Technological Advances in Weapons Throughout the Years

How weapons have changed throughout the past several millennia

Source: Library of Congress

Source: Library of Congress

By: Josephine Huynh, Journalist

Weapons are one of the most important things in war. Weapons are also an important part of hunting, and are sometimes used for sports. The world has been through many different wars and conflicts over the past few billions of years. Wars have been started over many things, from something as insignificant as the killing of a pig to rising tensions and the assassination of a royal heir, we can see how people have disputed different matters throughout the years. Between all of the wars and conflicts that have happened in our world’s history, there have been many technological advances and changes in the weaponry. Humans have gone from using rocks and wooden or stone clubs so that they could hunt to building nuclear bombs and missiles in order to settle conflicts, and it’s safe to say that we have come a long way since ancient times.

The bow and arrow were used for millennia to hunt and battle. Although the bow and arrow are often mainly associated with archery in today’s time, it was a very effective weapon back in the day. Instead of being made with wood, metal and plastic like bows often are now, bows used to be made of primarily just wood. The string of a bow’s material has changed over the years too. The string of a bow has been made from materials such as plant fibers, silk, linen, hemp, and more. Nowadays, strings are often made from what are known as composite fibers. Composite fibers include Vectran and Dyneema. Vectran is a fiber that is manufactured from liquid crystal polymer, and Dyneema is made through a process called polyethylene crystallization. Both of these fibers are very strong, and are suitable for making bows. However, a bow would be almost completely useless without arrows. Arrows have been made from materials as simple as a stick of wood and a few pieces of stone to being made out of aluminum, fiberglass, and other materials.

Swords are another weapon that were created and used. These were first forged from copper, and were often bent out of shape easily due to how weak copper is. Bronze then started being used and was a bit stronger than copper swords. Swordsmiths could change the hardness and strength of a sword by manipulating the amount of tin in the sword, which is what made bronze swords so much better than copper ones.

Guns began replacing swords around the Renaissance Era. They packed much more of a punch penetrating a target than a sword, and were much more compact than a bow. With just one press of a trigger, you could launch a deadly projectile at somebody with ease. It’s easy to see why guns had replaced previous weapons in hunting and warfare. Guns work when the trigger is pressed, releasing a firing pin. The firing pin sparks a reaction and ignites a part of the cartridge in the barrel that fires the gun.

What could possibly be more effective than a gun? The answer to that question is planes. To be more specific, fighter jets. Fighter jets can move around quickly, which already makes them much better than a simple gun. They also launch projectiles, just as a gun would do. Fighter jets don’t have to touch down on the ground in order to attack, as they attack from above. They don’t have to stay for long too, since they can just fly over, cause some destruction, and leave the area as soon as the job’s done. Fighter jets were seen more often around the mid 1940s, and many powerful countries now include an Air Force as a part of their military.

In conclusion, we have come a long way since the basic club or stick we broke off of trees. We started with the bow and arrow, next the sword, then the gun, and last the fighter yet. Of course there were other weapons created and used between these, but I feel that these best represent how we’ve advanced through the past millennia.