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Monday, March 19, 2012

Let's Spring It Back: A Brief History of Springs

Though we at EBSCO like to look more towards the future in springs, we also feel it’s important to take a look in the past. Today, springs are used in many items we use every day, but the concept of the spring has been utilized by humans since the invention of the first bow and arrow; the bow essentially being a large spring used to launch an arrow through the air. So, from the time of the caveman till this modern age of robot technology, we’ve always been looking to the device that gives back…literally.

Though the most basic spring was a bow and arrow, the groundwork for modern-day springs was laid down by civilization's need for transportation. Some of the first springs found by archeologists were found on King Tut’s chariot some 1,300 years before the Common Era. Not everyone could afford the King’s suspension, but the King had a cushier ride than most. The Romans took spring-suspension a little bit further and finally, the first steel suspension system was invented by the French in the 1700’s.

Like many technological innovations, the next came about by way of defense as the famous Leonardo da Vinci invented a mechanism that allowed for a firearm to be triggered with one hand behind your back. This took place by winding a steel wheel that was wound on a spring to be released and make contact with a piece of iron pyrite to spark the gun powder in the pan. This later evolved into a hammer and firing pin which is still utilized in all firearms to this day.

As history progressed and civilization thrived, so did the need to keep better track of time.  Around the late 17th Century, Christian Huygens invented the first balanced spring to power the first generation of timepieces. Pocket watches remained the popular fashion for time-keepers until the wristwatch took off around World War I.

Today, springs are used in everything from staplers to medical robots and outer space exploration, but the technology has been in use since the dawn of civilization. For more on what springs can do for you, check out EBSCO Spring for more info. 

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