Here is the essential guide to the history of technology, an authoritative reference book and timeline that examines how tools have built our civilisation, changed our environment, and could even alter our species. The term technology is frequently associated with modernity and the possibilities of the future. However, we have been using technologies since before the dawn of history. Even then we were machine builders. A neolithic hand axe is a wedge-shaped cutter that works in essentially the same way as a razor blade, while a potter’s wheel is the same as the gear transmission of a Formula-1 car.The difference is simply the application of novel materials, and the many ages of technology are closely linked to them — bronze, iron, steel, glass, silicon…What will be the materials of tomorrow’s technology? Superconductors that carry current with perfect efficiency, smart materials that alter their shapes to suit the conditions, or nanorobots built from just a few dozen atoms, that work unseen everywhere, even inside our bodies? Only time, and a lot of invention, will tell.