One may be astonished to hear that the Ancient Greeks had there own analogue computer. Perhaps while not well suited to PowerPoint presentations and word processing, this machine powered by hand was able to calculate astronomical information such as the position of the Sun, Moon and eclipse cycles. Theoretically it could also have calculated the position of planets. All of this was achieved simply through exceptionally clever use of gears.
To students, the idea of central heating might seem quite the luxury, but even the Ancient Greeks indulged every now and again. Some of their temples were heated from under the floor using a circulation of warmed air.
Automatic doors may bring to mind the idea of using the ‘force’ or the futuristic reality of Star Trek, but in fact the Ancient Greeks were way ahead of us. In instances such as the entrances to Temples, automatic doors were implemented using a cunning network of ropes, spindles and buckets, ultimately being powered by steam! This was the work of Hero of Alexandria, hereby inventing the steam engine thousands of years before the birth of the likes of George Stephenson and James Watt.
A Vending Machine
Another of Hero’s inventions is that of the seemingly immensely modern vending machine. Instead of buying Coca Cola, the Ancient Greeks would insert a coin into a slot at the top of a machine to dispense holy water. This was achieved by the coin landing on a pan joined to a lever which would then release an appropriate amount of water by way of a counter-weight.
Finally, the annoying device that wakes you up in the morning was also originally designed by the Ancient Greeks, who used water clocks. A whistling sound would be triggered by a rising stream of water.