Ancient Egypt was a fascinating civilization, and all that’s left of it today is mostly remnants of important monuments and complexes. Besides their stunning architecture, ancient Egyptians have influenced the world in so many more ways than we realize. After all, if it wasn’t for their brilliant minds, many items that we use on a daily basis may have been non-existent or not invented for millennia to come. From toothpaste to hair dye and even scissors, here are five modern day inventions that we should thank the Egyptians for.
Contrary to popular belief, carving hieroglyphics into stone wasn’t a very common type of writing system. If anything, it was rather tiresome and impractical and eventually led to the development of a form of writing that was never before seen at the time. The Egyptians started soaking the ends of long pieces of reed in water then cut the ends into points which caused them to crack and dispense the ink. But because these pens dried out quickly, they were turned to quills as a more effective alternative. The first modern pen emerged during the 1800s, but came with a cap to prevent it from drying out.
Although the original ingredients were a bit questionable, the first form of toothpaste still managed to get the job done. Crushed hooves, burned eggshells and ashes were all you needed to get your teeth all nice and clean in that time. Once you were done, you’d freshen up your breath with some good ole’ fashioned mints. Luckily, the ingredients for these were so much more pleasant—dried mint, dried iris and rock salt. In fact, the Egyptians were such sticklers for proper dental hygiene that they had a long list of recipes for both the aforementioned toothpaste and mints.
3. Hair Dye
The Egyptians were big on appearances as it meant everything to them and was an indicator of one’s social and financial status. They did this not only in the form of makeup but with wigs and hair extensions as well. With all this said, they weren’t keen on the salt and pepper look, you know, sings of aging, which is why they went to great lengths to hide it. To cover up their silver locks, they would use dried henna leaves to create a reddish-brown paste. Not only was it used to dye their hair, but to stain the lips and nails as well.
Many people falsely assume that Leonardo da Vinci was the brains behind the inventing of the scissors. However, the credit actually belongs to our old, old friends, who designed the original pair of scissors all the way back in 1500 BC. Although our modern scissors are based on the cross-blade design by the Romans, the Egyptian scissors was a single piece of metal fashioned into two blades that were controlled by a metal strip between the blades.
5. The Plow
Prior to the creation of the plow, land used to be tilled by walking around with digging sticks, which were basically long sticks shoved into the ground to make holes for seeds when planting. After getting tired of said sticks, the Egyptians created the first known plow, known to them as the “ard.” It consisted of an arched handle and a stone or metal point attached to the bottom. It is nothing like the plows we have today, but there’s no denying its huge role in modern and ancient agriculture.
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