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Old 01-18-2023, 02:23 PM
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
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Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
Ran across another lost technology - Greek fire.

Byzantine naval forces used it to great effect against enemy ships. First described in 627 CE, last known use in 1099 CE. A secret military technology lost to the ages.
White phosphorus.


Very few of these are actually "lost". Most of them are "abandoned" which is a very different thing.
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Old 01-19-2023, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by rabbit33 View Post
White phosphorus.


Very few of these are actually "lost". Most of them are "abandoned" which is a very different thing.
I thought that you might be on to something...but no.

The historical accounts regarding the description, preparation, use, and properties of Greek Fire do not line up with white phosphorus munitions (first used in the 19th century). About the only similarities are that both are incendiary weapons.

Case in point - according to the historical descriptions Greek Fire burned under water, indicating that it did not require oxygen from the atmosphere. White phosphorus does need oxygen to burn, and submerging it in water removes oxygen from the equation. I even recall an episode from the TV show M*A*S*H (yes, I'm going there) where surgeons removed white phosphorus fragments from a soldier's leg by submerging it in water, then using the material's natural phosphorescence in a dark room to detect and remove the fragments.

Although I do agree with the observation of tech being lost through abandonment. The Bessemer process made steel production cheap and cheap steel plentiful, which probably drove those with knowledge of the crafting of crucible Damascus steel out of business; cheap and plentiful steel definitely led to the extinction of twist-Damascus steel gun barrels.
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Old 01-25-2023, 08:12 AM
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
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Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
Same with SR-71 Blackbird tech. It's still there, but it's used in other military projects that aren't as talked about. That, or the latest Top Gun movie totally lied to us.
Yea, as he said: the plane may be gone but the tech certainly has NOT.

And going back to the moon is anything BUT pointless. It actually amazes me we haven't been back. We should already be routinely going back and forth...
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Old 01-27-2023, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mshultz View Post
The retirement of the SS United States marked the end of the fastest way to cross the Atlantic ocean in a passenger ship.
That's not lost technology though, that's evolution. It's faster and cheaper to cross the Atlantic in a plane. Steamships and passenger ships haven't gone anywhere, they've just been relegated to other uses.

Cruising can be fun, we've done an Alaskan. I wouldn't want to waste a week just to get to Europe though. I'd just as soon fly and use the saved time to see something better than...water.
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Old 01-30-2023, 07:42 AM
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
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One of my favorite sites https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/

In regatds new tech-- Just because we can doesn't mean we should.

My dairy farmer neighbor was recently in a tizzy because we lost grid power for an extended period...I told him I'd be happy to lend him a hand.
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Old 08-13-2023, 03:00 PM
Location: Tricity, PL
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Default Ancient High Tech

There are many technologies which remain completely unexplained, even with the help of modern science.

Let's take a look at some of them

1. Greek fire
It could be used both on land and at sea to devastating effect. The exact composition of Greek fire is unknown, but it is likely to include naphtha and quicklime, as it would ignite when it made contact with water. Terrifyingly, sailors were unable to put out the flames as water did not help.


2. The Antikythera Mechanism
A new study, using cutting-edge techniques, has now revealed what this machine could do, and how it did it - an ancient Greek astronomical calculating machine, known as the Antikythera Mechanism.


3. The Great Pyramids of Giza
It is still a mystery how those structures were built.
The Egyptians of the time are believed to have had only rudimentary tools, they were unfamiliar with the wheel, they had no machinery such as cranes, a limited knowledge of astronomy and only copper tools.
The mathematics and precision is still mind blowing.


4. Non-Rusting Iron Pillar of Delhi
The iron pillar at Qutub Minar in Delhi has remained rust-free for over 1,600 years.
Keep in mind that not until in the invention of Stainless Steel in 1913 was it possible to prevent rusting.


5. The Baghdad Battery
It is believed to date from either the Sasanian or Parthian empires of Persia, anywhere from 150 BCE to 650 AD.
The purpose of the Baghdad Battery is unknown, scientists believe the batteries (if that is their correct function) were used to electroplate items such as putting a layer of one metal (gold) onto the surface of another (silver), a method still practiced in Iraq today.


6. Stonehenge
Transporting and placing the stones is not the only impressive thing about this megalithic creation. Where the stones were placed betrays another level of ancient knowledge. Stonehenge has a celestial observatory function, which may well have been used to predict eclipses, solstices, equinoxes and more.
Stonehenge was produced by a culture that left no written records.
It is still mystery and object of speculations.

7. The Houfeng Didong Yi: the world’s first seismoscope
Created almost 2000 years ago, the Houfeng Didong Yi holds the honor of being the world’s first seismoscope.
While primary sources are unclear as to how the seismoscope actually worked, researchers suggest that vibrations caused a pendulum inside the pot to swing, causing a small ball to release through a dragon head and into the mouth of its corresponding toad, indicating the direction of an earthquake.


8. Roman concrete: cement that does not crack
The earliest-known reference to Roman concrete dates to 25 BC
Roman concrete was a hydraulic-setting cement mix consisting of volcanic ash and lime that, in the words of Pliny the Elder, bound rock fragments into “a single stone mass” and made them “impregnable to the waves and every day stronger.


9. Lycurgus Cup

The cup’s glass is dichroic; it appears red when lit from behind and green when lit from the front.
The dichroic effect is achieved by making the glass with tiny proportions of nanoparticles of gold and silver dispersed in colloidal form throughout the glass material. It is among the most technically sophisticated glass objects produced before the modern era.
Nanotechnology was likely unknown to the Romans, as we only discovered it in the 1970s.


10. Obsidian bracelet discovered at the site of Aşıklı Höyük, Turkey
Oldest obsidian bracelet reveals amazing craftsmen's skills in the eighth millennium BC
Dated to 7500 BC, the obsidian bracelet studied by the researchers is unique.
This process has revealed that the bracelet was made using highly specialized manufacturing techniques.
The surface finish of the bracelet (which is very regular, resembling a mirror) required the use of complex polishing techniques capable of obtaining a nanometer-scale surface quality worthy of today's telescope lenses.


Feel free to add more.
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Old Today, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by mshultz View Post
While we have made amazing advances in technology just within my lifetime (born 1956), some advanced technologies no longer exist:
Manned spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
Supersonic passenger flights
Hovercraft crossing the English Channel (There is still hovercraft service from Southsea to the Isle of Wight)
Telephone voice quality - Cell phones and internet phone service have a noticeably lower voice quality than good landline connections. Unfortunately, good landline connections are not guaranteed. So this technology is not so much lost as increasingly rare.

What other examples of lost technology are there?
Those are not technologies, they are events which use the technology that is available.
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