13 Things That Are Surprisingly A Lot Older Than We Thought

Voting Rules
Vote up the items that most made you want to do research to make sure we weren't lying.

We expected some things to be old, but not that old! When we are growing up and start to become conscious of the world around us, it's easy to put things into the category of "just always having existed." People who are older laugh because they experienced a world where they saw the things we take for granted invented. The generation after us will do the same. For some, dial-up modems and Netflix mailing people DVDs in the '90s are near incomprehensible because they weren't there. 

If we could take a step back and see all of time and its inventions spread out in a linear fashion, things being as old as they are or coming before the things they do make sense. But just looking at it like this from our fixed perspective, this stuff is plain wacky. It turns out we were very wrong on these things that we weren't sure of when exactly they came from, but thought we had a pretty good idea as to what time period they belonged. Especially Paul Rudd. The historians of Reddit answer, "What's older than we think?"

  • 1
    272 VOTES

    Contact Lenses Were First  Used In 1887 After Leonardo Da Vinci Came Up With Them In 1508

    From Redditor u/-eDgAR-:

    Contact lenses. Leonardo da Vinci had the idea of contact lenses in 1508 and the first successful contact lenses were made in 1888.

    Context: Leonardo da Vinci illustrated the concept of contact lenses in 1508 in a drawing that suggested the optics of the human eye could be altered by placing the cornea directly in contact with water. Over three centuries later, English astronomer Sir John Herschel thought of making a mold of a person's eyes that would enable the production of uniquely fitted corrective lenses. About 50 years after that, German F.A. Muller created the first known glass contact lens in 1887, while Swiss physician Adolf E. Fick and Paris optician Edouard Kalt made the first glass contact lenses that actually worked and corrected vision problems in 1888.

    272 votes
  • Nintendo Was Founded in 1889
    Photo: Eckhard Pecher / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5

    From Redditor u/Andramalot:

    Nintendo. This company was actually created in 1889.

    Context: Nintendo was founded on September 23, 1889 in Kyoto Japan by Fusajiro Yamauchi. The company began by selling hand-painted playing cards that eventually became the most popular brand in Japan. Before their turn to video games, Nintendo sold ramen noodles and ran a taxi service.

    257 votes
  • There Were Wristwatches In The 1500s
    Photo: Attributed to William Segar / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    217 VOTES

    There Were Wristwatches In The 1500s

    From Redditor u/Aqquila89:

    Wristwatches. Queen Elizabeth I got one in 1571.

    Context: Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, presented Queen Elizabeth I the very first wristwatch in 1571. This was a bejeweled "arm watch." Wristwatches were seen largely as a feminine accessory through the 1700-1800s, with men prefering pocket watches. Wristwatches on men became a necessity and fashionable during WWI.

    217 votes
  • 4
    266 VOTES

    The Fax Machine Was Invented Before The Telephone

    From Redditor u/Darpyface:

    Fax Machines. They were invented in 1843. Before the telephone.​

    Context: Fax machines send encoded data over radio signal or telephone from one location to another where it's recieved in hard copy, usually printed text or a picture. But the telephone was still waiting to be invented in 1876 when Scottish inventor Alexander Bain patented his fax machine in 1843. Bain's invention used the telegraph wire. The telegraph had needed a person on the recieving end to decode the Morse code being sent. Bain's fax machine, which he called his "copying telegraph" decoded the messages itself. 

    266 votes
  • Classes Have Been Taught At Oxford University Since 1096
    Photo: Odicalmuse / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
    251 VOTES

    Classes Have Been Taught At Oxford University Since 1096

    From Redditor u/princess_mothership:

    I was really surprised to discover when Oxford university was founded. They don’t know the year for sure, but they know there was definitely teaching going on there in 1096.

    Context: There isn't a clear date on the founding of the University Of Oxford but there is evedince of classes being taught in some form in 1096. The University experience rapid growth in 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.

    251 votes
  • From a Redditor:

    Sharks. Sharks as a species are older than trees.

    Context: The earliest fossil evidence for sharks date 450 million years ago, during the Late Ordovician Period. The first ferns that would become trees appeared 385 million years ago.

    232 votes