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Old 01-12-2023, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Wooster, Ohio
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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?
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Old 01-12-2023, 12:09 PM
 
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You may know that the postal service used to have as many as a half dozen different deliveries a day, and letters often took less than a day to be delivered in some areas. Pre-war Berlin had an advanced pneumatic tube system that went across the city to distribute mail.

Economics is what has killed most technologies and their use. Narrow boat owners in Britain are now having problems because of the high price of a bag of the coal used for heating them. This in a country that has ample coal.
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Old 01-12-2023, 12:41 PM
 
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I wouldn't say that manned space flight past low Earth orbit is a "lost" technology. It was simply not used due to budgetary constraints. Less money for NASA meant that NASA went for cheaper non-manned missions. And NASA is returning to manned missions to the Moon by 2024 (albeit, just orbits of the Moon, landings come later).

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.

An actual example of a lost technology? Crucible Damascus steel. We can make Damascus steel now, but not using the traditional technology that existed for a millennium before the tech was lost/forgotten around 1900.
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Old 01-12-2023, 12:46 PM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmilf View Post

An actual example of a lost technology? Crucible Damascus steel. We can make Damascus steel now, but not using the traditional technology that existed for a millennium before the tech was lost/forgotten around 1900.
Good one, or Roman cement. Though they're making headway on that one.
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Old 01-13-2023, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Wooster, Ohio
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I'm defining Lost Technology as advanced technology that we no longer do. Certainly, we could do all of the things I listed, if we wanted to. As far as resuming manned space flight beyond low-Earth-orbit, I consider this to be pipe dreams, until it actually happens again. Manned spaceflight to the moon would be pointless now. We've already done it, and unmanned probes are better. As far as manned spaceflight to Mars, I have my doubts that will ever happen. I also doubt that nuclear fusion will ever become a usable source of power.
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Old 01-13-2023, 08:53 AM
 
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If you want to get really esoteric, there are those who believe that our civilization once had power generation through "resonators" drawing electrical energy from the "aether" (we might quantify it more as a Tesla power transmission concept). Or that flight was achieved long before even dirigibles and hot air balloons.

I am unconvinced, personally. But it is an interesting rabbit hole.
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Old 01-13-2023, 01:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mshultz View Post
I'm defining Lost Technology as advanced technology that we no longer do. Certainly, we could do all of the things I listed, if we wanted to. As far as resuming manned space flight beyond low-Earth-orbit, I consider this to be pipe dreams, until it actually happens again. Manned spaceflight to the moon would be pointless now. We've already done it, and unmanned probes are better. As far as manned spaceflight to Mars, I have my doubts that will ever happen. I also doubt that nuclear fusion will ever become a usable source of power.
You miss a few points. Politically, the race to the moon was a large part of what bankrupted the Soviet Union (that and their war in Afghanistan). It may have a similar effect with China, although that is more iffy. The Chinese will absolutely put men on the moon, it is just a matter of how long it takes them.

Why? The moon is about the most ideal spot for industrial processes imaginable. Low gravity effectively makes a structure that is six times stronger in lifting than the same structure on Earth. There is little or no contamination of smelting. Power is effectively unlimited, since huge solar arrays (both heat and electrical) are possible. Minerals are abundant. The cost of massive lofting satellites from the moon to low Earth orbit would be less than lofting them from Earth. It is an ideal spot for Jewish Space Lasers. No cockroaches. One of the more fun things is the old vacuum tube technology for high power needs no vacuum tube. Massive electronics with ultra-high currents are possible. Those are just a few reasons to colonize. Robotics are fine for some things, but time delays get problematic with others.

Remember biosphere and biosphere 2? The lessons from those about how environmental factors interact were flawed and only a minor part of what we will need to know in the future if we are to keep Earth habitable. Experiments that are similar on the moon would give much more accurate information, without being a threat to Earth itself. Genetically modified organisms could be introduced and if the result was disastrous, the experiment could be terminated by opening the airlock.
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Old 01-13-2023, 08:14 PM
 
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Canada's Avro Arrow 1950s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Canada_CF-105_Arrow


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Old 01-18-2023, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Wooster, Ohio
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The retirement of the SS United States marked the end of the fastest way to cross the Atlantic ocean in a passenger ship.
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Old 01-18-2023, 02:13 PM
 
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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.
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