The branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.

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103 views

Early Telegraph Systems

My understanding of telegraphs is that you can only send one message at a time over one cable, if that is not accurate then this question is pointless. I am curious how telegraph communication was ...
2
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0answers
100 views

Where can I get information used to make soviet economic plans?

One of the information used by Gosplan to create plans was a list of commodities and relationships between them, i.e. what things were required to produce other things. I managed to find higher level ...
8
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5answers
257 views

When and how did the West lose its dependency on the USSR for Titanium?

This question was prompted by another one. A long time ago, before I well-documented my internet research, I looked into the history of Titanium, its procurement, refinement, and work-ability. I ...
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3answers
202 views

What was the first major technological advancement that occurred after the fall of the Roman Empire? [closed]

Popular perception is that technology and science stopped advancing for quite some time after the fall of the Roman Empire. Is this true? Or were significant advances steadily made, just at a slower ...
2
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1answer
130 views

Did cakes exist before the discovery of sodium bicarbonate?

I recently learned that baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) was only discovered in the 19th century, which made me wonder - did cakes as we think of them exist before that?
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1answer
71 views

Native American Technology [closed]

I want to know about Native American history. I am young, so I have not learned a awful lot about them. I want to know what kind of things they used for technology, and for what. So my question is: ...
28
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1answer
3k views

How much were telegraphists in the 1950s paid?

I'm doing some research for a small project, and am having some difficulty finding information on telegraphists as a whole. The information I'm trying to find is rather specific, and I can't seem to ...
4
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3answers
283 views

How did 2nd century Romans decide where to build Hadrian's wall?

How did 2nd century Romans decide where to build Hadrian's wall? It is located exactly at the narrowest east-west section of the island. They had no laser theodolites, lenses, aerial observation ...
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1answer
235 views

What was the primary reason for the rise and success of the Roman republic / empire? [closed]

The Roman republic and its successor, the Roman empire, were extremely successful. The territory of the empire did encompass several times the size of the early republic. What was the primary cause ...
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2answers
150 views

What impact did the rocket inventions of the German rockeeters have on WW2? [closed]

I'm a fourth year student in secondary school, I'm currently writing an essay regarding the Second World War, and would love to hear your thoughts on the question "What impact did the rocket ...
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2answers
106 views

What was the output of a Bessemer Converter?

Henry Bessemer's Bessemer converter is generally understood to be the technology that created the concept of industrial-scale steelmaking, but what constitutes "industrial-scale"? The Wikipedia page ...
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1answer
92 views

Is there a historical reason for a pattern of worse technological standards beating out better ones? [closed]

Here are some examples of technological standards: • Dvorak versus Qwerty keyboards. Qwerty won despite yielding lower word-per-minute rates of average users. • Betamax vs VHS. VHS won despite the ...
4
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1answer
194 views

Did Ancient Rome use lead styli?

Is wikipedia correct to say: The original form of "lead pencil" was the leaden stylus used by the ancient Romans, who also used it to write on wood or papyrus by leaving dark streaks where the ...
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2answers
116 views

What did the technologies of von Braun and other members of the Third Reich contribute to America's lead in the race to moon against Russia?

Wernher von Braun was lead constructor/technologist for the Apollo missions, and provided his knowledge about rocket science, which he used/learned during WW2 when constructing the V2 (along with some ...
4
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5answers
233 views

How common is “decades ahead of his time” in real history?

The idea of a super-scientist who invents things that no contemporary is able to equal because he's just that smart is a common trope in works of fiction, especially of the sci-fi or superhero ...
13
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4answers
1k views

Why was decimal time unsuccessful?

Under the metric system (and later SI), units of weight can be related to each other based on multiples of ten (e.g. 1 metric tonne = 1,000 kg = 1,000 × 1,000 g). Likewise with length (e.g. 1 ...
20
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2answers
3k views

What is the name of the theory that says an early discovery can stop technological development?

Some time ago I read a claim that an early discovery can lead to a great scientific stagnation. The example given was the Chinese porcelain, that resolved all the known problems, and stopped the ...
2
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1answer
97 views

Other possible inventors of the Transistor?

From Wikipedia's Article on the History of the Transistor: The Bell Labs work on the transistor emerged from war-time efforts to produce extremely pure germanium "crystal" mixer diodes, used in ...
7
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3answers
266 views

How would a 16-17th Century European Rapier have been made?

I've done a little reading on sand and permanent casting but a rapier seems like it may be thin for that kind of manufacture. What methods and tools would have been used to make it? (Please provide ...
5
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2answers
369 views

Travelling by a Viking ship

What it was like to travel on a Viking ship back then? Please, focus on these points: How long it would take for a Viking raider group to get to their favourite destinations using a Viking warship? ...
9
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1answer
267 views

1850s steel technology advance before the Bessemer converter

The Bessemer converter is often cited as the critical invention causing a breakout in the production of cheap steel and enabling the industrial revolution. However, I just put together this chart ...
2
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2answers
506 views

How was iron obtained in ancient times? [closed]

Today we have advanced machines to mine iron, but it was not so a millennium ago. How did our ancestors locate the presence of iron deposits, mine them and make weapons out of them? How did they ...
2
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1answer
186 views

Has anybody ever tried to use sea animals to pull a ship?

Given that many land animals throughout history were harnessed to pull land vehicles (horses, bulls, dogs, deer, elephants etc), I wonder whether anyone ever tried or suggested to use sea or river ...
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1answer
329 views

Why was Europe so technologically and culturally advanced? [closed]

In history, why were European populations so advanced, if compared to other populations, such as native Americans? What's the reason why Europeans were so good in technology and science? Why did ...
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1answer
249 views

Who invented the Airplane? [closed]

When I was in first grade I was told it was the Wright brothers who invented the airplane and I still find their names on the first page of Google. But I have heard of an Indian who invented the ...
12
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3answers
386 views

The Purpose of Mystery Object 40.9.11

In the summer of 1915, a wireless telegraph station in Sayville, Long Island owned by the German company Telefunken was caught sending covert commands to U-Boats patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. The ...
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1answer
155 views

Did the ancient Chinese use an ink covered finger to sign documents?

I saw some film that in imperial China, Chinese who doesn't know read and write often push his/her finger in ink then apply it in the document instead of signing. Is that true in history? Because I ...
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4answers
2k views

How come all the major WW1 rifles were bolt action?

The main disadvantage of bolt action is that one has to remove the right hand from the trigger which leads to slower rate of fire. Neither lever nor pump have this problem. Rate of fire was viewed as ...
2
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1answer
388 views

What is the oldest excavated/discovered piece of silk textile made for clothing or writing?

Chu manuscript dating back to circa 300 B.C., middle of the Warring States era. Mawangdui robe's dating back to ~ 200..150 B.C., beginning of the Western Han. Do you know any older examples of ...
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1answer
97 views

Morse code is a ternary human-optimised code, is there a binary, non-machine optimised code? [closed]

http://cs.stackexchange.com/questions/34067/is-morse-code-without-spaces-uniquely-decipherable Discusses how Morse code isn't very clear without the third (usually) unseen element, the space. Is ...
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1answer
169 views

How were the first computers on the internet connected? [closed]

The internet started as a small "net" of interconnected computers, but how were those computers connected? Was a chip manufactured to be installed onto the computer? Was it software?
2
votes
1answer
257 views

Why did the Nazis invent videotelephony?

This claim that the Nazis invented two-way video telephony is astonishing and I almost thought it was a hoax. Except it's not, because it's copiously referenced to contemporary sources. So other than ...
2
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3answers
2k views

When was flat glass invented? [closed]

The question is pretty simple. I'm quite curious about since when we are lucky to have windows with glass in them. And since when is there faint glass that isn't perfectly see-through?
7
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2answers
181 views

Were new forms of communication and media usually condemned similar to how television/video games are now?

I'm sure anyone who is reading this has read at least an article, blog, or book condemning the consumption of television and video games as harmful to children, the behavior of teenagers, intelligence ...
2
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1answer
798 views

What machine technology did the Egyptians have to build the great pyramids?

Reading the "Account of Egypt" by Herodotus, it says of the great pyramid of "Cheops" (Macauley translation): This pyramid was made after the manner of steps which some called "rows" and others ...
3
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1answer
160 views

What was the available level of agricultural technology in late 2nd century China?

How would you characterize the situation of the agricultural technology around the time of the Yellow Turban rebellion (A.D. 184-205), when technological breakthroughs were yet about to come?
12
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2answers
285 views

What kind of device is pictured on this Roman mosaic from Villa Tellaro, Sicily?

Based on numismatic evidence, this is dated in the second half of the fourth century CE
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5answers
698 views

The Needham Question: What stunted China's technological and proto-scientific advancement?

According to Joseph Needham Why did modern science, the mathematization of hypotheses about Nature, with all its implications for advanced technology, take its meteoric rise only in the West at ...
2
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1answer
192 views

Technology and status symbols that predate language [closed]

I remember distinctly reading about peoples and cultures - in, I believe, the Caucasus - that used to knap large flakes of flint into spearheads and would use them (instead of actual tools) as status ...
4
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1answer
127 views

Row for powers of 10 on 1950's French typewriter keyboards

In the movie Populaire, 1950's-era French typewriter keyboards are shown with dedicated "1", "10", "100", "1...", "10...", "100...", "1M", and "10M" keys on the top row. Was there a dedicated type ...
2
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1answer
67 views

What computer was used in 1958 for handwriting recognition by Dimond?

I've just seen that the article Dimond, T. L. "Devices for Reading Handwritten Characters". Papers and Discussions. Presented at the December 9-13, 1957, Eastern Joint Computer Conference: ...
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1answer
1k views

Did the cold war affect the development of the internet?

What were the influence of the Cold War in the internet origin or their development. Did DARPA's support of the creation of the internet explicitly address cold war fears? The cold war was the ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Did Marco Polo write about or bring back fireworks from his travels?

I have read a lot of anecdotal accounts claiming that Marco Polo was "impressed" with fireworks he saw in Cathay, and other stories that he "brought back fire crackers" or "introduced gunpowder" to ...
4
votes
2answers
251 views

How was Euclid's Elements likely written?

How was Euclid's Elements written? I mean, what type of paper, ink and pen did Euclid likely use? As I guess there is no definite answer on this, you can also answer: How did people in 300 BC write ...
4
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5answers
459 views

Why did email use develop in tandem with the internet, rather than other technologies?

During the 1980s, I envisioned a (primitive) version of email that would come off telex machines. That is, a person would sit down at a keyboard, create a document, store it on a cartridge, stick the ...
1
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1answer
115 views

Which was more revolutionary for its time: Television or Radio? [closed]

In terms of broadcast technologies, which was seen as more revolutionary for its time: television or radio? How was each technology utilized in terms of its intended purpose and audience/users in its ...
56
votes
3answers
10k views

When did bombs actually look like this?

I guess most are familiar with the cartoonish "bomb icon". It is used to warn of metaphorical or literal explosive danger and shows a deep black sphere with a smaller cylinder attached. That is where ...
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9answers
2k views

What is the best historical example of conflict between two cultures with differing levels of technology? [closed]

Let me start with some background, in fiction authors like to explore situations where the human race meets another civilization. As a rule of thumb both races in one way or another - sometimes after ...
4
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1answer
368 views

Invention of Planned Obsolescence

Excluding style obsolescence or any type of advertising, when was the first form of planned obsolescence concerning shortening the life of a product by making it break sooner or forcing a consumer to ...
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3answers
795 views

Why only in the last few hundred year has science and technology progressed like it has [closed]

Man has been on the Earth for millions of years. But in only the last few hundred years, science has made major advances: the average life expectancy expanded, electronics, transistors, ...