This article gives a historical overview of structural and mechanical systems with friction. Friction forces between sliding surfaces arise due to complex mechanisms and lead to mathematical models which are highly nonlinear, discontinuous and nonsmooth. Humankind has a long history of magnificent usage of friction in machines, buildings and transportation. Regardless, our state of knowledge of the friction-influenced dynamics occurring in such systems as well as in our daily lives was, until recently, rather primitive. To represent our understanding of friction in nonlinear dynamics, we first trace examples from the earliest prehistoric technologies and the formulation of dissipation laws in mechanics. The work culminates with examples of friction oscillators and stick-slip. This review article contains 304 references.