Questions tagged [technology]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2
votes
2answers
3k 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 "...
-5
votes
1answer
156 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
227 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, ...
24
votes
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 ...
75
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
661 views

Which method of telephone calls was more popular: station-to-station or person-to-person?

My question is related to this question I asked earlier on the cost of a telephone call in the 1920s in the United States of America. Now, I am interested in the whole period from 1920 until 1960 and ...
7
votes
1answer
286 views

Are there any archeological finds or primary source drawings of the Chinese “blade shaped” 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What it was like to travel on 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 favorite destinations using a Viking warship? ...
1
vote
1answer
113 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
votes
1answer
127 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....
18
votes
2answers
855 views

How accurate and detailed were geographical maps created and updated by the Romans?

Knowledge is power, and having superior geographical knowledge vs. your imperialistic enemies and competitors was probably a big advantage in the middle ages. Some specific examples would be knowledge ...
0
votes
0answers
157 views

Was Perumthachan's doll the first automaton in India?

There is a doll automaton referenced in the legend of Perumthachan. It is shown in the movie. Does this legend indicate that the technology of automata was there in ancient India? Inventions such as ...
28
votes
7answers
24k 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 ...
18
votes
10answers
29k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
143 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 ...
44
votes
10answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
745 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
34
votes
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
votes
0answers
240 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
299 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 ...
4
votes
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?
1
vote
1answer
157 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
votes
3answers
283 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 (...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

Why was the Aeolipile not put to practical use in classical antiquity?

The Aeolipile was a simple mechanical device that generated kinetic energy from steam. Its invention is attributed to the Hero of Alexandria in the 1st century AD. Source: Aeolipile With the ...
22
votes
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
195 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

How much did a telephone call cost in the USA around 1920?

I am looking for data on historic telephone call prices in the US between 1920 and 1930. What did it cost to make a call? I know that, back then different rates were charged based on the distance of ...
6
votes
5answers
830 views

How did 2nd century Romans decide where to build Hadrian's wall?

How did 2nd century Romans decide where to build Hadrian's wall? It is located exactly at the narrowest east-west section of the island. They had no laser theodolites, lenses, aerial observation ...
14
votes
2answers
374 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
295 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
votes
2answers
226 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
457 views

Were Archimedes screws used in pre-modern times in the far east?

Screw pumps or Archimedes screws were used by the Romans in mine dewatering. They were possibly used in ancient Babylon (a few hundred years before Archimedes) to irrigate the famous hanging gardens. ...
6
votes
4answers
7k views

When did commercial studio photography become common?

I was looking at this Wikipedia article, History of photography, and I wondered when commercial photography studios became common place and affordable for the average person. According to the ...
4
votes
1answer
166 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
votes
1answer
627 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
437 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
236 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
votes
2answers
367 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
votes
2answers
170 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
votes
1answer
186 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
510 views

Did the break up of AT & T in 1984 lead to technological innovation?

Are there examples of technologies developed since 1984 that would not have been likely to be developed had the Bell system stayed intact rather than being broken up by the US government? Let's pose ...
3
votes
0answers
221 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
816 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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
218 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
votes
1answer
350 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
67 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
395 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?