The use of tools by early humans was partly a process of discovery, partly of evolution.  This era of stone tool use is called the Paleolithic, or "Old stone age", and spans all of human history up to the development of agriculture approximately 12,000 years ago.
To make a stone tool, a "core" of hard stone with specific flaking properties (such as flint) was struck with a hammerstone. The earliest stone tools were crude, being little more than a fractured rock. Fire
 The exact date of its discovery is not known; evidence of burnt animal bones at the Cradle of Humankind suggests that the domestication of fire occurred before 1,000,000 BC; scholarly consensus indicates that Homo erectus had controlled fire by between 500,000 BC and 400,000 BC.Clothing and shelter
As the Paleolithic era progressed, dwellings became more sophisticated and more elaborate; as early as 380,000 BC, humans were constructing temporary wood huts.
Neolithic through classical antiquity (10,000BC – 300AD)The invention of polished stone axes was a major advance because it allowed forest clearance on a large scale to create farms.
Metal toolsThe advantages of copper tools over stone, bone, and wooden tools were quickly apparent to early humans, and native copper was probably used from near the beginning of Neolithic times (about 8000 BC).
Energy and transportMeanwhile, humans were learning to harness other forms of energy. It didn't take long to discover that wheeled wagons could be used to carry heavy loads and fast (rotary) potters' wheels enabled early mass production of pottery. But it was the use of the wheel as a transformer of energy (through water wheels, windmills, and even treadmills) that revolutionized the application of nonhuman power sources.
Medieval and modern history (300 AD —)
Main articles: Medieval technology, Renaissance technology, Industrial Revolution, Second industrial revolution, Productivity improving technologies (historical), and Information Technology
Scientific advancement and the discovery of new concepts later allowed for powered flight, and advancements in medicine, chemistry, physics and engineering. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a revolution in transportation with the invention of the steam-powered ship, train, airplane, and automobile. In physics, the discovery of nuclear fission has led to both nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Complex manufacturing and construction techniques and organizations are needed to construct and maintain these new technologies, and entire industries have arisen to support and develop succeeding generations of increasingly more complex tools.