Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.
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I'm afraid I know nothing about which pre-Columbian cultures had any metalworking, but I can answer why metallurgy was, in 1492, very rare in the Americas but widespread in Eurasia. Paraphrasing liberally from Guns, Germs and Steel, which I happen to be reading at the moment, Native American peoples were largely hunter-gatherers. Metalworking, like any ...


14

A smithy capable of producing horseshoes and simple iron weapons can be constructed in a matter of days. Nomad does not mean "moves every day", the non-raiding members of a group would have spent most of winter in one place, and everyone would have spent weeks at a time in single places. Nomadic blacksmiths are not paradoxical at all.


14

Not all blades were constructed in the same way and of the same materials, but the Chinese are noted for originating binary swords. Ancient Chinese metallurgy recorded six different bronzes. In practice, the archeological record shows a much wider array of proportions, if only because much bronze was likely to have been recycled, but it seems clear that ...


14

In the 1950s and 1960s titanium was a very exotic metal which few had the know how to make or use at the quantities and qualities required for a high tech military vehicle. Titanium is a notoriously difficult metal to work with. You can't refine it like iron ore, instead you get titanium carbide. Instead, you use a more complex process resulting in ...


12

TL;DR: We don't know, but at least ~170 swords bearing - in whole or in part - some variation of "VLFBERHT" are known to exist. Number of Extant VLFBERHT swords: I came across the closest available approximation to an answer we're likely to get: The finds The number of extant sword blades with the signature Vlfberht is not known... Probably the ...


11

Steel grating for platform use was first developed and produced by Walter Irving at the beginning of the 20th century. It was first used for ventilation of New York's stiflingly hot subway system, but his company, Irving Subway Grating, quickly marketed it for a range of other uses including bridge decking and catwalks. Aluminum grates (which might be what'...


10

"Was it ever?" Certainly. The style of armour evolved with swings of a pendulum as can be seen from the earliest bronze age up until now, with conspicuous heights found in the trench warfare of the First World War. The Philippino Moro people used bronze and brass in chain mail fashion. The romans used bronze in their loricas. The Philistines had at least ...


8

Well, the truck was definitely real, not an artists concept sketch. An image gallery at the Nevada Department of Transportation website shows the following picture: The caption simply labels it as an 'Early Department of Highways truck." Many other interesting images in this gallery, Historical Image Gallery 1917-1939, which gives us a date range, but no ...


6

Turns out the answer to your question touches on the rise and fall of the Hittites, and the rise of the Phoenicians (and later Carthaginians). Metals were a large part of the return cargo on the Phoenicians' trade routes at that time, and Iron ores in particular seem to have been one of the main cargoes that were carried back on the Sardinian branch of the ...


6

Please clarify what you mean by dependence on USSR/Russian titanium. Do you mean: Titanium minerals which then need to be processed into metal and then into engineered items, Titanium metal which needs to be processed into engineering items, such as titanium sponge metal, or, Engineered items made of titanium such as aircraft ribs or landing gear? If you ...


6

All these answers seem to have overlooked the obvious. To make bronze, you need to mix copper and tin. There are few tin deposits in North America (outside of Alaska), and most of them are not workable without at least 19th century mining technology. So no tin, no bronze. No bronze, probably no easy path to ironworking. https://www.sciencebase.gov/...


6

Meteoric Iron Before 1000 BC meteoric iron or occasionally small native iron deposits were worked. These sources are pure iron and can easily be turned into weapons. In Tutankhamun's tomb was found a meteoric iron dagger. Only tiny quantities of such sources are available. Bog Iron Iron production in significant quantities began around 500 BC. One ...


6

Metallurgy in North America above the Rio Grande rarely advanced beyond the cold working of native copper, an item which was common enough to be an exported from the upper peninsula of Michigan, even during the pre-Columbian era. In THE PRIMITIVE COPPER INDUSTRY OF AMERICA, by George Brinton Phillips (1925), an analysis of Michigan native copper is ...


5

(A good part of this answer is speculation.) There were areas of the current U.S. with moderately stable, non-nomadic farming communities before Columbus. However, there were few, if any, large cities, the tribal governments were not very well organized, and the labor and economic systems were very weak and disorganized compared to Europe, Asia, and Africa. ...


5

It appears that Peruvians did this (although the word "tomahawk" is probably misapplied if used on South American weaponry). The Met has multiple copper axe-heads from that area, at least one of which may date to as early as the 3rd Century BC. There seems to be a common theme with these Peruvian axe heads to have a functional blade, but a decorated back end....


4

Genghis Khan's general Subutai was said to be the son of a blacksmith, so they apparently did have their own smiths. Pastoralists with good access to horses and carts would have been quite capable of bringing along fairly heavy objects if they felt the need for doing so.


4

when and how did the West lose its dependency on the USSR for Titanium? In reality the West still seriously depends for Titanium on Russia. The main reason is pure economics. Titanium has a very high cost price, so Boeing may take a bit, but you may be sure that GM would never want it (unless a cheap technological process of making Titanium is invented). ...


3

Not exactly the most 'historic' question but anyway Bronze is an alloy and has been used since 3500 BC. Around 3500 BC the first signs of bronze usage by the ancient Sumerians started to appear in the Tigris Euphrates valley in Western Asia. One theory suggests that bronze may have been discovered when copper and tin-rich rocks were used to build campfire ...


3

To answer the question in the title, apparently the leaf spring was invented in 1804 by Obadiah Elliott, a carriage builder in London, who was granted a patent for his leaf-spring-suspension vehicle on 11 May 1805. The following extract from Leaf springs, their characteristics and methods of specification; a hand-book of useful information relating to ...


3

Leaf spring was first adapted to the horse drawn carriage in the 14th or 15th century. It didn't see widespread use until it's production became more practical in the 18th century. It cannot be said when "every" modern smithy was capable of producing Leaf Spring as each had it's own specialization as it were. I highly doubt you could walk into any smithy and ...


3

The wonderful thing about gold is that it is completely indestructible and imperishable. The gold we see today is the same gold that existed bilions of years ago. The same goes for silver. Even though gold has a boiling point, the vapor created is still gold. A count of gold in possession by humans would be impossible. There have been large ships of ...


3

Yes. They did harden their weapons, not always, that is from the start of us calling them "Greeks", but from quite early on, and certainly in the timeframe of the question. But the Hittites are credited with learning to make a metal hard and tough enough so that it could be used for knives and swords. They did not know that they obtained this result ...


3

Not an expert, but the main improvements were in the forge and specially, the fundition process. Making big swords requires much more molten material than a small knife, so the ancient metallurgists worked specially in improving these. At the end the forges became large enough and, critically, hot enough to melt iron minerals, and thus bronze was abandoned ...


2

Because they never discovered the technique of iron making. As you know, to make iron requires only the ore, clay, hides for the bellows and charcoal. All of these items are commonly found everywhere. Even very primitive African tribes used to make iron using these simple materials. It takes about a week of work by three or four men to make enough iron for ...


2

Seeing technology as linear, from primitive to advanced, adds confusion. Why bother to invent the wheel if you live in the Andes mountains and don't have draft animals? Why bother with metal technology if you live in the wet rainy tropics or sub-tropics where rust would be a problem? Why create weapons that kill large numbers of people if you live in small ...


2

There's proof that Native Americans settled the Americas as far back as 9000/8000 B.C. based on the Folsom site. That's around the time the cradle of western civ was being cunieformed in the Middle East and Egypt. My personal theory is that the Middle East was a bridge between Europe, Africa, and Asia - allowing the trade of technologies through several ...


2

There is a Wikipedia article on the subject of Pre-Columbian metallurgy. I would go farther than you in saying that ALL, not "most", new world indigenous cultures were based on non-metallic technology. It is true a few isolated cases of copper ornaments and such have been found, but in general, I know of no widespread use of metal tools or weapons anywhere ...


2

First of all, the source given in the Wikipedia article says absolutely nothing about the tin content of bronze swords. In fact, the article does not even say anything about bronze swords at all and all of the bronze artifacts are axes or arrow heads. So the purported fact that Chinese bronze swords had high tin content is not even suggested at all by the ...


2

I would say it has something to do with the sharpness gained with the high-tin content, according to several sources higher tin content seems to correlate with sharpness. After that it comes down to a fighting style, the Chinese refined the art of fighting (martial arts have been evidenced in China as far back as the 5th century BC while the earliest ...


2

I'm not sure about magic/ritual uses, and I'm not sure anyone could answer the 'why' someone tried something (until, at least, the scientific method) but there is evidence for seemingly random - but evidently useful - ingredients in metal work. For example, cupellation, a technique for refining silver used in Roman period through to the 17th Century CE ...


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