Rope is one of the most ancient tools used by early men and ancient civilizations. Most likely, the first ropes were just natural vines that men used for pulling loads. Later on, these fibers were interwoven with others to form the earliest man made ropes. While these were very weak compared to today standards, they were more useful and resistant than natural vines, and performed better.
As groups of men gathered together and different activities started to appear, rope was increasingly used in several applications. When animals started to be gathered and have owners, ropes were used to keep them from escaping. Farming and food gathering became more efficient when ropes were used to pull bigger loads. And when men started to develop spears for hunting and war making, piercing objects were fastened to long poles with rope. Given all of these, it can be said that the invention of rope was as important as the discovery of fire and the wheel for the development of early human groups.
In fact, the activity of rope making and the techniques of rope use also advanced with time. Since ropes are not very useful without rope knots, workers started to experiment with new ways of entangling rope in order to get a better grip.
Over the millennia, this resulted in several types of rope knots that have different characteristics and properties. Rope knots are so important that learning them and their different applications is an important part of the training of several professions, such as scouts, climbers, firemen, soldiers, sailors, etc. In some professions, for example firemen, it’s very important to decide with very little time the types of rope knots that are useful for a given situation and being able to do it in very little time. Also, it is not a secret that boy scouts and similar associations teach how to do rope knots to their members.
While most of us only know how to make the rope knots that tie our shoes, it can be useful to know a couple more. Many times, drivers who fasten loads on top of their cars lose them because they used the same rope knots that they use on their shoes. Not only they lose their load, they also create a big safety risk for the passengers of the cars behind them.
If you would like to know more about rope knots, you can find several books on them. Some of them are simple and teach you the basics, and others are aimed at the expert rope worker that knows the difference between a loop, an elbow, and a bight. You can also find videos on the Internet that show you how to tie various rope knots step by step. It isn’t really difficult, it just takes some practice.