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The history of invention goes back in time farther than we can imagine.
What was the first invention? The wheel? Fire? The Spear? A Bowl?
We may never really know. Containers, cutting tools, fasteners, and coverings are all things that would have made life easier. What we do know about early inventions comes from the discovery of objects that were left behind.

First of all, fire was not an invention. Man discovered the uses of fire and learned how to control fire. Fire was discovered perhaps many times in different places.

Both Neanderthal Man (3000,000 BC through 30.000 BC) and Homo Sapiens (from 100,000 BC) made tools, harnessed fire, and painted with pigments.

One of the most significant inventions of pre-history is the wheel. How many ways can you imagine people moved themselves and their things before the wheel was developed? (see sample ideas listed below)

The oldest wheel found in archeological excavations was discovered in what was Mesopotamia and is believed to be from about 3500 B.C. The Mesopotamian wheels featured three planks cut and joined to make a wheel.

Many historians believe that the idea for the wheel came from the use of logs as rollers for moving heavy objects, but there is no evidence of this. Early wheels are from Mesopotamia, where there were few logs in existence.

However, it was around 3000 B.C. that the first goblets appeared. Clay goblets are made by potters using a pottery wheel. The oldest surviving goblets bear the telltale signs of wheel manufacture. It is possible that wheels were used for pottery before they were used for transportation. For that matter, it’s possible that the wheel was invented for making goblets.

sample ideas
-Walking and carrying things
-Pushing and pulling heavy objects
-Using Animals to carry and ride
-Floating on a log or raft
-Two people carrying something hanging from a pole
-Many people carrying something attached to poles

article by Joe Kissel

Read More About It

The Inventor's Bible: How to Market and License Your Brilliant Ideas
by Ronald Louis Docie
The definitive book on product licensing for the independent inventor.

The Toy and Game Inventor's Handbook by Richard C. Levy, Ronald O. Weingartner
Practical advise on getting your toy and/or game idea on store shelves, The book is chock-full of fascinating background on how our favorite playthings came into existence.

Feminine Ingenuity : How Women Inventors Changed America by Anne Macdonald

Ages 4-8

Inventor McGregor by Kathleen T. Pelley, Michael Chesworth (Illustrator)

Preschoolers will love the nonsense of the contraptions, beautifully captured in the sound and the rhythm of the storytelling.

Marvelous Mattie : How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully
The story of the first woman to receive a U.S. patent. Her paper-bag machine idea was stolen

Hooray For Inventors by Marcia Williams (Illustrator) This entertaining book provides the stories behind some of the world's greater and lesser inventions. The pages are quite busy with cartoon-style ink-and-watercolor drawings.

Ages 9-12
Women Invent: Two Centuries of Discoveries That Have Shaped Our World by Susan Casey Fabulous and fun

The Picture History of the Great Inventors by Gillian Clements
With apologies for the overwhelming focus on white male inventors residing in Europe or America, this book contains concise yet conversational text and accurate drawings. Focusing on some 60 inventions that have greatly influenced civilization, Clement also spotlights hundreds of other intriguing discoveries and events.

Outward Dreams : Black Inventors and Their Inventions by Jim Haskins
Helps fill the void of lost information concerning the role black Americans played in shaping the history of our country.

Cool Stuff And How It Works by Witchalls & Woodford

Discoveries: Great Inventions

The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories about Inventions by Don L. Wulffson

Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Jones & John Obrie


The United Inventors Association (UIA) is a tax-exempt, not for profit corporation formed in 1990 solely for educational purposes. earn how to effectively develop ideas into successfully marketed products. The UIA is an affiliate of The Academy of Applied Science and sponsored by The Dial Corporation.
Inventive Women
Inventive Kids Games for kids that teach about inventions.
The Great Idea Finder is a place to explore the exciting world of innovation. Whether you're a student, teacher, parent, inventor, history buff, or just looking for innovative consumer products, you'll find things you can use here.
An interactive and informative site inspiring kids to invent. This site also contains resources and tips for teachers.
Education and news for inventors.
National Gallery for America's Young Inventors
A national competition that inducts six young talented American inventors annually into the National Gallery—a museum to preserve and promote great inventions produced by America's youth.
Camp InventionThe United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Kids' Pages
Information and answers for kids provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.