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Universities, wine press, ribbed vault, and chimney.

Essay #12 History Of Inventions

Hello everybody, in today’s article I will be talking about universities, the wine press, the ribbed vault, and the chimney. Let’s get started.


The word university comes from the Latin word “Universitas,” which means “a whole” or “a corporation.” Universities employ a community of teachers and scholars, to teach their students and grant them an academic degree on various subjects.

In the ancient times education was based on tutors. Greeks used the one-on-one education system to teach their young ones basic reading, writing and math. When Romans conquered the Greeks they adopted the tutoring system and used Greek slaves as tutors. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, the tutoring system faded, as it was an expansive system, however the church remained and it was interested in educating its clergy. As the churches grew in power they needed more bureaucrats to support their organizations. The monasteries became centers of education, they had books and tough the young man entering the monasteries basics reading, writing and math.

The first universities were funded by the church and owned by it. They offered education on seven main subjects, organized as the trivium and quadrivium. The trivium thought grammar, logic and rhetoric. The quadrivium included arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music and they were thought after the trivium. This educational system certified their students and created bureaucrats for the church system.

It is interesting to know that at first in those universities, students hired their teachers directly, and if they were not pleased with the teacher’s performance they could fire them. This system was not appreciated by the teachers, so they created a organization called a guild, to protect them from being fired. Basically the teachers came up with a system that put them in charge. The first one was in Paris, and it was the first such organization, aka university. With this new system the students were paying the University. The students received access to an organized educational system, aka curriculum, and they could no longer choose or fire their teachers. This secured the teacher’s jobs and helped the church train the young man to to fill the bureaucratic positions they needed for the growth of the church.

At the same time, the states and the kingdoms began to fund their own universities, and train young man to fill their bureaucratic positions. Now universities are very common, and man and women graduate from them with various academic degrees. I think I want to study to become a paleontologist and discover new dinosaurs.

The wine press

Winemaking has been handed down for thousands of years, and it was very important to the Greek and Roman cultures. They would drink wine at parties and special occasions. Romans wanted everyone to drink wine, so as you can see, it was probably very desirable back then, and it still is today. Back then they made wine by squishing the grapes with their feet, usually the slaves did that. After the Roman Empire collapsed and they no longer used slaves to produce wine, there was a need for discovering a new way to make wine, a more financially sustainable. Paying people to do it was too costly. The monks had access to books and written information that helped them discover a better way of making wine and that was the “basket press.” With the basket press they extracted twenty precent more juice then through to stomping the grapes, it was also safer for the people that operated the press, as they didn’t get exposed to so much carbon dioxide and other gases produced when the grapes stared to ferment. Today’s wine press is using a similar system as the one discovered by the monks. An invention that stood the test of time. Cool!

The ribbed vault

Architectural design by Romans copied the style of the ancient Greeks, but after the Romans discovered concrete new features like arches, domes, and vaulted ceiling‘s were built. The Roman style, however, faded after its collapse except in Byzantine and the Holy Roman Empire. But of course they didn’t have the exact recipe of Roman concrete so their buildings were a little bit different, which led to the Romanesque style of architecture. The Romanesque style of architecture allowed buildings to be long and wide and very tall, it also allowed high windows. It was very thick, heavy, and durable and used to build churches. It was the default architectural style in the mid evil times. Abbot Suger in 1135 AD, when he renovated a cathedral, basílica of St. Davis, brought together all the Romanesque styles and created what is known as the Gothic style today. The Gothic architectural style was very famous in cathedrals because of the ribbed vault on the ceiling. The ribbed vault was very strong and also allowed buildings to be tall, too. It is safe to say that the ribbed vault transformed the architectural Romanesque design into Gothic. If you travel to Romania or a place that has an old cathedral or castle still standing you might be able to see the ribbed vault.

The chimney

Around 1300 AD there was a little ice age in Europe with cooler weather and freezing temperatures so there was a need to get the houses warmer during the cold times. People built furnaces in their houses but did not have chimneys yet. Before the chimney people made a big hole in the ceiling so that the smoke from their fireplaces could get out of the house, but this technique wasn’t very good when it got extremely cold. So they had to come up with something else. The Swiss monks figured out a way to heat their floors. Very impressive, I would like that too. Then the chimney was invented in Northern Europe. The chimney is a large enclosed tubular structure that vents gas from the fireplace outside, while allowing oxygen to get indoors. The discovery of the chimney allowed building homes with multiple floors and rooms, and each room had its own chimney. This led to class separation. For example it allowed the king and the queen to sleep in their own bedroom upstairs, and the maids to sleep downstairs in their own bedroom. But now that we have modern architecture and advanced science we have different ways of heating the house, such as AC, but we can still use chimneys, of course.

I hope you enjoyed this article about the university, the wine press, the ribbed vault, and the chimney. What did you learn from this blog that surprised you? Please share below.


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