Inventions and Technology

I am Vincenzo, the curator of our museum here at the University of Padua. I will be glad to show you around but first you should understand some fundamental ideas. During this time period that you folks from the future call the Renaissance, technology and inventions were very primitive and crude. Things that you take for granted were not in existence, and not even imagined in one's wildest dreams. If you had come up with an idea for a computer during our time, you would have been ridiculed, laughed at, and considered a threat to society. You could have been punished for going against common belief. To help you understand how little technology we have, imagine everything that uses electricity or batteries. We don't have these items right now during the Renaissance. Everything from computers to lights to indoor plumbing was non existent, and was unheard of at this time.

Now let's go and see what we have here in the Renaissance, and what's about to be developed.


Gunpowder and Artillery

Eye Glasses and Spectacles

Printing Press

Flush Toilet




The Match


So if you think that maybe you have an idea that is ahead of your time, or is very useful, keep dreaming. Take Boyle's advice and don't let your idea go up in smoke!

Written and Compiled by Adam Sorkin



Parker, Steve. How Things Work . Random House, Inc. New York, 1991.

Williams, Jay. Leonardo Da Vinci. American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc. New York, 1965.

Yenne, Bill. 100 Inventions That Shaped World History. Bluewood Books, 1993.