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10 Inventions That Were Ahead Of Their Time

How were these things made?! True innovations — just like Hendrick's apothecary-style gin.

1. Vending Machines

Daily Herald Archive / Getty Images

The first vending machine was created in 50 AD by Greek mathematician and engineer Hero of Alexandria. It dispensed holy water in exchange for a coin. Other coin-operated machines did not appear again for nearly 2,000 years!

2. Plastic Surgery


Evidence of reconstructive surgery dates back to 800 BC in India. However, the oldest known surgical treatise, dated to the Old Kingdom from 3000 to 2500 BC, makes mention of plastic repair of a broken nose.

3. Contact Lenses

French philosopher and mathematician, René Descartes, invented contact lenses in 1636. Each lens was a water-filled tube, attached directly to the cornea. OUCH.

4. Fireworks

CC BY http://2.0 / Epic Fireworks / Via Flickr: epicfireworks

The earliest evidence of fireworks dates all the way back to 7th-century China. They didn't have power or running water, but they had awesome, entertaining explosives.

5. Diving Suits

The first functional diving suits were invented in England in 1715. They were completely enclosed, made of either leather or a barrel full of air, with a glass porthole.

6. Prosthetic Limbs

Mechanical prostheses, including the iron hand pictured above, first appeared in the 1500s.

7. Toilet Paper

CC BY-SA http://2.0 / radioedit / Via Flickr: notrealistic

The use of hygienic paper dates back to China in 589, but commercial toilet paper wasn't introduced in America until the mid-1800s.

8. Talking Dolls


In 1888, Thomas Edison created china dolls equipped with cylindrical phonographs with pre-recorded messages.

9. The Parachute

Leonardo da Vinci sketched a conical parachute circa 1485. In 2000, Adrian Nicholas successfully tested da Vinci's design!

10. Alcohol

The earliest evidence of alcohol distillation comes from southern Italy in the 12th century, as well as regions of China during the same period. Modern distillation began with the invention of the continuous still in the 1800s.

And in 1860 and 1948 respectively, Hendrick’s Gin's Bennett and Carter-Head stills were created, kicking off what would later become a curiously unusual gin that was itself well ahead of its time.

For a taste of truly delightful gin distilled in absurdly small batches, with 11 botanicals and the infusions of rose and cucumber, we recommend you try Hendrick’s Gin.

Please enjoy the unusual responsibly.
Great cocktails start with responsible measuring.