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Questions tagged [engineering]

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18
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2answers
1k views

Why did Jodrell Bank assist the Soviet Union to collect data from their spacecraft in the mid 1960's?

I've just listened to the short BBC News audio podcast clip How British academics spied on the superpowers: Tim O’Brien from the Jodrell Bank radio telescope discusses 50 year old recordings which ...
5
votes
2answers
469 views

How long did it take a typical capital warship to ramp up to flank speed?

For a typical capital warship (including aircraft carriers) of any navy circa 1920s-1960s I am looking for a rough power ramp up time for the power plant to go from min load to max load. That is to ...
7
votes
1answer
943 views

In what year did Charles Proteus Steinmetz fix Ford's Generator for the famed $10,000 invoice?

Charles Proteus Steinmetz is the protagonist of an interesting tale about fixing a generator at Ford's plant. Unfortunately the Smithsonian Magazine does not state the year in which the incident ...
5
votes
1answer
369 views

Where is (or was) the biggest medieval drawbridge?

A pretty straightforward question. I'm trying to find the largest drawbridge in medieval Europe, and it's more difficult than it seemed at first. At least I want to know if it would be possible to ...
3
votes
0answers
67 views

Electromagnetic roadway cleaning

In the first half of the 20th century, tires were more often punctured, so metal waste on the roadway was a bigger problem. "Lorries, Trucks and Vans 1897-1927" features an electromagnetic road ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Why did Chicago and other cities choose an L (elevated metro) when most others chose underground subways?

From my related question, I'm trying to understand the decision-making that went into metro/subway design. Why did Chicago choose an elevated metro system instead of an underground subway? Most other ...
55
votes
9answers
20k views

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

Starting with the London Underground in 1863, why are so many metros/subways built underground (as opposed to en elevated metro)? This requires a lot of digging and excavation, which to me seems a lot ...
11
votes
2answers
849 views

Would every Roman army have dedicated engineers?

Would a Roman army have dedicated engineers to design and build the siege engines (onagers, scorpions etc)? Would the engineers be expected to fight? Personally, I am particularly interested in what ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How advanced were the people of Indus valley civilization in engineering? [closed]

How advanced were the people of Indus valley civilization in engineering aspects compared with other civilizations during or before their time?
5
votes
2answers
689 views

Why did the USSR switch from 1524 mm gauge to 1520 mm gauge in the late 1960's?

This article mentions that Russia started with a 1,524 mm rail gauge, and in the sixties and seventies, switched to a 1,520 mm rail gauge with tighter tolerances. Why do this? If you want tighter ...
10
votes
2answers
911 views

Did Archimedes have any students?

We know that Archimedes learnt a lot from his father, Phidias (who was an astronomer) and most likely studied in Alexandria, alongside other great contemporaries such as Eratosthenes of Cyrene and ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

What were Greek and Roman sails made from?

I have found that Vikings used sails made from wool; can anyone tell me what the sails of ancient Greece and Rome would have been made from?
8
votes
1answer
333 views

How long did it take to build earth dikes with low-tech tools?

Let's say you're in charge of a group of laborers anywhere from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages. Your job is to build a dike made of earth, a couple of meters high and presumably about the same width ...
2
votes
0answers
180 views

How close did the French come to digging a canal across the Isthmus of Kra in the 1880s?

Ferdinand de Lesseps is known to history as the man who pushed through the construction of the Suez Canal in the 1860s. Later (from 1880 onward) he led an attempt to dig a canal through Panama, but ...
18
votes
10answers
28k views

Are steam engines still in regular use anywhere in the world?

Are there any countries in which steam engines have a regular purpose, or are still dominant on the railway? When did they officially fade out of use in the western world? In Australia at least, they ...
2
votes
1answer
232 views

What is the history of Research and Development laboratories?

When did Research and Development laboratories (R&D labs) emerge? What was the institutional and intellectual context? Have they undergone major changes in their nature? What role have R&D ...