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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13
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4answers
902 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 ...
19
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7answers
8k views

How do Tamahagane, Damascus, and Toledo Steel compare?

Has a comparison been made of the qualities of Samurai (Tamahagane), Damascus and Toledo steel (rather than the swords)? I've seen claims for each being better than the others. If it's on topic, I'm ...
8
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5answers
562 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 ...
19
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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
76 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 ...
12
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2answers
251 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
7
votes
0answers
130 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 ...
3
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7answers
820 views

What went wrong with India's scientific development as a society?

India had been among the "leaders" in scientific research spanning Mathematics, Medicine, Chemistry and others. ...
8
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1answer
92 views

Where would I find Graham Bell's kite experiment data?

I'm looking for experimental data (lift, drag, pull, etc...) of Graham Bell's tetrahedral kite. As he was a scientist and inventor I thought that he might have written some quantitative data down on ...
38
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10answers
7k views

When were swords last used in European warfare?

Specifically, I'm interested in the last documented occurrence of swords (of any sort) being used as a primary weapon by infantrymen or cavalrymen in Western warfare. That is, when did any European or ...
12
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3answers
343 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Who were the Wright brothers' competitors?

I heard that there was a person who was sponsored by the government to make the first flying airplane. The Wright brothers beat him to it and this made him really depressed and he gave up his career. ...
6
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2answers
130 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 ...
3
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2answers
210 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? ...
10
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3answers
449 views

Was the German Empire responsible for the advancement of German technology?

After the creation of the German Empire in 18 January 1871, there was a boom of advancement in Germany. Especially in chemistry, motors and electricity. At the same time Germany quickly grew as an ...
2
votes
2answers
191 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
171 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 ...
51
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5answers
2k views

How accurate or supported is Jared Diamond's “Guns, Germs, and Steel”?

Jared Diamond wrote a fascinating book that purports to explain, in a very broad way, the development of civilization. It has several explanations for the development of Eurasian civilization rather ...
0
votes
1answer
187 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
617 views

What Was the State of German Tank Design In Between the World Wars?

I am reading about the Spanish Civil War in a book by Antony Beevor entitled "The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939". According to Beevor while the nationalists were able to control ...
1
vote
1answer
209 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
220 views

Printing - When did advertisements in colour became commonplace?

I wonder when colourful advertisements became commonplace in print (such as magazines or occasionally newspapers). I can imagine that colourful printing was far more expensive - so at what point did ...
0
votes
1answer
174 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 ...
19
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3answers
4k views

To what extent did Native American cultures develop metalworking for tools and weapons?

When Europeans started showing up in the New World, the native cultures were technologically far behind. Many still used stone tools: North American tribes used flint, while some Mesoamerican cultures ...
7
votes
4answers
852 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 ...
53
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Did the Chinese Develop Steam Engines Prior to the 17th Century?

I vaguely remember seeing a documentary on the history channel that was discussion on ancient Chinese technology. The basic theme of the program was that China developed many industrial technologies ...
-1
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1answer
95 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 ...
2
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1answer
177 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 ...
-1
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1answer
84 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
100 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
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3answers
177 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?
1
vote
1answer
278 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
131 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?
14
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5answers
1k views

Is there any evidence that the Catholic Church slowed innovation during the Middle Ages?

I often hear that the rate of innovation was very high during ancient times in Greece and the Roman empire. I've also heard that the rate of innovation was reduced once the Catholic Church gained ...
2
votes
1answer
179 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 ...
46
votes
9answers
2k views

History of scientific regression [closed]

Throughout history, humans have made many subtle and many substantial scientific advancements. Humans have explored, examined, learned, applied and at times seemingly "forgotten" and/or were unable ...
4
votes
1answer
110 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
783 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
55 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: ...
4
votes
1answer
671 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
208 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
666 views

Why didn't the Persians make and use ballistas and other kinds of artillery?

In 1980 E.P.Thompson published an interesting paper called *Barbarian Invaders and Roman Collaborators *. Among other subjects he consdiers there the leakage from Rome to its enemies of technical ...
3
votes
4answers
297 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
vote
1answer
82 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 ...
21
votes
8answers
2k views

Did Heisenberg undermine the German atomic bomb by deliberately hiding his expertise from the Nazis?

Source. In his massive book Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the German Bomb, Thomas Powers says that Heisenberg, who never became a Nazi and balked at the immorality of building a bomb for ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

When and where did socks become common?

To be clear, I mean the socks you wear on your feet, to insulate you form your shoes/boots/other footwear. By common, I mean easily available to the masses, rather than just to the rich.
9
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
253 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 ...
-1
votes
3answers
491 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, ...