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By Carey Bourdier
While our technological advances over the last millennium have been quite impressive, there are certain tools that have been used for hundreds of years and are still needed today. So, while we can use robots to build cars and our computers allow us to send a letter across the globe in mere seconds, these ancient tools still come in quite handy today.

In ancient times, the Greeks, Romans and the Chinese all used wheelbarrows to help them transfer heavy loads from one area to another. The ancient designs have changed little over the centuries, and this helpful invention is still in wide use today. Obviously, our current wheelbarrows are made of steel with rubber wheels, while stone and wood were used in ancient times. The Chinese even used a wheelbarrow with a wind sail to make carrying a heavy load even easier.

Often, it’s the most simple of inventions that has stood the test of time. The hammer would be quintessential example of this truth. Ancient man used stone for a hammer and eventually this evolved into a stone with a wooden handle. Archaeologists have found 10,000-year-old hammers in digs in the United States that look much like the household claw hammers of today. There are dozens of styles of hammers used for different tasks, from the gavel used by a judge to a hammer used by a stonemason or the jackhammer used at a construction site.

If you are involved in launching rockets or perhaps a surveyor, then you have no doubt learned how to use a theodolite. This device, which measures both horizontal and vertical angles, has been around for hundreds of years. In fact, the first theodolites were designed in the early 1500s, and by the 1780s, these theodolites were modernized and still work in much the same way as they did then. Obviously, today’s versions are a bit more precise, but you sort of need to be precise when you are launching a rocket into space or designing an interstate highway.

For purists who have a love of sailing, many ancient navigational tools are certainly still put to good use. If you don’t wish to rely on high-tech navigational equipment, you will need telescopes, compasses, a three-arm protractor and a sextant to help you navigate. But what you might be surprised to learn is that even on a huge freight ship or a Naval vessel, the crew still knows how to use these items, and their use is continued to this day. After all, we cannot always rely on electricity, so having a back up is an essential part of preparation.

While not precisely ancient, the clinometer is an important tool that dates back more than 100 years. This tool measures the angles of slope in relation to gravity, and sometimes you will hear this tool called an inclinometer or even a tilt gauge or tilt meter. These types of measurements are essential to many different professions, from those who design airplanes and space craft to those who study volcanoes and even for those who are creating the slopes at a new ski resort.

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Ancient But Useful: Old Inventions We Still Use

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