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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    Yeah. I'm basically thinking of labor saving devices. Anything. We can't do dishwashers. But hey. Maybe a working sewage system works.
    Of all the ideas presented so far, I think a working sewage system is by far the least plausible for an individual to successfully introduce. I think you underestimate just how much work went into retrofitting existing cities with sewage systems in place of septic pits or just dumping stuff in the river/street.
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  2. - Top - End - #272
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    If you built it earlier when the settlement was smaller it would be less work to build it
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  3. - Top - End - #273
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Of all the ideas presented so far, I think a working sewage system is by far the least plausible for an individual to successfully introduce. I think you underestimate just how much work went into retrofitting existing cities with sewage systems in place of septic pits or just dumping stuff in the river/street.
    1. It's not that difficult to introduce. They didn't say implement, but the concept of introducing the idea is not that far off
    2. A lot of work is needed for all these inventions. And yet the sewage system and a working water filtration system would probably have immense benefits to everyone
    3. This starts with an assumption that it works out or that you have significant backing.

  4. - Top - End - #274
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    The Minoans had plumbing 3500 years ago. If they had running water, they probably also had drains.

    In that spirit, there is one weird trick to boost your entire medical system: Wash your hands. To make it even better, boil the handwashing water for physicians and assistants. "Disease can stick to fingers and knives even when it's not visible" is a super simple concept to explain.
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  5. - Top - End - #275
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I'll never understand how "relevant SMBC" never caught on.
    Harder to search.
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  6. - Top - End - #276
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The Minoans had plumbing 3500 years ago. If they had running water, they probably also had drains.

    In that spirit, there is one weird trick to boost your entire medical system: Wash your hands. To make it even better, boil the handwashing water for physicians and assistants. "Disease can stick to fingers and knives even when it's not visible" is a super simple concept to explain.
    The man who invented that got stuck in an insane asylum for it, I'm not sure this is going to be smooth.
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    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  7. - Top - End - #277
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    That's a gross oversimplification. He was largely ostracized by the medical community because his explanation for it working was rather flimsy (and wrong - he thought it was actual pieces of cadaver that were causing the sickness, and picked a compound that killed the smell - actual disinfection was a lucky accident), and he couldn't provide more than circumstantial evidence. He also communicated his ideas very poorly, and there were practical counterevidences that fit within existing medical theories. Many of those counterevidences were practical precisely because his ideas were so nebulous and communicated so badly. Eventually he had a mental breakdown of uncertain origin, and that is what got him thrown in an asylum.

  8. - Top - End - #278
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    A really simple one that people might not have heard of is a bellows gun, which is literally a bellows used like a suped up blow gun to fire a dart at 300 fps. They didn't get invented until the late 1500s but the underlying tech is much older, they just didn't put them together until gunpowder weapons made the shapes for them.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  9. - Top - End - #279
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    A really simple one that people might not have heard of is a bellows gun, which is literally a bellows used like a suped up blow gun to fire a dart at 300 fps. They didn't get invented until the late 1500s but the underlying tech is much older, they just didn't put them together until gunpowder weapons made the shapes for them.
    Wait. An air gun?

  10. - Top - End - #280
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    Wait. An air gun?
    Yeah but one that doesn't require valves. For a brief time in the early Nineteenth Century air guns looked like they might replace firearms before the Minié ball was invented, due to the high rate of fire and relatively similar accuracy and lethality. Then rifle muskets occurred and it got dropped (outside Austria which kept experimenting.)

    300FPS is fairly comparable to a bow, so a bellows gun could be a very easy to train weapon for hunting or war.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  11. - Top - End - #281
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Yeah but one that doesn't require valves. For a brief time in the early Nineteenth Century air guns looked like they might replace firearms before the Minié ball was invented, due to the high rate of fire and relatively similar accuracy and lethality. Then rifle muskets occurred and it got dropped (outside Austria which kept experimenting.)

    300FPS is fairly comparable to a bow, so a bellows gun could be a very easy to train weapon for hunting or war.
    I am now seized with a desire to study the history of valves

  12. - Top - End - #282
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Yeah but one that doesn't require valves. For a brief time in the early Nineteenth Century air guns looked like they might replace firearms before the Minié ball was invented, due to the high rate of fire and relatively similar accuracy and lethality. Then rifle muskets occurred and it got dropped (outside Austria which kept experimenting.)

    300FPS is fairly comparable to a bow, so a bellows gun could be a very easy to train weapon for hunting or war.
    That's pretty neat. Does it require worked metal for either the gun itself or the ammunition (and if so, what kind)? I suspect not, but it's worth checking. How portable were they? Would this be purely defensive fortifications (still a hefty advancement for a good chunk of history), or error they be able to be mobile weapons for offense as well?
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  13. - Top - End - #283
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    That's pretty neat. Does it require worked metal for either the gun itself or the ammunition (and if so, what kind)? I suspect not, but it's worth checking. How portable were they? Would this be purely defensive fortifications (still a hefty advancement for a good chunk of history), or error they be able to be mobile weapons for offense as well?
    So I did some research to try and see how simple this could be, and while it's not terrible it's probably just outside the range of this question.

    Basically you turn a charging handle to force open the bellows, which locks a spring open. The spring can be very simple, and is the hard part of the operation. When you release it blows the barrel shut suddenly, forcing the air into a small chamber and launching the dart (think dart gun.)

    So except the spring that can all be done whenever. The spring could theoretically be replaced with a rope torsion device like a ballista used, but single sided. So one side of the bellow is locked to the inside of the stock, the other one is opened and locks into place by turning the rope. How much power is lost between rope torsion and springs? I imagine even if it is close, the rope will fray rather quickly compared to a V spring or volute spring and require more service, which busts the usefulness of the device.

    The size of the weapon is typical air rifle, and they made them into the Ninteenth Century, but having seen how simple a windlass is.. This is a hard game yall
    Last edited by Tvtyrant; 2021-07-19 at 06:20 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  14. - Top - End - #284
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Paper. It's quite simple in the right location.
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  15. - Top - End - #285
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Geopol4r View Post
    Paper. It's quite simple in the right location.
    So how do you do it?
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  16. - Top - End - #286
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Wood pulp paper would actually be a brilliant idea. Paper was historically super expensive because it was made from rags, and the basic process for making wood pulp paper is pretty contained in the very name.

  17. - Top - End - #287
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Wood pulp paper would actually be a brilliant idea. Paper was historically super expensive because it was made from rags, and the basic process for making wood pulp paper is pretty contained in the very name.
    I'm actually wondering about the chemistry needed to make wood pulp paper.

  18. - Top - End - #288
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    You can do it just by grinding the wood. This makes for lower quality than you'd find in chemically produced pulp, but is good enough for cheap paper.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    You can do it just by grinding the wood. This makes for lower quality than you'd find in chemically produced pulp, but is good enough for cheap paper.
    What do you grind the wood with?
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    What do you grind the wood with?
    Sand stone rollers powered by a water mill (or slaves.) Then the wet mass is dried over a mesh grate (probably wood) then then pressed and heated once half the water has dried and the rest is dried while compressed. Then you cut pages.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    What do you grind the wood with?
    I did it in high school art class with sawdust, water, and a screen. It was chunky and rough, but it was paper.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Sand stone rollers powered by a water mill (or slaves.) Then the wet mass is dried over a mesh grate (probably wood) then then pressed and heated once half the water has dried and the rest is dried while compressed. Then you cut pages.
    Water mills are very old technology, right? Seems like paper can totally be a great answer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I did it in high school art class with sawdust, water, and a screen. It was chunky and rough, but it was paper.
    Even better!
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  23. - Top - End - #293
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Water mills are very old technology, right? Seems like paper can totally be a great answer.


    Even better!
    Yeah Paper should be doable pretty early. You could get a papermill in ancient Sumer if you make the paper by hand and then convince some guys to help you make a mill I think.
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  24. - Top - End - #294
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I did it in high school art class with sawdust, water, and a screen. It was chunky and rough, but it was paper.
    The hard part of that formula is the screen. That's not something that would be readily available in ancient Sumer.
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    The hard part of that formula is the screen. That's not something that would be readily available in ancient Sumer.
    I mean, cloth exists, so presumably thread exists. It seems like you could put one together yourself by winding a sufficient quantity of thread about some nails on a frame. Anyone happen to know when the first screen/thread filter existed?
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    I'm trying to look, but it appears to be a prehistoric invention.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    I suspect that thread was sufficiently expensive that fly-screens would not be a viable idea until the spinning wheel was invented.

  28. - Top - End - #298
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    I mean, cloth exists, so presumably thread exists.
    Up to a point... "Cloth" exists, but in many places it's not as we know it.

    Cotton was known in the Middle East - approximately, from Egypt to the Indus - but it wasn't introduced to Europe until post-Roman times. Linen, similarly. Both were expensive, high status products.

    The only thread widely available in most places would have been wool, which I would think is probably too stretchy and absorbant for this application.
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighbor’s pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

  29. - Top - End - #299
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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    Preservation of fabric varies according to local conditions, but late bronze age Britain, for example. absolutely had fabric from plant fibers such as linen and nettles. See this fascinating description of textiles found in a bronze age site in Cambridgeshire.

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    Default Re: What are technologies that a time traveler could easily introduce to ancient time

    As I recall from paper-making activities as a kid, the screen is mostly necessary to hold the fiber slurry in place and let it dry from both sides. It doesn't need to be super precisely manufactured, it just needs a minimal amount of strength to hold the weight of the paper, and have enough holes in it to let air in and moisture out. You do want it to be fairly smooth, because the pulp will conform to its shape to a degree, and a smoother drying surface means less finishing time later. Because of the very moist nature of the problem, I think a fiber mesh would be less than ideal, since it would degrade extremely quickly. Fine wickerwork might be alright, but would again tend to rot out quite rapidly. I think you could use a woven mesh of relatively fine wires or metal strips with some success.

    (Yes I know I argued against wire production earlier, but that was in the context of coils for electric motors, i.e. you need huge lengths of very consistent wire. Here you need lots of shorter lengths, with much less demand for consistency. Still very expensive, but I think doable with draw-plate production.)

    One weird downside of early paper production is that archeologists would lose huge amounts of knowledge about ancient societies. We have, for instance, huge amounts of Hittite diplomatic correspondence because it was written or copied onto clay tablets for the state archive, and the tablets survive. Our knowlege of Egypt is heavily biased towards what made it onto monuments, or was carved into limestone as a rough draft of a papyrus final version, simply because the stone survives. An ancient world that ran on paper would be much more opaque to us.
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