The early 20th century was a time of rapidly expanding technology, and one of the side effects of this technology growth was a rapid shrinking of the size of the world, figuratively speaking. The frontiers of the world were all being explored, and the idea of global travel was becoming increasingly popular. From Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days to contests with a Earth-spanning adventure as a prize, the sort of globetrotting we take for granted had captured much of the world’s imagination.
Continue reading Spiro-Graf
Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was a man obsessed. He was obsessed with creating an air ship that could transport people and materials around the globe. In 1884 the idea of manned flight was primarily driven by hot air balloons. The problem with hot air balloons is they can only carry a few people at a time. And they catch fire. Herr Zeppelin attended a speech by Heinrich von Stephan regarding world postal services and air travel using a lighter-than-air craft constructed of a rigid outer frame and large bladders filled with some sort of gas.
Continue reading Steerable Air Train
With our celebration of often defunct technology comes the sadness from the death of this technology. Fortunately, most of it is far enough removed, by time or space, that we can easily bury that pain. In many ways, we may not even realize it was ever there as our mind seeks to protect us. Sometimes, though, a wound we never thought we had is re-opened.
Continue reading Too Late
Necessity has been deemed the mother of invention, and nothing seems to escalate innovation like war. Be it hot or cold, wartime sees a need for bold new ideas, and that need is usually accompanied by an injection of funds that allows many a hair-brained scheme to actually see the light of day. Between AT’s very own Fodder and engineerd™, we have been enlightened to many a kooky WWII and Cold War creation, and I know we can count on more to come.
This post opens an occasional series to explore the original ‘War to End All Wars’, and look at some technological developments arising from that conflict. Let’s kick it off with the Zeppelin manned observation basket!
Continue reading Innovations of the Great War: Spähkorb