HISTORY OF TECHNOLOGY
Prof. Tim Richardson
Before the 1700's, when people experimented with mixing chemicals, they did this for purposes which we would consider frivolous.
view this PowerPoint presentation
on the chemists for an overview
pictures of the early chemical
apparatus used by Lavoisier can be viewed at
very helpful PowerPoint presentation,
on-line about Dalton and his theories
In the early 1800's, John
Dalton (1766 - 1844) proposed it was not the weight of a substance that
mattered, but the number of units of substance that was important. Referring
to a concept used by the Greeks, Dalton proposed that each element consisted
of atoms and that atoms of different elements had different weights.
Dimitri Mendeleyev (1834
- 1907) was a Russian chemist who was the first to obeserve that some elements
react with others in a certain way. From this, he was able to propose a
table of known elements arranged in a form to indicate the similarity of
chemical properties. The table, first published in 1869, was the first
periodic table. Of significance was the fact that there were blanks in
the table. Mendeleyev did not know these elements, but he was able to predict
|The contributions of China
Coal has been known since the fourth century A.D. in China, where in later centuries it came into widespread use. Coal is essential to manufacturing steel since fires of wood do not reach a high enough temperature to turn iron ore into molten metal.
Powerpoint Presentation on the History of Metallurgy
from Dr. Richard Thomas at the
Dr. Thomas presentation, on-line is very good and coveres the whole historical range from primitive man making copper, gold and silver to steel making today
Georg Bauer 1494-1555
AGRICOLA, Georgius, Latinized name of Georg Bauer (1494-1555), German scientist, generally regarded as the founder of the science of mineralogy. He made the study of
mineralogy and geology his lifework. His greatest work, De Re Metallica (1556), which appeared after his death, served as a textbook and guide for mining engineers for almost two centuries.
Prof. Cyril Stanely Smith
in Kranzberg and Pursell's Technology in Western Civilization Volume One
Metallurgy and Extractive Metallurgy
Although people made objects and tools of metal for thousands of years, it wasn't until the 16th century that metallurgists began writing the technical details of their craft. (In part this was a consequence of the printing press which allowed books to be widely distributed previously, all knowledge of metal arts was passed on by craftsmen by word-of-mouth to apprentices)
Mining - the first step in
the Metallurgical process
Mine Surveying - when people developed large tunnels in the ground, there developed a need to map out the drifts and shafts. Knotted cords and simple compasses where used.
Mining Machinery - earliest machinery was used for hauling the ore out to the ground level (carts and sleds), then when steam power was developed, steam engines were first put to use pumping water out of the coal mines in England so the shafts could be dug deeper to access more of the ore body. In mines with vertical shafts, steam engines were used for hoisting the ore from great depths when animal power was not enough for the heavy weights.
Crushing the ore - after the ore has been brought to the surface, it needs to be crushed so that you can separate the mineral from the waste. Early crushing was done by primitive man with wooden and bone implements, and other rocks.
Smelting Process - one of
the ways to separate the true mineral from the waste rock, after it had
been crushed, was to heat the mass in furnaces. The mineral (gold, silver,
copper etc.) could then be bled off from the waste slag and the molten
material gathered in various forms. Using chemicals to act as reducing
agents did not take place until the 18th century.
An interesting page with a short note about Bronze, used in Greek and Roman statues.
"Bronze was the preferred material of the sculptors who devised the daring new styles in
free-standing sculpture in the fifth century, although marble was also popular. Creating bronze statues, which were cast in molds made from clay models, required a particularly well-equipped workshop with furnaces, tools, and foundry workers skilled in metallurgy. Because sculptors and artists labored with their hands, aristocrats regarded them as workmen of low social status, and only the most famous ones, like Pheidias, could move in high society. Properly prepared bronze had the tensile strength to allow outstretched poses of arms and legs, which could not be done in marble without supports."
Professor Thomas Martin, Tufts University
|The History of Electricity
very brief intro by Haugland, Twedt and Merk
"Electricity didn't begin when Benjamin Franklin flew his kite during a rainstorm, or when light bulbs were installed in houses all around the world...electricity has always been around ... electricity exists in nature. Lightning is simply a flow of electrons between the ground and the clouds. The first discoveries of electricity
were made back in ancient Greece. Greek philosophers discovered that when amber is rubbed against cloth, lightweight objects will stick to it. This is the basis of static electricity. "
The words electron, electricity, electronic, and others all originate from the Greek word "elektron". However, in Greek, elektron means "amber". The reason for this is because amber played a large part in the first conception of electricity.
Michael Faraday 1791 - 1867
Faraday's greatest contribution to science was in the field of electricity.
His experiments yielded some of the most significant principles and inventions in scientific history.
In 1821 he began experimenting with electromagnetism and by demonstrating the conversion of electrical energy into motive force, invented the electric motor. In 1831 Faraday discovered the induction of electric currents and made the first dynamo (in the form of a copper disk rotated between the poles of a permanent magnet), the precursor of modern dynamos and generators. From his discovery of electromagnetic induction (1831) stemmed a vast development of electrical machinery for industry. In 1837 he demonstrated that electrostatic force consists of a field of curved lines of force, and conceived a specific inductive capacity.
In addition to other contributions he did research on electrolysis, formulating Faraday's law.
Much of the electrical terminology we use today comes from the names of the scientists who made some of the first great breakthroughs in their area. These scientists include: James Watt, Allessandro Volta, Andre Marie Ampere, Georg Simon Ohm, and James Joule
Volta - http://www.cinemedia.net/SFCV-RMIT-Annex/rnaughton/VOLTA_BIO.html
Ampere - http://www.phy.uct.ac.za/courses/phy104w/ampere.htm
Joule - http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/scientists/joule.html
Joseph Henry 1797-1878
Considered by some to be the foremost American scientist of the 19th century.
Henry appears to have discovered the principle of electromagnetic induction independently of British scientist Michael Faraday, but because Faraday published his results before Henry, he is credited with the discovery.
Timeline from Niel Brandt of Georgia State University
The concept of sending messages over a long distance has long been used since civilization began.
How it all began
Sound signals via drums in Africa and Polynesia
Smoke signals by North Americans
Flag signals by Greeks and Romans
Carrier Pidgeons used in Egypt and Middle East
Fire Signals by North Americans and Europeans
Detailed information, other
than by a messenger, was not achieved until Claude Chappe in 1792 invented
the semaphore in France and a network of stations to pass on the signals.
From 1759 to 1855, this network of stations grew from 15 to 556 stations;
at its height, it connected 30 French cities to Paris and employed more
than 3,000 people.
Naval use of signals also included various flags on ships to warn of weather dangers and navigation instructions
--. . -
-. ..- ...
another communications history
of the recurring truisms throughout history is that
the need for superior weapons is often the strongest impetus to developing
Professor Hugh Elton, who teaches in the Dept. History, Florida International University, has an excellent web page titled
Warfare in the Ancient World - this massive site has links to many Greek and Roman military sites
Neolithic Warfare in a 7
page essay by Arther Ferrill, Mississippi State University
Early Tools and Weapons:
the bow's design http://www.nzp.com/0302bow.html
the composite bow http://www.nzp.com/0303compbow.html
Tension Artillery in the Greek World ../0400tensionart.html
|The "Geometry of War" web
page from Oxford University
"The art of gunnery was complex and dangerous and the gunner's ability to fire reliably and accurately was frequently criticized. Although mathematicians could not remedy variations in powder or in the form of individual guns, they did seek to improve gunnery by devising instruments for the measurement of shot, the elevation of guns and mortars, and the calculation of the range of fire. Instruments for these operations include calipers, gauges, quadrants, sights, levels and specialized rules.... Although heavy guns were often fired for maximum destructive effect at point blank range (with the barrel horizontal), greater range could be achieved by elevating the gun." Once you start to elevate the gun, you create problems in detrmining how high to elevate for the cannonball to hit a target, which then requires mathematical calculations and measurements to be made.
range finding and surveying http://.../summary.htm#range
"How was the gunner to determine the distance of his target? The traditional method of linear measurement in land surveying was simply to lay ropes or poles between the two stations concerned - hardly an option when the distant station was a hostile position. However, sixteenth-century geometers were seeking to introduce the technique of triangulation, and range-finding was part of their case for a new geometry of surveying. Distant stations could be located by sighting from either end of a measured baseline; their distances were found by measuring the angles formed with the baseline and by subsequent calculation, or by a more straightforward graphical method."
"The high walls of the medieval fortress were good for repelling attack from beneath, but were vulnerable to heavy guns: they presented large targets without providing suitable platforms for defensive fire. Yet if walls were to be low and stout, so as to withstand artillery bombardment, how were they to be defended against direct infantry assault? The new style of fortification emerged as a response to this problem. The solution was to create squat, thick walls that were defended by sidelong or flanking fire aimed from projecting gun emplacements or bastions."
|History of Technology in Canada
"The role of technology in Canada is definitely different than in Britain or the United States, which were the countries with the greatest influence on us. ... we didn't raise a huge army to conquer our enemies or the Native peoples; we relied on technology to conquer space and climate and geography and geology. We didn't specialize in steam engines and manufacturing equipment to make consumer products for large urban populations, we specialized in transportation, communication and resource extraction."
W. George Richardson
History of Engineering, Queen's University
|RAILROADS and a story which shows the
long historical influence of ancient technologies
Now, why was that gauge used? Because that's
the way they built them in England, and the U.S. Railroads were built by
English expatriates. Why did the English build them that way? Because
the first rail lines
Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons,which used that wheel spacing.
So why did the wagons have that particular
odd spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon
wheels would break on some of the old,long distance roads in England,
because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.
The roads have been used ever since. And
the ruts in the roads? The ruts in the roads, which everyone had to match
for fear of destroying their wagon wheels, were first formed by Roman war
The U.S. standard railroad gauge
of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial
Roman war chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So, the
next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came
up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots
Now the twist to the story... When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two booster rockets attached to the side of the main fuel tank. These are Solid Rocket Boosters or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So, the major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass!!!
this story can be found at several places on the web, including the following
|April||FINAL EXAM||- , worth 35 %|