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The beloved game console that brought gems like games in The Legend of Zelda world and Mario Bros. was not originally a game console company. Nintendo sold playing cards when it first opened in 1889. For perspective, people highlighted that Adolf Hitler was born the same year, and Jack the Ripper was on his killing spree a year prior.

6 – Oreos

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I cannot believe that Oreos have been around before chocolate chip cookies. But it’s true. Oreos hit the scene in 1912, making them over 111 years old. Chocolate chip cookies arrived over twenty years later.

7 – Contact Lenses

Young African-American woman putting in contact lenses at home
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It’s fascinating how many creators were far ahead of their time, especially when it’s over 350 years ahead of their time. Contact lenses date back to 1888. However, Leonardo da Vinci had the idea of contact lenses in 1508 to correct eyesight.

8 – Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd
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A comical one; no one believes how old Paul Rudd is because he looks like he does not age. Look at his movies like Clueless and then Ant-Man. It’s hard to think you’re looking at a 53-year-old man. He’s not aging like a fine wine; he’s at a standstill. Vampire?

9 – Stonehenge

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Many people understand Stonehenge is old but do not realize just how old. Building on Stonehenge began around 3100 B.C.E. Those pyramids of Giza with the pharaohs? Stonehenge predates them and is about 5,000 years old.

10 – Oxford University

Oxford University, U.K., August 5, 2019. An outside shot of Bodleian Library in Oxford University on a sunny day with partly cloudy skies.
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Considered the second-oldest school, Oxford University has existed for a long time. A poster mentions that although no one knows when the university began, “teaching was going on in 1096.” That means Oxford University is “older than the Aztec Empire.”

11 – Netflix

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While less old than others on this list, Netflix has many years under its belt. But that’s also because the 90s still feel like a short while ago. It feels like yesterday that Netflix began its streaming option, though some remember the origin of Netflix’s at-home dvd deliveries by mail. Netflix is well into adulthood, and at over 25 years old, some people now exist who only know “Netflix and chill.”

12 – Sharks

Greenland shark near the ocean ground, Somniosus microcephalus - shark with the longest known lifespan of all vertebrate species (3d rendering)
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Imagine if sharks could talk. The stories they would tell, especially if they had a written and oral history. Someone added that shark fossils date back 450 million years ago, meaning they predate the existence of trees—yes, trees—and dinosaurs.

13 – Lighters

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It’s hard to believe the lighter came before matches, but it did. A few people discuss how creating the lighter is less complex than creating the chemical reaction for matches. The lighter is over 200 years old, invented in 1816, and the match came ten years later.

14. Earth

Earth at night was holding in human hands. Earth day. Energy saving concept, Elements of this image furnished by NASA
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The Earth is so old that putting it into perspective is challenging. At 4.5 billion years old, human life is a speck in its existence. A few use the Cosmic Calendar to help understand how old the Earth is in relation to the universe and humans. If the existence of it all laid out like a calendar, with January being the creation of the universe, Earth began in September. And humans? They exist in the last few seconds of New Year’s Eve. Mindblowing.

15 – Plastic Surgery

Woman looking at her skin in mirror.
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Plastic surgery is mainstream now and seems new, but forms of reconstructive surgery are not new. As someone reveals, plastic surgery existed in Egypt around 2500 B.C. Even more surprising, a surgeon named Sushruta performed surgery “in India during 800 B.C.”

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Tropic Thunder Ben Stiller
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Written by DarkSkyLady

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