Questions tagged [historical-techniques]

For questions on how certain products, processes, activities, etc were created or performed in history. Questions on techniques in researching history, known as historical methods, should use the historiography tag.

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33
votes
3answers
8k views

How were medieval castles built in swamps or marshes without draining them?

By this, I mean a castle built without terraforming or draining the swamp; a castle that was built while keeping the swamp intact. Inspired by Monty Python Since apparently, castles built in marshes ...
7
votes
3answers
327 views

Why were type bar designs so popular compared to type ball/wheel designs for manual typewriters?

During the era of the typewriter there were a few kinds of basic designs. The (afaik) most well known is the type bar design, where each key is connected to an individual type bar that hits the paper ...
2
votes
1answer
224 views

What techniques were used to make rings in medieval times?

There is a lot of information on the internet regarding the process by which rings are made today using modern tools. What techniques were used before the 17th century to do it?
6
votes
1answer
223 views

How long did it take to bind a book in 13th century England?

I am looking for information on the time it took for the construction and binding of books in particular, not the writing or copying of them. So, considering that the material is ready to be bound, ...
2
votes
2answers
116 views

How were the hides of wild beasts cured and tanned back in the 11th century? [closed]

I am currently running a roleplaying game where my player wants to work as a tanner but being honest i have no clue about how tanning and curing worked back when modern chemicals or equipment didn't ...
2
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1answer
277 views

What was the source for Adam's children in the endnotes to Josephus' “The Antiquities of the Jews”?

I was reading Josephus' account of Adam's children in "The Antiquities of the Jews" (located in Book 1, Chapter 2) and noticed that the total number of children that Adam had was not in the text ...
8
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3answers
1k views

How was body temperature checked before thermometers?

Medicine always advances, and it's obvious that many decades or centuries ago, some medical procedures were done differently. I'd like to find out about how body temperature was checked in the past ...
1
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2answers
341 views

Did any ancient historian consider Tiberius' first year as Emperor to be the first year of his co-regency with Augustus?

Out of curiosity, did any ancient historian consider Tiberius' first year as Emperor to be the first year of his co-regency with Augustus? According to an answer to a question on Hermeneutics ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Study of causal structures and dynamics in history?

I was not really sure how to phrase this question, but ok, let me try nonetheless. My background is in natural sciences, but I have always been interested in history as well. Over past years I have ...
8
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4answers
2k views

When did leaf springs appear in vehicles?

Passenger vehicles require suspensions for ride comfort. Most today use helical springs, but leaf springs were at one time a major advance over chain or leather strap suspensions, and are still used ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Were door keyholes able to be peered through? [closed]

Spying and subterfuge in videos games and films sometimes show characters peering through keyholes to see into the room beyond. Was there a point in time at which keyholes were actually manufactured ...
3
votes
2answers
131 views

When did spotlights begin to be used at lectures?

I am going to be performing as Mark Twain in 1896, and want it to be as authentic as possible, even to the technology used (I am willing to use a mic when and if necessary, but only if it can be ...
5
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0answers
91 views

What type and size of paper, and corresponding to which modern font, would have been used for typewriters in 1896?

I am going to be doing a first-person performance of an 1896 lecture; the subject being "impersonated" (Mark Twain) sometimes carried sheaves of paper onto the platform; some of these sheets contained ...
9
votes
2answers
416 views

How did lecturers magnify their voice in the days before amplification?

I am going to be portraying Mark Twain on the lecture circuit circa 1896. I want to make the performance as realistic as possible, so that the sufferers (audience) can adopt a "willing suspension of ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

Are quantitative or mathematical methods becoming more dominant in the 21st century historical research? [closed]

Most people think that history is all about reading important events in the form of a story or narrative. Rarely do they associate the study of history with mathematics or any quantitative ...
3
votes
1answer
405 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?
1
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0answers
164 views

How exactly was the Second Temple destroyed?

What is known regarding the techniques used to destroy the Second Temple? It was quite a large set of buildings made of stone blocks, and Romans didn't know (afaik) explosive techniques good for ...
4
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3answers
4k views

Fish/Shark skin sandpaper

It seems to be a well-established fact that sharkskin was used as sandpaper. This includes the use of the skin of rays and dog sharks. My question is: A. how far back does this practice go? B. were ...
21
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5answers
14k views

What were shoe soles made from in previous ages?

Today, nearly all commercial footwear has a sole made of either rubber or plastic with rubber-like qualities. It's a great material for the job, but it comes from a tree that's native to the Americas,...
3
votes
1answer
192 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
342 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
992 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 ...