Questions tagged [technology]

Tag for questions on the application of theoretical or scientific knowledge for a practical objective, including methodologies, techniques, or processes.

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2
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2answers
225 views

Were there clay printing presses in the bronze age?

I'm no lithographer, but it seems to me that making a die cast out of metal, wood or stone, which could be pressed in to clay tablets to produce copies of its textual contents, would be easier than ...
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1answer
243 views

What key technologies allowed construction of the Gutenberg printing press?

First, what are the key technologies required in the construction of the Gutenberg printing press? According to Wikipedia, the key technology necessary is the screw press Given the answer to the above,...
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1answer
2k views

When did fluorescent lights become common in Europe?

In the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual, one suggestion for interfering with radio transmissions in occupied Europe is: Damaging insulation on any electrical equipment tends to create radio ...
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3answers
2k views

What was the device that general Birdwood was using in the “Gallipoli” TV series?

Since this is a question about historical detail, I think it suits more this site than Movies SE. The miniseries Gallipoli tells the story of the invasion on that peninsula during the Great War. I ...
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3answers
255 views

Why didn't Chiang mention technological self-reliance?

In China's Destiny & Chinese Economic Theory, Chiang Kai-Shek wrote that: The two most important ways to understand and utilize man's nature are: First, to preserve the inherited ethics of the ...
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1answer
266 views

Were blue-tinted glasses prevalent in Victorian England and, if so, why?

Whenever I happen to read Chesterton, Conan-Doyle or some other British writers of the era, there will occasionally be mentioned people wearing blue-tinted spectacles. Chesterton especially, in his ...
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2answers
235 views

When did households become electrified?

The first households were supplied with electricity in the 1880s (from wikipedia). I think by around 1950 most urban households in the US had electricity. Rural households got there a few years later? ...
56
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1answer
7k views

What fueled the street lights in 13th-century Cordoba?

Córdoba, Spain is often said to have had street lights in its Muslim period, which ended in 1236. How did those street lights work? In Lawrence of Arabia, Prince Faisal was dramatized as having said ...
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2answers
218 views

Why did mass production have to wait until the Industrial Revolution?

We're generally told that mass production and the Industrial Revolution go hand in hand, that the Industrial Revolution gave us the miracle of complex tools made of identical, interchangeable parts ...
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0answers
96 views

Who was responsible for the correct production of a Mesopotamian 'cubit rod' and whose fingers where used as the standard?

Who was responsible for the correct production of a Mesopotamian 'cubit rod' and whose fingers where used as the standard? Wikipedia notes that the standards changed but gives no source of these ...
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2answers
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Where did all the old discussions on Google Groups actually come from?

I have been sifting through old messages on the rec.games.chess archives part of Google Groups in particular, and I wondered where all of these messages from the '80s and '90s came from. To be ...
3
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1answer
242 views

Why does the US have many top-level web domains? [closed]

Why does the US have top-level domains like .gov, .mil and others, while other nations can only use second level domains for their government agencies? It might seem an easy question, but I think it ...
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2answers
902 views

When was the first full length book sent over telegraph?

When was the first full length book sent over telegraph? or What was the longest message sent over telecommunications before 1900?
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1answer
205 views

What kind of suspension did Roman carrucae have?

The German Wikipedia on post coaches states that the Roman carrucae (there described as a Reisewagen, something like travelling vehicle) already had suspension and a passenger cabin. I tried to find ...
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0answers
147 views

What did people do about kerosene lamp fires?

In the late nineteenth century, kerosene lamps were widely used for illumination. They were effective and affordable, though had the nontrivial disadvantage of being a significant fire hazard; a lamp ...
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1answer
679 views

Did the 1st Marine Division use the M3 carbine on Okinawa?

I wanted to know if the 1st Marine Division used the M3 infrared sniper carbine on Okinawa during World War II.
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8answers
5k views

Before television sets became commonplace, did people generally watch movies only once?

As I understand it, home television sets first became commercially available in the US in 1938 and grew in popularity throughout the 40s and 50s. Before people had televisions, did they have a way of ...
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4answers
6k views

What do the phone number suffixes J, M, R, W in 1940 New York phone book mean?

Browsing through the Staten Island, NY telephone directory of January 1940, I found that certain phone numbers were printed with a suffix J, M, R or W. What do these mean? I've marked a few of them in ...
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2answers
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What is Charles Babbage referring to when he talks about the 'College of Laputa'?

In On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, what is Charles Babbage referring to when talking about the College of Laputa in the following extract: ...Nor has the wild imagination of the ...
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2answers
273 views

What made California Indian baskets so good?

"California Indians were among the world's most sophisticated basket makers", according to Steven Hackel in Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis. Descriptions of the baskets emphasize the ...
2
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1answer
112 views

What triggered the acceleration in human advancement? [closed]

If you look back 100,000+ years humans were living in caves. They lived in caves for millennia. They used the same stone tools for millennia. They painted the same wall paintings for millennia. The ...
3
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1answer
280 views

Did the Nazi Army have a telephone conversation pattern?

The film "Valkyrie" (2008) depicts that while Stauffenberg was on his way to Berlin, Friedrich Fromm called Keitel to ask him about the rumors circulating in Berlin about Hitler's death. Fromm to ...
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2answers
557 views

How can there be a “final edition” of a morning paper, in the morning?

A US television episode from 1957 has the following scene, set in a hotel restaurant in what is clearly the morning, as he is eating breakfast and it looks brightly lit: Person: "The morning paper, ...
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4answers
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Why did the Germans use the Enigma machine rather than the far superior “Lorenz” cipher machine?

Basically, the only good thing about the "Enigma" cipher machine was its name. Other than that, it was grossly inferior to the "Lorenz" one, apparently only used by some of the main, top-ranking ...
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3answers
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When was the first electrical intra-battlefield communication?

When was the first time a commander used, for example, the telegraph to communicate with and coordinate different parts of the same battlefield? I know that the telegraph was used extensively for ...
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2answers
3k views

Why did Persia adopt the movable-type printing so late?

According to Iranica, the first books in Persian characters were published in Leiden in 1639, almost 200 years after Gutenberg's invention, and in Asia it was used even before that. Given that Persia ...
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2answers
438 views

Did people in the late 1800s and earlier really think that there would be, or already exist, “mechanical men”?

I've very often been wondering about how people used to think "back in the day" about all kinds of technical things. For example, once it was common knowledge that factories existed, and most people ...
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3answers
479 views

Any examples when one civilization/country got technology from another and after due to lack of knowledge lost it

I am wondering if there where actual cases when one civilization/country got advanced technology from another and due to lack of knowledge lost it. By advanced technology I mean that it was advanced ...
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2answers
1k views

When did the number of motor driven vehicles surpass the number of horse driven vehicles in Paris, London, Berlin?

What exact year (or the closest approximation) did the number of motor driven vehicles surpass the number of horse driven vehicles (including the single horseman) on the streets of Paris?
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286 views

How did Europeans dye their garments black around 1800?

It is said budgetary restrictions made for example Lützower and Brunswickers chose black as their uniform colour. Since no state would provide funds for the equipment they brought old uniforms or ...
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0answers
249 views

Why did the UK use hewn stone cubes for homes far more often than France?

Why did the UK use hewn stone cubes (ashlar masonry) for homes far more often than France in the previous centuries? It would be rare to find this kind of rustic stone (rubble masonry ) in the UK, ...
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1answer
205 views

Is there any evidence of modern technology today that has been rediscovered? [closed]

Is there any evidence of modern technology or high population today that has been rediscovered? The earth has frozen over multiple times surely there is an example like this. For example computer ...
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1answer
7k views

Why did quill pens persist until the early 19th century despite the capacity to make metal dip pens?

I recently toured Jefferson's Monticello and I was struck during the tour of the library by the description of some of the challenges that Jefferson faced using quill pens. This seemed particularly ...
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1answer
123 views

Which historical developments led to mankind becoming ingenious towards todays exponential growth? [closed]

I want to ask pretty much the question in the title with some side notes/hints for the context: I don't mean first tools created by homo sapiens, I mean which societal or geographical developments ...
6
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1answer
350 views

What was the typical speed of a tramp steamship?

What was the typical speed of a tramp steamship in their heyday? I mean cruising speed, not flank speed; the figure you would divide into distance to see how long it would take to travel between ports....
4
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2answers
171 views

What was the technology in pre-war traffic recorders?

In 1936, Nevada was using an automated traffic recorder, a device that counts the number of passing vehicles: The device must have included a vehicle detector and a recording mechanism. Today it ...
10
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1answer
509 views

In the 18th century, who built ships built using two-pointed nails?

On April 20th 1774, near Carmel, California, Juan Bautista de Anza wrote in his diary about finding the mast of a ship of unknown origin (his compatriot Garcés did not record it). Here is his complete ...
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10answers
8k views

Are there any examples of technologies have been lost over time? [closed]

I've read before about various technologies being lost over time, either due to war or famine or just time. I'm interested in knowing more about what sorts of things have been lost, and how. I've ...
3
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0answers
263 views

Was Frisbee criticized in the Soviet Union?

In the U.S. of the 1950s, the Space Age and molded plastic flying discs (Frisbees) were both novel. New materials and a supposed resemblance to UFOs made this linkage irresistible for early disc ...
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6answers
7k views

Fermat's statement about the ancients: How serious was he?

I am extremely interested in the idea that there was a period in time when, at least in the west, people looked upon the ancients (Romans/Greeks) as possessors of wisdom that had been lost. Fermat ...
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2answers
710 views

When and how did steel supplant iron for artillery?

When did steel supplant iron for use in making artillery pieces? And was it a peacetime innovation, or was it the result of wartime pressure to accept change? In reading Reign of Iron, it becomes ...
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1answer
1k views

Were non-firing replica firearms ever made to the same standards of fit, finish, and from the same materials as a functioning firearm?

The term replica firearm has an imprecise meaning. It covers everything from functioning firearms that look like historical weapons to toys that simply have the appearance of an historical or ...
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4answers
2k views

How did the Romans mint coins?

I would like to understand how the Romans minted coins. Mining, smelting and refining are no mystery; I can envision ways in which uniform coin-blanks might have been made : but the big problems are (...
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1answer
2k views

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms why do people still use bamboo sticks when paper had already been invented?

By the time of the setting of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, paper had already been invented. Why do kings often (according to the movies) receive letters on bamboo sticks? Is this historically ...
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3answers
312 views

Economic status of whites in the US South at the height of slavery?

In Tony Horwitz' book Midnight Rising about John Brown's raid, on page 23 discusses Calhoun's stance on slavery: he asserted that slavery freed Whites from drudgery and class conflict. I wonder if at ...
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2answers
244 views

Did bronze metallurgical development peak by the end of the bronze age?

There is a lot of talk, books, and science about the development of iron into increasing qualities and types of steel, but I do not see the same attention given to bronze. This is not counting the ...
4
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1answer
228 views

How were the earliest automatic traffic lights automated?

The first traffic light was operated by a policeman in 1868 and it was the only way things worked for a while. Modern traffic control systems are implemented with microcontrollers, networks and ...
4
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1answer
824 views

Did the Soviet military in fact fear that the Space Shuttle would be used as an orbital bomber? If so, why?

I have read on this blog (scroll down to section "what happened to make it fail) dedicated to failed cold war space projects that the Soviet leadership was deeply concerned about the STS, fearing that ...
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5answers
740 views

Why wasn't there more use of wind power in antiquity?

Wind power [was never] taken seriously in the ancient world [...] though Hero of Alexandria described a windmill connected to an air pump designed to blow an organ, there is no evidence for the ...
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2answers
657 views

Apart from the Inuit, and candlefish on the northwest coast, did pre-Columbian America have lamps or candles?

Lamps have been around in the Old World since the Palaeolithic (one was found in the Lascaux cave). Candles are thought to have originated in the Bronze Age, but were certainly used by ancient Greeks, ...

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