In Harry Potter's universe, much magic is involved in daily activities, ranging from a simple one used for cleaning to a very advanced one like creating a Horcrux. There are also muggles in this world. They can't use magic, but do have science/advanced technology.

My question:
Are there any muggle only science/technology things that are used by the magical society? And why they use/not use it?

Because this is Movies StackExchange, I prefer answers based on the movie. If you'd like to add the one from books, well go on.

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    It is interesting. Some muggle technology could save a lot of work even for wizzards. For example talking through fire is quite unefficient compare to cell phone (But Weasleys tried it :)). Do not forget the rule that in Hogwarts no muggle technology is working. I think it is also the reason why Steam train can not go directly to Hogwarts. interesting think is what is and what is not muggle technology. Basic mechanics is technology? :P Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 9:04
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    "muggle only science/technology ... used by the magical society." I don't really understand what you're looking for. If it's muggle only, it wouldn't be used by the magical society.
    – Aaganrmu
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 9:18
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    How technical is "technical"? Do you consider a hinge to be technology? Somebody had to invent it. What about a book, or vision correcting glasses, or clothes, or running water, or the gears on the back of a gringotts vault door, or musical instruments? Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 15:04
  • Aren't Dumbledoor's and others' eyeglasses considered "muggle technology"? They seem to work @ Hogwarts.
    – iMerchant
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 1:24
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    Trains, cars, motorbikes, books, plenty.
    – Mast
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 10:40

2 Answers 2


This is a community wiki post. Please feel free to add directly within this answer. If you can think of a technology to add, please do so at your leisure.

I'll interpret your phrase "muggle only technology" as something developed by muggles that came to be useful also by wizards.

There are probably very many, but I will start this off by mentioning some. Others are welcome to post here in order to make this a more complete answer:

  • The Hogwarts Express is a steam engine train. I am thinking that if it were driven by magic, then the steam would be unnecessary.

  • Mr. Weasley's car came in very handy. Other wizards have used cars, and there is also the Knight Bus.

  • The members of Dumbledore's Army were using a radio transmitter and radio receivers to communicate without the Death Eater's catching them.

  • Watches - Harry broke his during the second Triwizard trial. For a while afterwards, he kept wearing it out of habit so we can assume that telling time isn't naturally a wizardy thing.

  • Cameras - Colin Creevey and various members of the daily prophet use cameras though they develop the film in a special potion.

  • Medicines - In Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Newt mentions that wizard anatomy is subtly different from no-majes', so the venom of a beast which bit Jacob affected him more strongly than it might have any other wizard. As magic-use is activated at the gene-level, perhaps there's a natural resistance to some magical materials like the venom of this creature, much like how Hagrid can resist many offensive spells due to his half-giant lineage.

  • Indoor plumbing - Multiple movies have shots inside of bathrooms. You can clearly see toilets and sinks that appear to be porcelain.

  • Hagrid rides an enchanted flying motorcycle in two of the films.

  • Spectacles - Harry Potter wears those glasses in all movies

  • Locks - Most of the locks in the books are accessed by normal keys, even Moody's seven compartment magical trunk has seven keys to open its seven locks.
  • Elevators - Tn The Deathly Hallows Part I, the Ministry of Magic is shown to have elevators (although it's quite possible that the actual movement is supplied magically).
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    I think you are all correct. As this is a community wiki post, you are free to go ahead and add it the list in the post above. I encourage you all to do it.@Vahn
    – John
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 16:29
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    I remember Arthur Weasley enthusiastically agreeing to get stitches for his cuts from a doctor combining muggle and magic. Contrast Molly getting shocked from the very idea of stitches on human skin. Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 17:07
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    Many of these demonstrate magical effects when used, though - the car (it can fly), cameras (is the movement really just a special potion? I suspect the camera is magical in some way), radio (in the books I think they needed to know a password or something?) - so it's entirely possible that they're purely magical and just copy their external design from the muggle equivalent.
    – Tin Wizard
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 21:14
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    I personally thinking of non-technological stuff. For example, do wiazrds do math or just waving their wand and magic do the rest? Another example, Do wizards applied some physic theory to their magical stuff? (Like Portkey, is this thing create some kind of mini black hole and teleports people?). Well, I don't have evidence though :D
    – Vahn
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 1:41
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    The radio point was removed so I removed my comment but it's been put back in so I'll say it again - the radio the DA used was magical, a Wizarding Wireless that picks up magical radio stations and requires a wand to operate, the channel was password protected which is how the Death Eaters didn't overhear them. Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 8:45

Even if something is manufactured magically, it's Muggle tech if it was designed by Muggles and works without magic once created.

A huge amount of the ordinary things we see in the movies are technology. Old and familiar technology, but if you were sent back in time to the stone age, or stranded on a desert island, could you make them yourself in under an hour? (You don't even have to draw the line there, but using a rock as a tool probably doesn't count as a technology.)

You might not think of your shoes as "technology", but someone invented them. Modern sneakers are made out of a lot of different modern materials to achieve light weight, good padding, and good grip on the soles. Not to mention the exact shape to provide support for the foot. All this stuff is non-trivial, and isn't something you'd just know how to design well if you didn't have a reference while you were creating footwear by magic.

A wizard would probably have to put a lot more effort into making some of these things that were permanently enchanted to provide these qualities without modern Muggle designs and materials.

  • Clothing: (woven / knit fabrics and textiles), buttons, (zippers?). Insulating fabrics.
  • Shoes made of modern materials, e.g. rubber soles. Modern leather shoes are non-trivial pieces of design, too, even if the material they're made of is an ancient tech.
  • Glass windows, doors with hinges, doorknobs, locks. (Many structures as a whole seem to be magic, otherwise they'd fall down, so I'm not including house / castle construction techniques. But clearly wizard housing is based on Muggle design ideas.)
  • Indoor plumbing / taps / flush toilets / ceramic fixtures.
  • Wooden & upholstered furniture (chairs, tables), beds
  • Pottery: plates, bowls, cups.
  • Bookbinding: The movies definitely depict modern-style books. This kind of binding definitely post-dates the earliest wizards.
  • Metal utensils, like cutlery (knives and forks).
  • Metal weapons: Bellatrix has a dagger/knife in movie 7
  • Candles / lamps. (Not sure whether lighting is usually pure Muggle and actually burning fuel, or whether it's more usually magic.)
  • Optics: glasses. Perhaps magical optics (like Mad-Eye's eye) have some components that take advantage of some non-magical physics.
  • Boats
  • The wheel, seen in the movies on horse-drawn carriages, if we want to get really old-tech

IDK how long the Wizarding community has existed hidden from the mainstream, but many of these things were developed after that split. And definitely what's shown in the movies is a modern version of every technology, so wizards keep checking in on Muggle tech to update their designs, or else wizards simply buy Muggle-manufactured goods.

If you expand the criteria to include magic versions of Muggle tech, then most common objects are recognizable as a "wizard version" of a Muggle design, serving the same purpose in a similar way. (e.g. photographs, marauder's map, knight bus).

A wand is one of the few physical objects common in the wizarding world that isn't obviously inspired or derived from a Muggle object, but even wands are made of wood in a way that could be done non-magically with woodworking techniques. (There are many un-common magic objects that are uniquely magical, like a pensieve, but most wizards don't have one.)

Flying brooms have the same shape as a Muggle object, but are clearly a separate technology altogether. Similarly, many wizard travel and long-distance-communication "technologies" have no Muggle inspiration.

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    I feel like stuff like glass or clothing is a little too basic to mention. It gets close to "they breath the same air"
    – Marv
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 15:34
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    @Marv: Hardly. Nobody had to invent air, and lungs evolved. I'm trying to make the point that we take for granted a lot of technology that doesn't involve electricity or other power-sources. Wizards didn't invent woven fabrics for themselves, they copied Muggle designs. And they keep updating their copies as Muggles refine the designs. (Or they just plain buy Muggle-made stuff, which is exactly what this question is asking about. In that case, the fabrics might well be made of synthetic fibers, which is a tech that's less than 100 years old, IIRC.) Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 15:38
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    This whole answer needs to be prefixed with "assuming non-magical beings originated first in the Harry Potter universe" which as far as I know is not confirmed. Wizards can breed non-wizards so it could be that everyone's ancestors were magic and squibs started taking over. Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 20:48
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    @CrowTRobot Sure, but at some point it just boils down to "does the question itself actually make any sense, or does it need to be improved?"
    – Tin Wizard
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 21:18
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    @CrowTRobot: ah, interesting point. IDK why I focused on techs that post-date the earliest recorded wizard history. But they say that necessity is the mother of invention, so I imagine wizards being generally unlikely to invent purely non-magical thing. I imagine that magical solutions to problems are the go-to for wizards. Maybe things were different in pre-historic times, where cave-wizards had needs so basic that their ability to manipulate matter with magic made them much more able to invent/design things than cave-muggles. (But magic was probably less advanced then?) Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 1:45

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