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
9
votes
3answers
520 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

Why was decimal time unsuccessful?

Under the metric system (and later SI), units of weight can be related to each other based on multiples of ten (e.g. 1 metric tonne = 1,000 kg = 1,000 × 1,000 g). Likewise with length (e.g. 1 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the oldest excavated/discovered piece of silk textile made for clothing or writing?

Chu manuscript dating back to circa 300 B.C., middle of the Warring States era. Mawangdui robe's dating back to ~ 200..150 B.C., beginning of the Western Han. Do you know any older examples of silk ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

What new technology/tactics allowed the breakthrough of the trenches in WW I western front?

Reading the answers to this question about WW1 Western Front, it appears that breaking through the trenches was a very difficult task to do. How did the Allies finally make it? Was it the invention of ...
53
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
216 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
474 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
83 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
votes
1answer
217 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
4k views

Why didn't the Black Death result in favorable results for surviving peasants in China?

The Black Death affected Europe and China alike. In Europe, the Black Death resulted in increased social mobility for the peasants and, as a result, labor-saving innovations were introduced. All ...
3
votes
0answers
160 views

Why were the Mongols so victorious? [duplicate]

I read that the Mongol Empire conquered and unified China. My question is... how were the Mongols able to conquer so much when China's population almost certainly was larger during that time period? ...
3
votes
2answers
854 views

How did the Chinese crossbows that shot bullets work?

It's commonly accepted that East Asian people invented the crossbow. However, it seems they had crossbows that shoot bullets as well. As an example, Jing Fang uses this description when explaining his ...
12
votes
6answers
13k views

Who were the Wright brothers' competitors?

I heard that there was a person who was sponsored by the government to make the first flying airplane. The Wright brothers beat him to it and this made him really depressed and he gave up his career. ...
12
votes
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 ...
47
votes
4answers
18k views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
487 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, ...
23
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
609 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. ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
27
votes
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 ...
1
vote
3answers
446 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
282 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
483 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?
4
votes
0answers
144 views

How did Europeans dye their garments black around 1800?

The recent Freikorps question tackled an old sore. It is said budgetary restrictions made for example Lützower and Brunswickers chose black as their uniform colour. Since no state would provide ...
2
votes
2answers
4k 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
179 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
243 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
9k 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
871 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
321 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
117 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
197 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
894 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
177 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 ...
30
votes
7answers
27k 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 ...
19
votes
10answers
31k 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
154 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 ...
43
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
931 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
249 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
417 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
457 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
952 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 (...
12
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...

1
2 3 4 5