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Questions tagged [pre-industrial]

For question about societies that have not yet reached the industrial revolution. It covers a large period of time.

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What aspect of planet Earth must be changed to prevent the industrial revolution?

I am thinking of a planet (I suppose one would call it a parallel earth) where the industrial revolution never happens, and people live with 1700s technology forever. What differences in resources/...
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1answer
76 views

Atmospheric pressure engine train in the 15th-16th century

With the knowledge and tools required, could an atmospheric pressure engine train be built in the 15th-16th century? If so how effective would it be and what change would it bring to the world in that ...
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2answers
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What geological and chemical changes to the earth's makeup could effectively limit technological advancement

Basically, I want to freeze the technology of earth at a level reminiscent of pre-Industrial Revolution Europe. I'm trying to figure out what substance or material would have to be absent from the ...
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1answer
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What society/government would be stable if people get superpowers randomly? [closed]

To refine the question: Goal: a society/government capable of lasting centuries. This takes place somewhere within a technological time period (1000BCE to 1000CE). No gunpowder or explosives. I'm ...
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13answers
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Logistics of a hovering watercraft in a fantasy setting

So in my fantasy world, there exists a substance that (when applied to the surface of an object) repels water in the same way a very strong magnet would. This allows boats to hover above the surface ...
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7answers
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Removing an item from a weight-sensitive pressure plate without triggering alarm [closed]

A character in one of my stories wants to steal a valuable artifact from a museum. The artifact is on top of a sensitive pressure plate, which is configured to trigger an alarm if the weight changes ...
8
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1answer
376 views

What kind of engine could the 14-15th century world create?

If someone in the 14-15th century world had the knowledge required to build an engine for use in locomotives and ships, what kind of engine could be made using technology that already existed back ...
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5answers
268 views

How to create a sunny atmosphere without an actual sun?

I have a large underground fantasy world which is only accessible through the Mariana Trench. I'd like to do a day/night cycle and have have a bright, sunny atmosphere part of the time, but I'm not ...
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3answers
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Reasonable maximum iron age/medieval population for small rural area

Question From around 400 BCE to 1000 CE, what could what would a reasonable greatest achievable population be – under the best of all circumstances – in a rural area of about $\mathrm{900 km^2}$ (In ...
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1answer
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Steam-powered dirigibles in the late 17th to early 18th century

I want steam powered dirigibles in my world around the year 1700. As this is an alternate world, a new gas with the same essential properties as Hydrogen, apart from the whole exploding aspect seems ...
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5answers
222 views

How could the Ming Dynasty's armada have made China a colonial superpower?

The Ming Dynasty was the ruling dynasty in China from 1368 - 1644. Early in this period, the emperor commissioned a naval fleet numbering some 317 ships. This armada conducted a number of ocean ...
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6answers
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Reactions to a Young Time Traveller

My question is simple. What would people in England in 1700 think of a modern, history loving, 12-14 year old girl? This particular girl was a case of time travel gone wrong. A school trip meant to be ...
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4answers
265 views

Habitability of a planet with highly variable temperatures

The surface of the planet I have envisioned is almost entirely desert save for several city-sized "oases," or pockets of water, flora, and fauna that do not exist elsewhere. The temperature ...
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8answers
355 views

What can a bunch of American kids teach ancient Egyptians? [closed]

18 children (ages 2-14) travel from a small American town in 1995 to the year 1312 BCE in ancient Egypt. They stay with Jewish slaves in their village (the structure is more serfs than slaves) for 9 ...
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14answers
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Rain powered transport

Rain-powered transport The plain of Soggi experiences a constant rainfall. Can a rain powered vehicle be built according to the following conditions? The plain of Soggi experiences a constant ...
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6answers
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Could a medieval planet industrialize/modernize if it was conquered by a more advanced culture for 19 years?

In my book series (link here), Aurea (a planet based on Byzantine Anatolia) is conquered by a group called the Tatians, who have access to technology that would not be out of place in Star Wars (...
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2answers
143 views

Cross-linked polymers available to pre-industrial people?

Cross-linked polymers are vitally important materials used all the time in modern life. For example, the resins used in composite materials are usually some type of cross-linked polymer. What type ...
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15answers
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Can there be a long-range railway system without industrialisation?

Consider a civilization with pre-industrial, possibly even pre-gunpowder technology, but the economic incentive to have continent-spanning railway tracks. Would it be possible for them to build those ...
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9answers
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How would one develop a transistor in a medieval setting

What are the requirements for such an endeavour? I am making a novel where the protagonist is reincarnated into a medieval society. His plan is to push forward technology into the modern age. He ...
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4answers
558 views

Alternative options to change sex-based characteristics in a non-modern world setting?

This question has received a major rewrite and restructuring but is still the same original question. Please see this meta-post, where I asked for advice on how to refocus this question. While I have ...
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5answers
367 views

How can a pre-modern culture survive a sustained invasion accompanied by epidemics?

Assume the following situation: A pre-modern culture A exists on continent/island X with no previous contact with culture B (the invaders). Culture B discovers and invades X and the lands of A intend ...
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3answers
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Could a medieval / early modern blast furnace produce steel alloys

Blast furnaces have been in China since the 1st century, and arrived in the west during the late 1400's. Imagine now a society "stuck" in the early modern / late medieval period, could they produce ...
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7answers
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Would human body adaption to sub-zero temperatures be actually beneficial in arctic climates?

The setting is in tribal times. I was thinking about a being (or a tribe of beings), living in arctic climates where the temperature is mostly or even exclusively below 0 °C, that is identical to an ...
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3answers
238 views

Medieval society with (relatively) easily accessible mechanical power

No magic exists in this setting beyond what is explicitly described in this quesiton. The setting is vaguely European medieval. The question centers around a town large enough to support a nobleman ...
2
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1answer
218 views

What kind of industries would legal and regulated necromancy spawn and require? [closed]

This is for a setting I'm slowly building up for my own writing / game creation needs. We used this setting as a background for (a sadly very short-lived) RPG campaign before and I was pleasantly ...
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5answers
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Can sanitation spark an industrial revolution

In an Alternate Earth timeline, round about 1200 AD, we have the Great Alchemist and Philosopher Bob. Bob, being from a wealthy family has a handful of older brothers, so he's not likely to be an ...
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3answers
226 views

Ancient Greece have access to cheap, durable and easy to process material, how far can they advance?

Let us consider a human civilization on the level of Plato's Ancient Greece or quite close. They have metal tools and weapons, horse and bull powered chariots, ships with sails and paddles, democratic ...
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10answers
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How could banks with multiple branches work in a world without quick communication?

If a bank wanted to operate branches in multiple cities, possibly separated by large distances, how would they prevent a fraudulent customer from double-dipping on a withdrawal? For example, if I ...
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4answers
855 views

Would post-traumatic stress disorder exist identically in a pre-industrial warfare setting?

I'm not into psychology, but I've heard a lot about veterans who have committed suicide, went crazy, became addicted or have their lives ruined in other ways because of the shock they lived through ...
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7answers
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What would an isolated undead community look like?

I'm trying to work out a design for an isolated monastery populated entirely by sentient undead, and having trouble working out what would need to be there. If the entire population is vitally ...
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9answers
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What would eating/killing/rearing an animal be like when an animal person of that kind exists?

So, in within my setting, there are half-animal, half-human beings, as well as humans, whom they all share common divine creators. Just a bit of elaboration concerning the creation of life in my ...
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8answers
661 views

How much of a pre-industrial country consumed food can come from importation?

They do not have access to fast and reliable transport options like steam boats, trains and do not use fossil fuel. They can only rely on the power of the winds and water currents for long distance ...