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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52
votes
14answers
26k views

When were swords last used in European warfare?

Specifically, I'm interested in the last documented occurrence of swords (of any sort) being used as a primary weapon by infantrymen or cavalrymen in Western warfare. That is, when did any European or ...
59
votes
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
170 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
votes
3answers
341 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 ...
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 ...
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
votes
2answers
235 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, ...
15
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2answers
1k 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, ...
5
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1answer
247 views

Explosive Ordinance Yield Over History

I'm writing an essay, and one of the elements of it has to do with the development of military technology throughout history. I've noticed that there is a rapidly increasing and disturbing trend in ...
23
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8answers
5k views

Is there any evidence that the Catholic Church slowed innovation during the Middle Ages?

I often hear that the rate of innovation was very high during ancient times in Greece and the Roman empire. I've also heard that the rate of innovation was reduced once the Catholic Church gained ...
17
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7answers
9k views

How come all the major WW1 rifles were bolt action?

The main disadvantage of bolt action is that one has to remove the right hand from the trigger which leads to slower rate of fire. Neither lever nor pump have this problem. Rate of fire was viewed as ...
1
vote
1answer
210 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
391 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
3k views

What is the best historical example of conflict between two cultures with differing levels of technology? [closed]

Let me start with some background, in fiction authors like to explore situations where the human race meets another civilization. As a rule of thumb both races in one way or another - sometimes after ...
6
votes
1answer
263 views

Where can I get information used to make Soviet economic plans?

One kind of information used by Gosplan to create plans was a list of commodities and relationships between them, i.e. what things were required to produce other things. I managed to find higher ...
1
vote
1answer
259 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
586 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 ...
4
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1answer
193 views

When did the key advances in vehicle suspension happen?

Technologies called "suspensions" support the comfort of passengers in wheeled vehicles. In the era of draft animals, carriage suspensions apparently started with hanging the passenger compartment by ...
2
votes
1answer
199 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
392 views

What was the state of the art of salt production before the invention of graduation towers?

According to Wikipedia, A graduation tower (occasionally referred to as a thorn house) is a structure used in the production of salt which removes water from a saline solution by evaporation, ...
1
vote
0answers
102 views

How do I find out some information about a business in the early 1980s?

I live outside the USA, and I need to find information about a certain "LAMO-LEM Laboratories", I have an address: Box 2382, La Jolla, CA 92038. But that's all. The web has not been kind to me wrt to ...
8
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4answers
747 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
987 views

Is there any evidence that Celts produced chain mail?

Since I started to interest myself in history of the northen Europe, and especially the history of Celtic people, I read a lot about their inventions, in terms of warfare. The quote from wiki ...
33
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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). ...
19
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1answer
5k views

How did the monks whose job was to copy books react to Gutenberg's printing press?

It's typical to see people whose job it is to perform a manual task to - collectively - object when a new technology is introduced which makes their job obsolete (as the quintessential example, see ...
10
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5answers
2k views

Why did the United States not seriously develop Anti Aircraft Missiles?

During the Cold War, the United States did not seem to actively develop anti-aircraft missiles (I know that Wikipedia is not an exhaustive source for lists, but just as a rough estimate, they list ...
14
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2answers
5k views

Why didn't the Incan Empire use iron?

They could mine copper and silver, but not iron. Was there a reason to not use such materials to build advanced mining tools to work with Iron? What was their main limitation? Couldn't they build ...
6
votes
1answer
934 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 ...
10
votes
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
votes
1answer
468 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
255 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
936 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 ...
6
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2answers
4k views

How did life change for the average American as a result of the end of World War 1?

Every year, the Daughters of the American Revolution host an essay contest concerning American History. I'll disclose that I'm not a student seeking internet help with the essay, but rather just ...
20
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4answers
2k views

Is there any evidence to support the claim that the US Strategic Defense Initiative played any significant role in undermining the USSR?

I have been reading Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson, and one of the things that stuck me was a quote by Soviet hydrogen bomb creator Andrei Sakharov who was released from political imprisonment ...
84
votes
7answers
24k views

Did Bill Gates steal the GUI concept from Steve Jobs?

The Jobs movie alleged that Bill Gates swiped the idea of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) on a personal computer (PC) from Steve Jobs. Can anyone explain to me the exact story on what happened in a ...
7
votes
2answers
197 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
182 views

When did Russian carriages start to have suspensions?

During the Imperial era, quality transport for Russian officials was riding in a horse-drawn open carriage called a droshky. The one pictured below has springs on each wheel, providing a much smoother ...
2
votes
3answers
521 views

Which submarine was invented first?

In some books I saw the Ottomans invented Tahtelbahir in 1719. Is it true ?
1
vote
1answer
169 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
334 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, ...
33
votes
4answers
8k views

Did this “sledge rigged like a sloop” vehicle ever exist, or was it an invention of Jules Verne?

In Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, the main character Phileas Fogg misses his train in the American north and ends up hitching a ride on a curious invention, as described here: There ...
18
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11answers
4k views

Intersection Between Computer Science and History?

I am a computer science undergrad with a great interest in history. Lately I have been asking myself if there are general aspects or specialities of computer science which lend themselves to the ...
12
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5answers
3k views

When and how did the West lose its dependency on the USSR for Titanium?

This question was prompted by another one. A long time ago, before I well-documented my internet research, I looked into the history of Titanium, its procurement, refinement, and work-ability. I ...
10
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5answers
1k views

When was the earliest recorded battle with the usage of gunpowder as an offensive weapon?

When was the earliest recorded battle (on script) with the usage of gunpowder (in any form) as an offensive weapon?
2
votes
2answers
212 views

Earliest use of Renaissance Era innovations in Islamic countries & culture?

Though the title may be vaguely broad, I have two specific things in mind I wanted to ask about. While I was recently considering the cultural and technological advancements of Europeans in the ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

What was “Greek fire”?

What was Greek fire? I read in my history book that it was a flamethrower. But in certain fantasy movies it's been portrayed as something similar to dynamite. What was it dynamite or what? Did it ...
5
votes
1answer
242 views

What is the first example of a nation where the first railroad network system was somebody's master plan?

The background is that I try to understand how complex socioeconomic systems based on a technology mix came in place and how they evolve today. So I thought of an example, and picked railroads. If I ...
2
votes
2answers
780 views

Kurds and their relation to the start of civilization?

Is there a relationship between these folks and the start of civilization? Mehrdad Izady suggests that they started civilization via establishing the agricultural production. How can this be possible, ...
3
votes
1answer
328 views

Why did the Levee en Masse call for children to make lint?

The 1789 decree calling for general conscription begins, Henceforth, until the enemies have been driven from the territory of the republic, the French people are in permanent requisition for army ...