Water Treatment Technology Through History

Water Treatment Technology Through History   Civilization has changed in uncountable ways over the course of human history, but one factor remains the same: the need for clean drinking water. Every significant ancient civilization was established near a water source, but the quality of the water from these sources was often suspect. Evidence shows that Read More…

A Brief Overview of Non-Led Zeppelins

Named after Ferdinand von Zeppelin, a German count who pioneered rigid airship development, a zeppelin is type of dirigible that features a fabric-covered metal grid of transverse rings and longitudinal girders, which contains numerous separate gasbags. This design allowed the aircrafts to be much larger than blimps or other non-rigid airships, which require overpressure within Read More…

Instruments & Observatories of Medieval Islamic Astronomy

Medieval Islamic astronomy was an amalgamation and extension of foreign influences, including Greek and Indian astronomy. Islamic astronomy itself went on to influence later discoveries, especially those in Europe and China. Numerous star names (Aldebaran, for example) and astronomical terms (such as azimuth) still in use today are of Islamic origin. The peak of medieval Read More…

Alchemy: Science + Magic + Religion

When they hear the world “alchemy,” many people likely think of the vaguely science-esque practice of attempting to turn lead into gold. Others will recognize it as the vaguely magic-esque practice that produced the Philosopher’s Stone, a ticket to immortality. (These folks likely know it from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, a.k.a. The Sorcerer’s Read More…

Remembering the Great Spacewar

No, the title is not a clever attempt to circumvent Star Wars copyright, nor was there some big fistfight on the International Space Station that you didn’t hear about. Spacewar was, in fact, one of the earliest computer games ever created, one that helped set the stage for the countless arcade, console, and PC video Read More…

Roamin’ Roman Roads

Romans built roads so they could roam around Rome. Specifically, the Romans’ roads were built for military use, but they also played a major role in the maintenance and expansion of the Roman state. Travel, Communication & Trade Construction of these roads lasted from 500 BCE until the Roman Republic gave way to the Roman Read More…

Pull Up A Seat for A Brief History of the Chair

If you’re sitting right now, chances are pretty dang good you’re sitting on a chair. It seems like one of the most basic inventions there could ever be—a surface to sit on, and something to hold that surface up. Heck, it might not even really seem like “technology” at all. But it is. And there’s Read More…

Mechanical Television is Mechanical

Prior to Philo Farnsworth’s technological breakthroughs that created the all-electronic version we still use, more or less, today, early televisions were mechanical (often called “electromechanical”) devices. Sometimes referred to as televisors, after the most commercially successful model, the Baird Televisor, mechanical televisions were in use from roughly 1926 until 1939. The Nipkow Disk As the Read More…

Parachutes: Not Just Stylish ‘80s Pants

The parachute is designed to slow the motion of an object by creating drag. It is most commonly used to slow descent through the atmosphere—someone jumping from an airplane, for example; it can also be used to slow forward motion, as in the drag chutes deployed from the back end of drag racing automobiles. Renaissance Read More…

Glassblowing: Art & Science in One

The aptly named art/science of glassblowing is a glass forming method that involves blowing molten glass into a bubble (using a blowpipe). From this bubble form, the glass can be further worked into a vast spectrum of different shapes, encompassing everything from artistic works to functional devices. Inflation & Material Refinement Glassblowing was first developed Read More…

The Catapult: OG Ballistics

Invented by those wacky ancient Greeks, the catapult is perhaps the most famous and widely-used projectile weapon launcher in history. Some scholars maintain that the catapult was not originally devised as a weapon, but it’s rather hard to imagine for what other purpose it might conceivably be used. And, despite what your jerk of an Read More…