The 17th century, or the time between 1601 and 1700, was revolutionary. This was the time period when science, math, and reason all began to emerge from the shadow of mysticism and superstition. It was during this period that the great thinkers who would inspire the industrial revolution began making themselves known. This was the time of Galileo, Blaise Pascal, and Isaac Newton. These are names that are often mentioned during lectures on math and astronomy, but most people think they were isolated in a period of scientific darkness. This is completely untrue. There were numerous inventions and discoveries made during the 17th century.
What were some of the inventions of the 17th century?
1608 The refracting telescope is invented by Hans Lippershey.
1609 Galileo Galilei was the first person to observe the skies with a telescope.
1620 First submarine invented by Cornelis Drebbel.
1624 The slide rule is invented by William Oughtred.
1626 St. Peter’s Basilica completed.
1629 The steam turbine is invented by Giovanni Branca.
1636 The micrometer is invented by W. Gascoigne.
1642 The adding machine is invented by Blasie Pascal.
1643 The barometer is invented by Evangelista Torricelli.
1650 The air pump is invented by Otto von Guericke.
1656 The pendulum clock is invented by Christian Huygens.
1663 The reflecting telescope is invented by James Gregory.
1668 A reflecting telescope is invented by Isaac Newton.
1670 Champagne is invented by Dom Perignon.
1671 A calculating machine is invented by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
1674 Bacteria is first seen and described in a microscope by Anton Van Leeuwenhoek.
1675 The pocket watch is invented by Christian Huygens.
1676 The universal joint is created by Robert Hooke.
1679 The pressure cooker is created by Denis Papin.
1684 Newton completes calculations on gravity.
1684 Gottfried Leibniz published his theories and work on calculus.
1693 Isaac Newton published his work on calculus.
1698 The steam pump is invented by Thomas Savery.
Many of the greatest inventions of the 17th century were theoretical in nature. Understanding gravity, creating a form of math to understand physics, and having the ability to study the stars and planets are all advances future scientists and mathematicians would build upon. Without these advances, the industrial revolution would not have been possible. Advances in medicine such as the microscope, identification of bacteria, and the ability to transfuse blood all revolutionized the medical field and made true medicine possible.
While the Industrial Revolution gets much of the credit for altering everyday life, without some of the inventions of the 17th century the famous advances of later centuries in science, math, and medicine would not have been possible.
Photo Credit: Akash