Friday, April 25, 2014

Bookmark and Share

Partial list of Medieval inventions

Not bad - science, math, economics, trade, accounting, Gothic Cathedrals....

by Ferdinand III

An updated dated list of Medieval inventions. Without the Middle Ages, there is no 'modern age', bereft as the modern popular culture is of higher ideals, purpose and suffused with the crass crudeness of reality-TV, pop psychology, the cult of science, globaloneywarming, too many academics and parasites; and Marxist-historical revisionism.

List of Inventions in the Middle Ages

Names of Medieval Inventions

Description of Medieval Inventions


Pacioli's late 15th century invention of double-sided accounting had a profound and permanent impact on trade, financial records, investments, and business decision making.


Almanacs forecast precisely where the the sun, moon, planets and selected navigational stars, are going to be, hour by hour, for years into the future, the ancients never did discover what the Medieval Christians using math and science were able to establish regarding calendaring, feast days, elliptical planet cycles and the earth's rotation.


The complexity of Medieval armour is astounding as is the craftsmanship and cost involved

Artesian wells

The invention of Artesian wells eliminated the need for pumping


Astrolabe was used for used for astronomical purposes and calculating latitudes and was based on earlier Greek models. Invented in Byzantium in the early post-Rome period.

Blast Furnaces

Developed separately in Europe during the 11th century, the blast furnace allowed a range of new metallurgical appliances to be created including new varieties of steel, and composite iron products.


Long-range trade grew in both volume and complexity, with the centricity of Euro-trade moving from the Latin south to the north. From 800 AD onwards capital pools, banks [1150]; public corporations [by 1200]; and venture capital [supported by the Church] formed.


Chainmail armor was further developed in the Middle Ages providing protection against spears and swords with its origins dating back to the Gauls and Celts


Without Chimneys fireplaces or hearths are too dangerous and useless to provide much in the way of benefit. Chimneys were developed only in Europe and revolutionized cooking, heating and socializing.


The invention of the clock provided a closer structure to daily life [includes both the water and mechanical clock]


Ocean going boats invented in the 9th century by Vikings and improved upon in later centuries by Christianized Northmen and Normans; the Cog was a rounded vessel ideally suited to haul cargo and men long distance. It was one of the largest and best adapted ships in history to the perils of seafaring away from shore.


The compass enabled Medieval sailors and explorers to sail further from land and explore uncharted waters


Cross-staffs were used to measure the angle of the Sun or a star above the horizon


1215 the Norman elite forced King John of England to sign an agreement limiting the divine right of Kings and imposing Parliamentary [land aristocratic] privilege. This is the beginning of pluralist politics. Guilds, communes and other social developments enforced political plurality across France, Italy and Germany during the same period.

Flying Buttress

An invention during the Gothic era of big Church construction in the 11th and succeeding centuries, the buttress allowed the creation of high walls with windows, opening up the inner church to light, and allowing the use of stained glass to provide both art and majesty.


Manufacturing high end glass and glass products, including stained glass was developed before 1100 AD in France, Italy and England. The glass industry was a mainstay of medieval Florence and then London. The manufacturing process around glass, leading to higher quality and cheaper varieties was only developed in Europe.


Eye glasses or spectacles were invented in the high middle ages, and by 1400 were quite popular.


The 'grooming' or looking-pretty industry was in full swing by 900 AD in Christian Europe. New ideas and products around cutting, shaving, coiffing, oiling, perfuming and hiding were in full train. An entire industry with an extended supply chain was developed by 1100, around 'personal care'.


Gunpowder led to the invention of the cannon and was originally imported from China

Horse collar

The invention of the horse collar increased farming efficiency in the Middle Ages as did the substitution of horses for oxes; and 3 field rotation


A necessary adjunct to productive usage of the horse

Hour glass

The Hour-glass was a valuable measurement tool used in many daily tasks


Mills were built to pump water, grind grain, and crush ore and revolutionized industry, and food production


New ideas in developing mines, laying down shafts, using water pumps to mechanically empty water and refuse, and usage of conveyor-type systems to bring material up and down incredibly deep mining tunnels were only developed in Europe between 1000-1500 AD.

Minute Glass

Minute-glass was another timekeeping instrument invented in the Middle Ages

Moldboard Plough

The Moldboard turning plough increased farming efficiency and land productivity


Nocturnals were used for measuring and timekeeping instrument, the Medieval obsession with time stemmed from conceptions about work, productivity, the seasons, feast days, faith-days and trade

Numbers and Means

Fibonacci's numerology using 0-9 and his writings on the subject in the mid-13th century generated an enormous improvement in math, science, astronomy and finance.

Numbering System

Hindu numerals were used which greatly abetted literacy, book-keeping and record keeping. Adopted en-masse in Europe post Fibonacci's writings, showing a culture open and willing to change as needed.


The use of oars made the galley ships redundant allowing movement into the open seas


Paper was introduced in the 1200's imported from China and replacing the very expensive and laborious manufacture of parchment [tanned and beaten sheep or cow skin]


Laws of physics, including motion, gravity and the earth's rotation were confirmed, debated and proven with mathematical theorems by Christian scholastics from the 12th to 16th centuries.

Printing Press

Mechanization of printing in the mid 15th century was a major milestone in society affecting literacy, education, science, laws, record keeping etc.


Quadrants were used for measuring and timekeeping instrument

Scientific Method

Developed by Christian scholastics in the 13th and 14th centuries, notable names include Grosseteste, Bacon and Oresme.

Siege weapons

Siege weapon inventions were brought from the crusades to Europe and changed Medieval warfare

Silk Manufacture

Silk imported from China and adapted in Europe, was a luxurious addition to European clothing

Spectacles/Magnifying devices

Spectacles were a major medical advancement in the Middle Ages as were the telescope and other magnifying devices


Stirrups gave the rider greater control and allowed cavalry to use bows and arrows, or charge with lances, originally imported from the Mongols

Sun dial

The Sun-dial was another timekeeping instrument invented in the Middle Ages premised on Greek designs in Alexandria

The Bit and Bridle

The Bit and Bridle was used for controlling the massive destrier warhorses essential for heavy combat

The Crossbow

Invented in France during the 9th and 10th centuries, the crossbow applied engineering to the short bow and gave the bow a trigger, which reduced time and training costs for beginners. Developed independently in Europe, though in China the trigger-bow had been in use for about 700 years.

The Flail

The invention of the Flail was used as an armor-fighting weapon.

The high-backed saddle

The high-backed saddle gave Medieval knights great leverage and allowed heavy cavalry to be employed with devastating effect, though cavalry could not overcome well armed and disciplined heavy infantry.

The Lance

The Lance was long, strong, spear-like weapon, designed for use for knights on horseback and was a fearsome military weapon

The Longbow

The invention of the longbow enabled skilled English longbowman to release between 10 - 12 arrows per minute Developed in 7th and 8th century England and Wales.

The Rudder

Rudder enabled the use of Wind and Water Power to propel ships, obviating the need for oared craft

Traverse Boards

Traverse boards were navigation instruments, and were an older version of the Astrolabe


The invention of the wheelbarrow allowed faster movement of heavy loads over short distances


The invention of the windmill harnessed wind power to produce not only food, but to drain marshy/water areas to reclaim arable land

Nowhere will we find a list comparable to the above from any other culture including the 'scientific age' of the 17thcentury, which included witch-burnings, a belief in abiogenesis and a constant desperate refutation of the scientific works from Christian scholastics, setting back math and science by at least 2 generations. The Middle Ages were a hard time to live and we can't romanticize the period. But between the invasions of the Northmen, the Moslems [everyone's favourite civilized cult it appears], the Magyars, and the constant internecine, inter-state conflict; it is a wonder that Europe survived in any form, with any civilization whatsoever. It was not a dark age, but an age of turmoil, change, progression, some regression, innovation and most importantly an era of faith married with science.