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History of Technology Heroes and Villains - A little light reading Here you will find a brief history of technology. Initially inspired by the development of batteries, it covers technology in general and includes some interesting little known, or long forgotten, facts as well as a few myths about the development of technology, the science behind it, the context in which it occurred and the deeds of the many personalities, eccentrics and charlatans involved.
You may find the Search Enginethe Technology Timeline or the Hall of Fame quicker if you are looking for something or somebody in particular. Scroll down and see what treasures you can discover.
Background We think of a battery today as a source of portable power, but it is no exaggeration to say that the battery is one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind. The electronics, computers and communications industries, power engineering and much of the chemical industry of today were founded on discoveries made possible by the battery.
Pioneers It is often overlooked that throughout the nineteenth century, most of the electrical experimenters, inventors and engineers who made these advances possible had to make their own batteries before they could start their investigations.
They did not have the benefit of cheap, off the shelf, mass produced batteries. In recent years batteries have changed out of all recognition.
No longer are they simple electrochemical cells. Today the cells are components in battery systems, incorporating electronics and software, power management and control systems, monitoring and protection circuits, communications interfaces and thermal management.
At the end of the fourth millennium B. Bronze is a relatively hard alloy of copper and tin, better suited for the purpose than the much softer copper enabling improved durability of the weapons and the ability to hold a cutting edge.
The use of bronze for tools and weapons gradually spread to the rest of the World until it was eventually superceded by the much harder iron. Mesopotamia, incorporating Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria, known in the West as the Cradle of Civilisation was located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers The name means "land between the rivers" in the so called Fertile Crescent stretching from the current Gulf of Iran up to modern day Turkey.
See Map of Mesopotamia Unfortunately this accolade ignores the contributions of the Chinese people and the Harappans of the Indus Valley, Modern day Pakistan who were equally "civilised" during this period practicing metallurgy copper, bronze, lead, and tin and urban planning, with civic buildings, baked brick houses, and water supply and drainage systems.
From around B. Called Cuneiform Writing from the Latin "cuneus", meaning "wedge", it was developed as a vehicle for commercial accounting transactions and record keeping. The writing was in the form of a series of wedge-shaped signs pressed into soft clay by means of a reed stylus to create simple pictures, or pictograms, each representing an object.
The clay subsequently hardened in the Sun or was baked to form permanent tablets. Hieroglyphic script evolved slightly later in Egypt.
Though the script appeared on vases and stone carvings, many important Egyptian historical scripts and records were written in ink, made from carbon black soot or red ochre mixed with gelatin and gum, applied with a reed pen onto papyrus.
Produced from the freshwater papyrus reed, the papyrus scrolls were fragile and susceptible to decay from both moisture and excessive dryness and many of them have thus been lost, whereas the older, more durable clay cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia have survived. Historians seem to agree that the wheel and axle were invented around B.
Pictograms on a tablet dating from about B. Sumerian mathematics and science used a base 60 sexagesimal numeral system. The Mesopotamians thus introduced the minute hour, the second minute and the degree circle with each angular degree consisting of 60 seconds. The calendar adopted by the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians was based 12 lunar months and seven-day weeks with hour days.
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