[personal profile] matgb

Date: 2010-12-10 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tiredstars.livejournal.com
When I was in New York earlier this year I went to the skyscraper museum. It wasn't that great, and ironically small, but I did learn one interesting tidbit. In the 20s & 30s, the planning regulations specified that skyscrapers had to shrink in size by certain proportions as they went up. The diminishing stacked box appearance of classic buildings like the Empire State is actually them following this building code quite precisely.

Call me a military history geek, but greek fire is the most fascinating of lost technologies, because it was such a fundamental part of the defence of byzantium for so long. I don't know if there are any examples of a technology so powerful that was kept in the hands of one state for so long.
daweaver:   (oc)

Lost and forgotten

Date: 2010-12-11 11:08 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
Unlike certain other programmes we might mention, everything on Only Connect is fact-checked to within an inch of its life. That particular question was not one of mine, but these are the citations I would have put in:

"The composition and method of manufacture of Coade stone are not fully known" appears in Roberts and Godfrey's "Survey of London" (1951).

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (subscription required) says "Long thought to be a mystery, Coade stone is now known to be a ceramic material, and the British Museum research laboratory's analysis in 1985 showed that it was a form of stoneware so resistant to the weather that it is as precise today as when it was originally made."

The on-screen caption was precisely worded: "Their manufacture became 'lost secrets'", implying that some of these have been re-discovered - Coade Stone and Damascus steel appear to have been independently recreated.

Re: Lost and forgotten

Date: 2010-12-13 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Although not the world's most accurate textbook, Brewer's Phrase and Fable also lists Coade Stone as a lost secret.

As daweaver says, many of these things have now either been recreated or solved but for some things their exact nature will never be reduplicated because we no longer have some of the raw material required.

David
OC Question Editor
gominokouhai: (Default)

Date: 2010-12-11 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gominokouhai
The Antikythera mechanism featured on that list would appear to have been recreated. In Lego, no less.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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