Curiosity & innovating the first Plow

Curiosity, Innovation and the first Plow

The plow went through various stages of innovation. As mentioned in 'The invention of the humble Wheel' article, the wheel was not invented until after agriculture had started to take root. Therefore the earliest plows did not actually have any wheels. They were simply wooden constructions hung over the neck of an animal which would then be dragged through the ground to create space for planting or harvesting.

What is really of real interest is not the fact that such a thing existed in ancient times, but the fact that there are so many different parts that would need to be considered by someone to create the idea of a yoke. They would need to have a rough idea of woodwork, agriculture methodologies, and animal behavior. To combine such complex ideas into something of value means asking the right questions. In the case of the ancients it may have been investigating whether a certain animal could take a certain weight? If the wood was strong enough to hold together? And was it worth the time and energy it would take to construct something such as this? How exactly it would work?

Answering all these means taking time and effort to go through cycles of trials and errors to get it just right. And that is the beauty of curiosity throughout history. That no matter where you point on the timeline, childlike amazement with the world around us, in combination with the ability to ask and answer meaningful and open-ended questions, has led to great progress.

The next time you use your phone or see a farm, remind yourself of the thoughts, planning and experimentation that went behind such innovations that make each item we use, whether it is a piece of technology, or food we eat, or even how you're currently reading this piece of writing – someone was curious enough to ponder, wonder, be curious, ask and then go on a hunt to discover a solution to a problem others were taking in their stride because that is how it had always been done. It took generations of curious people who dreamed and worked to make it happen.