Spectacles, Mechanical Mlock, Papermill, and Robert Grosseteste.

Essay #15 History Of Inventions


Spectacles or eyeglasses, were used for many years, they are tools that help you see better when you get older. When you get older your eyesight, usually, starts to get worse, hopefully not. Eyeglasses consist of a frame and two pieces of glass, or I should say, magnifying glass, at least it magnifies what you’re looking at. At first glasses were very expensive, and of course, only the elite could buy them, but then a guild was formed. After the guild was formed, the lower classes could buy glasses too. People used to think that wearing glasses was inferior, and for some reason people who wore glasses were made fun of, and talked down to. This all changed when Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th US president, started wearing glasses: everybody change their perception of glasses. Nowadays we use glasses for fashion, to block the sunlight, to protect our eyes from dangerous objects when working, to protect from blue light from our screens or other dangerous lights, and sometimes even to “look smart.” Glasses are now a normal thing.

Mechanical clock

The world was very different before the mechanical clock. Meaning that people had different ways of calculating their time. By the 1200s there were already tools available for telling time. Usually people used the sun regulated the hours. Clocks in the old days were sundials, water clocks, and hour glasses. But those had many imperfections. For example, the water clock froze in cold temperatures, that was not very good. The mechanical clock was most likely invented in China in the 11th century, and by the 1300s expensive clocks were spread across Europe. Clocks were symbols of successful towns. The mechanical clock help identify working hours, what time parks open, the opening of a restaurant, and more. The pocket watches that were invented soon after helped improve culture. It looks like the clock didn’t have the same affect in China. In China people believed that the clock was a tool that they could also used to predict things in the future, but they were wrong, the clock told time. Although today we still have mechanical watches, and clocks, the majority of clocks and watches are electronic.

Paper mill

As we learned in a previous lesson, Ts’ai Lun invented paper in China around 105 AD, well he didn’t really invent it but we credit him as the inventor. It is said that he was inspired by the paper wasp; the paper wasp chews up wood and then spits it out to form his nest. Unfortunately parchment paper was still the dominant choice for writing, well I shouldn’t say unfortunately but it wasn’t paper, or at least our modern form of paper. The recipe for the paper making process was known in Europe. One of the main ingredients were old linen rags, or clothes. The spinning wheel increase the demand for linen clothing, so this made people throw out their old linen clothes on a daily basis, metaphorically speaking. Entrepreneurs and other people started wondering what to do with all of this trash a.k.a. the old linen clothes I was talking about, and then somebody figured it out. They could use those old clothes to mass produce paper, it was a genius idea. The abundant “trash” equaled more supply of cheap and raw materials to make paper. The water wheel and the trip hammer turned old clothes into pulp, and cheap paper was the main benefit, everybody would buy it. The first paper mill was built in Italy around 128 AD, they were usually built on the bottom of mountains. It spread from Italy to Germany, then to other locations. There was a successful paper mill built in England by 1588. The invention of the paper mill brought the cost of paper to one-sixth the price of parchment paper. Preachment paper was not easy to mass produce. Today I only see parchment paper when my mom uses it for baking.

Robert Grosseteste

Before Robert was born there was a conflict between the church and the state that lead to massive growth in church power, and also the crusades were opening up cultural exchange between East and West. Robert Grosseteste was born in England, 1175-1253. He was a teacher, a preacher, and a church scholar. He believed in biblical creation, he believed that since God created everything using mathematics our minds are mathematical. He was fascinated by the concept of light. He set the basis of the scientific method, he also pointed out flaws in Aristotle‘s theories and corrected them by using biblical information. He used Aristotle and Plato‘s “framework” to explore a Christian conception of the world. He discovered that rainbows are a result of refraction, not reflection. He was admired by his peers and successors. In Europe he became respected for his expertise on Aristotle. John Wycliffe kept his reputation alive, overall the world changed under his influence.

Thank you for reading this article, i’m sorry I didn’t have a picture for Robert Grosseteste. Would you like to share with me what you learned about this week? Bye, and have a nice day.

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