In a short timeframe, Earthlings have developed quite an array of fantastic technologies, perhaps spurred on by an industrial revolution owing to early and abundant access to fossil fuels. Go outside these days and you might see someone wearing an elaborate device on their head receiving ultra-high frequency radio waves from their personal supercomputer connected via more radio waves to an absolutely massive antenna which is part of a global network. These same supercomputers receive navigational data from a constellation of orbital devices thrown into the sky by really big, sustained explosions.
Many of these technologies are enabled mostly by some very specific materials. For example, a critical component of modern transmitters is the quartz crystal oscillator. But is quartz likely to be found on other planets? Would wireless technology of our capabilities have been possible if it wasn't - and spaceflight, at that? Perhaps life truly exists on many other planets, but not one in this galaxy was dealt the combination of materials to enable spaceflight.
So, the question: What materials are there that have enabled key technologies in human history (especially on the path to spaceflight) that could be very rare even on other earthlike planets? One that I have already mentioned might be fossil fuels, but I'd love to hear more detail on why fossil fuels might or might not be rare and what technologies they might be crucial for or if there are alternatives. I am more interested in identifying what these key materials are than the strict scientific likelihood that other earthlike planets may not contain them.