How to say “It’s not rocket science” before rockets existed

Prior to the invention of rockets, was there a phrase equivalent to: “it’s not rocket science”? If so, what was it?

Here I am looking for a phrase that makes a comparison with a difficult job/task, so “easy as pie” wouldn’t work. I’m also looking for a phrase that would also have been used before modern medicine. Thus, something different from, “it’s not brain surgery”.

To clarify: I’m looking for a phrase that was actually used in the English language. It could have been used in any English speaking country. Any time prior to when the expression “it’s not brain surgery” might have been used, so earlier than probably 1930 or 40.


You need not be a wizard.


  1. a person who practices magic; magician or sorcerer.

  2. a person of amazing skill or accomplishment: a wizard at chemistry.

(Random House)

But one need not be a wizard to foresee by now that the outbreak of a revolutionary movement on the Communist order, in a Europe laid waste by a long war, will result in an era of anarchy, misery and extermination. (Google Books, 1940)

Financial geniuses are rare. Many men get wealthy through persistent plugging. You need not be a wizard. Just common sense will put you where the wolf will never molest your door. (Virginia Chronicle, 1921)

Source : Link , Question Author : spacetyper , Answer Author : Elian

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