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10 Communication Inventions That Changed the World Forever

The world was never the same again.

Writing

Written communication in the form of pictures and then an alphabet.

The initial written form of communication was a pictograph. Each picture represented different actions and objects. The earliest forms of these picture words were in 3500 B.C. in an area of the world called Sumeria, that is now Iraq.

A Sumarian clay tablet 3500 B.C.

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The Egyptians came up with hieroglyphics, which was developed a few hundred years later.

Egyptian Hieroglyphics

image source

The Chinese used pictographs around 2000 to 1500 B.C.

Written communication in the form of an alphabet had a foundation of symbols relating to sounds and not signs. The Phoenicians established an alphabet around 800 B.C. The Romans much later took the Greek alphabet and translated it into 26 letters. An alphabet was far more efficient than the old system of pictographs. A simple sentence might require less than 50 letters and punctuation marks using an alphabet. In comparison, that same sentence would use about 9,000 pictures to say the same thing.

Paper

The invention of paper was necessary once a form of written communication was invented. Paper was the surface that made written communication manageable.

At first, clay tablets were used for written communications but they were bulky and difficult to transport. The Egyptians came up with a woven surface from the papyrus plant and painted hieroglyphics on this paper. The Greeks used a parchment from animal hides. But it was the Chinese who invented the standard writing surface of paper that is still used today. While the Chinese were using paper around 100 B.C., it was not used widely in Europe for another thousand years.

The world’s oldest book from China, 868.

The invention of paper allowed those who could read and write to attain wealth and social status. It also made tax collecting and record keeping easier. Another way that the invention of paper had a profound influence on society was that history and journals could be written for future generations to read. Finally, the laws of the land could be recorded and developed on paper thereby establishing a posted code of civil conduct.

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User Comments
  1. Geek

    On July 15, 2008 at 1:00 pm


    Hey, this is a rad piece with lots of great inventions throughout history. You really did your homework. Congrats!

  2. ND

    On July 15, 2008 at 1:02 pm


    This is a terrific historical article.

  3. GG

    On July 15, 2008 at 1:07 pm


    This is a fascinating article that really details how these inventions changed the world at that time.
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  4. TD

    On July 15, 2008 at 9:26 pm


    Amazing and informative article. You are one of the best writers on Triond.

  5. Bev

    On July 16, 2008 at 1:14 am


    This article is an outstanding piece of not only history but the wave of mass communication and the changes it has made on societies and cultures. Thank you for taking the time to write a piece that is something worth reading.

  6. Bob

    On July 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm


    It is nice to see an article that is not promoting shock value to reach the top ten on Triond.
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  7. CS

    On July 16, 2008 at 6:10 pm


    Very interesting and does not rely on pictures alone.

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    On July 17, 2008 at 10:46 am


    I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks

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  13. Maria

    On August 21, 2008 at 6:52 pm


    This Article is very interesting!I learn very much about this subject.

  14. LCam

    On November 2, 2008 at 11:10 pm


    yes, they were all a time in the past to forcast the future with new cutting edge in technology such as digital and digital video phone service. Is’nt that great you can now see the other person clear as day on a phone conversation and much more efficient cheaper I would say. the new wealth trend. is’nt it fantastic

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    On November 12, 2008 at 5:09 pm


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  16. Sue

    On December 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm


    Super article!

  17. nerd

    On February 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm


    tv is communication?

  18. Great stuff

    On February 22, 2009 at 9:25 pm


    How is TV NOT communication? DUH!

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    On March 1, 2011 at 5:57 pm


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    On November 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm


    Thanks a lot for putting your research information on the web, I enjoyed the read, and was able to grasp and use the information in a upper 200 level mass communications research paper. I will site you, and use you in my references, your name will live on in other ways than this article! :)

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