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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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 ...
34
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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 ...
3
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2answers
260 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
144 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 ...
6
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3answers
203 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 (...
3
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3answers
283 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 ...
5
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2answers
215 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
159 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
591 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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3answers
401 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 ...
14
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2answers
347 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, ...
6
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1answer
197 views

What is the earliest depiction of a crane?

Various sources on the internet - such as Crane (machine), A History Of The Crane and The sky is the limit: human powered cranes and lifting devices - state that the Ancient Greeks were the inventors ...
6
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2answers
235 views

What methods were used for onboard ship communication during WW2?

What methods/devices were used for communication onboard say a fighting ship during WW2? Did they have an intercom type system so different areas could communicate directly? Were there ship-wide ...
2
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2answers
162 views

How area of a country used to be calculated?

Before satellites and other modern techniques, how the area of countries/territories/regions used to be calculated? I can understand that plotting boundaries is an easier task, even without the ...
4
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1answer
178 views

When did springs first appear in or below vehicle seats?

It's common for seats to contain springs. Cushions have been part of seats as long as there has been upholstery. In vehicle seats, springs absorb unwanted forces perpendicular to the direction of the ...
2
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3answers
723 views

Are we now living in an Automation Age? [closed]

Background Historians have grouped epochs of human technological advancement into various "Technology Ages" (characterized by the predominant types of tools and weapons used by humans) including the ...
4
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2answers
205 views

What is the origin of the term “Developer” in the context of software? [closed]

The term "software developer" is a popular term for those who create software. The processes of writing software is often called "software development". What is the origin of that term? How did the ...
2
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1answer
255 views

What is the earliest mention of use of spyglass by seafarers?

I am somewhat familiar with history of telescope in the scientific context however didn't find much info about history of its use for practical purposes beyond general statements. I'm more interested ...
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0answers
61 views

Technological transfer/worker migration e.g. in ancient Egypt

My question revolves around how different inventions were shared between humans in ancient times, for example in ancient Egypt (between 3000 and 0 BC). Nowadays, science is often publicly funded and ...
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2answers
385 views

In general, what was the level of technology like in central Africa, just before the scramble for Africa?

I'm asking this question out of curiosity. In general, what was the level of technology like in central Africa, just before the scramble for Africa?
6
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2answers
154 views

What was the medium for Marcus Aurelius's Meditations?

I imagine Romans using papyrus and quills on a still table, allowing time for the ink to dry, which may not be possible in a battlefield. I once saw a documentary which depicts him walking off in ...
7
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3answers
291 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Did any Native Americans make tomahawks from metal?

I'm curious about the evolution of the tomahawk among (North American) Native American peoples like the Algonquin. I assume early versions of the tomahawk had the head made from stone (please correct ...
14
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1answer
2k views

What is the source for this Goering quote on radar?

On page 194 of Jonathan Trigg's The Defeat of the Luftwaffe, he claims Hermann Goering said: I have frequently taken a look inside such sets. It does not look all that imposing, just some wires ...
6
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2answers
225 views

For steam trains, what kind of deaerator was used, if any?

Deaerators are things that remove dissolved gasses in water. Dissolved O2 and CO2 in water will result in boiler corrosion. So I'm wondering how this was done back in the old days of steam trains, ...
8
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1answer
183 views

What alloy was used in early steam turbines? (1900 - 1930)

Steam turbines use externally created steam to drive the blades. There's no internal combustion. They've been used in marine propulsion since at least 1894 on the Turbinia. After this, Parsons-type ...
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0answers
122 views

Are there any archeological finds or primary source drawings of the Chinese bamboo-copter or rotary fans?

Bamboo-copter was a toy in China, dated to 400 BC. A Rotary Fan also existed in China around 180 AD. I'm interested in both of those things, as they work on the exact same principle. Do we have any ...
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0answers
100 views

In what ways was early Renaissance Chinese technology more advanced than European technology [closed]

At the dawn of the Age of Discovery (15th century), how did Chinese technology compare with that of the Europeans who would soon encounter it? Were there areas where it was significantly more or less ...
13
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2answers
834 views

Why did the Mongols destroy the library during the siege of Baghdad in 1258?

For all what we know the Mongolian Empire was not simply a collection of brainless brutes, but they had intense knowledge of their opponents: descriptions, maps, information about the technology, ...
60
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4answers
8k views

How has hearing loss been avoided in war?

Guns are very loud, even in an open field. In a trench or inside a city, I can only imagine they would be louder, and quite capable of causing hearing loss. How have armies ensured that their troops ...
9
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1answer
594 views

Who first conceived and developed the acoustic homing torpedo, and when?

Acoustic homing torpedoes did not see action until 1943 with the Falke/T4 from Germany and the Mark 24 Mine from the USA. These torpedoes were passive in that they homed in on the loudest sound that ...
8
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1answer
329 views

What is the earliest evidence for the use of hearing aids?

D. N. Brooks, in Hearing aids – a historical survey states that Emperor Hadrian reportedly used to cup his hand behind his ear, the better to hear the affairs of state...Historically, the cupped ...
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1answer
231 views

Please post a picture of the mills tonfa were supposedly used to turn

A tonfa is a forearm length club with a handle protruding sideways. A common claim is that the weapon was originally a handle used to turn millstones. German Wikipedia claims that there are pictures ...
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1answer
514 views

Are there examples of stone age cultures living in proximity close to iron age cultures without adapting to metal use?

BACKGROUND I was reading about the technological diffusion of metallurgy, and started to wonder if there were good historical examples of stone age peoples living near to or having extensive contact ...
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1answer
208 views

How were state-level suspects identified prior to photography?

From the point of view of identifying people quickly, with the full, historical coercion level of highly organized states, up to, but not including, development of photographic imaging and telegraphs, ...
2
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1answer
194 views

Has anyone seen this type of grandfather clock before?

I found this grandfather clock and I was fascinated by its workings. Since this is about history, I'd like to know who made it so I can research the rest. I will upload four pictures of it. First ...
8
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4answers
682 views

From Twitter: When did Islamic literacy fall behind?

This morning I found this interesting question from verified Twitter user Iyad el-Baghdadi. Transcription: Question to experts (and good researchers). My impression is that parts of the ...
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5answers
10k views

Why did the grip-centered viking shield fall out of use relative to the kite shields?

Did Normans have battle advantage with strapped kite shields over Saxons and Vikings with their grip-centered shield style of fighting? What often comes to my mind are battles like Hastings (1066). ...
6
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1answer
916 views

Handheld music player in the 1890s?

Perusing this gallery of candid photos from 1890s Oslo, Norway, by Carl Størmer (1872-1957), again I found such a curious image, yet was unable to verify the existence of any portable music player ...
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1answer
2k views

What metallurgy advancement allowed the transition from mail hauberk to plate armor?

Why did it happen in the 14th century, when the blast furnace was invented much earlier? Can someone explain, how medieval blacksmiths figured it out? What discovery enabled them to create plate ...
5
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1answer
383 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 ...
2
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0answers
165 views

Why were the Europeans technologically advanced compared to the Native Americans? [duplicate]

First off, if this question has been asked elsewhere, I apologize. A search turned up nothing but this, which does not have the answer I seek. I'm curious as to why when Europeans started coming ...
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2answers
222 views

Is the concern about automation costing jobs a recent one only, or are there other examples from the past?

Jobs always have been replaced. Were people in the past concerned about how technology might deprive them of their jobs? To make the question less broad: Were people at the time of the industrial ...
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2answers
3k views

What evidence is there of the vision aids people used before the invention of eyeglasses in about 1286?

The Wikipedia article on glasses says ‘scattered evidence exists for use of vision aid devices in Greek and Roman times’ but only cites the example of Nero’s emerald. This article on Magnifying ...
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2answers
194 views

How were back copies of newspapers viewed in England in 1923

I am writing a story set in London in 1923. One of my characters goes to a library to research old copies of newspapers (dating back to 1918). As microfiche was not invented until much later, does ...
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3answers
478 views

Which submarine was invented first?

In some books I saw the Ottomans invented Tahtelbahir in 1719. Is it true ?
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2answers
1k views

When was the last time when there was no electrical lighting switched on on the earth?

It's obvious that now, there is always an electric light 'burning' on earth somewhere. How far back do we have to go until that was not the case?
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1answer
163 views

How did the development of unbreakable and asymmetric encryption change warfare?

Modern encryption is generally considered mathematically impossible to break, unlike well-known historical instances like the Enigma. Additionally, asymmetric encryption negates the need to ensure ...
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4answers
899 views

Why was the US army slow to adopt the use of radar prior to Pearl Harbour?

According to Wikipedia, the US radar station SCR-270 picked up the Japanese approach and reported it, but this report was ignored as the duty officer believed it to be American bombers coming from ...
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4answers
329 views

Has there been talk of a post-work economy before?

In recent years there has been a lot of talk about the topic of a post-work economy. This includes conversations, news articles, and professional studies. Take for example this LA Times article, ...