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Has any technology or product gone extinct?

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Optimizer, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

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    In 2011, NPR held a challenge to find any technology, device or product from history of mankind, that is not produced today.

    http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2011/04/technologies_do.php

    Three case studies of devices that should have gone extinct, showed that all these three remain in production, though slightly different in appearance and use.

    The other day, the discussion went on to a forum run by VoF, the Swedish Skeptics' Organization, and while some products thought to be extinct (halberds, slide rules, VCRs etc) were found to be manufactured today, the community came up with several solid examples of extinct technology. Several of them have military applications, and some would be familiar to civers.

    * Cylinder phonograph
    * Flatrod system - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatrod_system
    * Guillotine
    * Mechanical decryption machine
    * Mechanical telephone switchboard
    * Personal nuclear missile (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_(nuclear_device))
    * Protective armor for elephants
    * Trireme (multi-decked galley)

    Can you make the list shorter, or longer?
     
  2. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Demise

    Although a mainstay of display technology for decades, CRT-based computer monitors and televisions constitute a dead technology. The demand for CRT screens has dropped precipitously since 2000, and this falloff had accelerated in the latter half of that decade. The rapid advances and falling prices of LCD flat panel technology, first for computer monitors and then for televisions, has been the key factor in the demise of competing display technologies such as CRT, rear-projection, and plasma display.[35]

    The end of most high-end CRT production by around 2010 [36] (including high-end Sony and Mitsubishi product lines) means an erosion of the CRT's capability.[37][38] In Canada and the United States, the sale and production of high-end CRT TVs (30-inch screens) in these markets had all but ended by 2007; just a couple of years later, inexpensive combo CRT TVs (20-inch screens with an integrated VHS or DVD player) have disappeared from discount stores. It has been common to replace CRT-based televisions and monitors in as little as 5–6 years, although they generally are capable of satisfactory performance for a much longer time.

    Companies are responding to this trend. Electronics retailers such as Best Buy have been steadily reducing store spaces for CRTs. In 2005, Sony announced that they would stop the production of CRT computer displays. Samsung did not introduce any CRT models for the 2008 model year at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show and on 4 February 2008 Samsung removed their 30" wide screen CRTs from their North American website and has not replaced them with new models.[39]

    The demise of CRT, however, has been happening more slowly in the developing world. According to iSupply, production in units of CRTs was not surpassed by LCDs production until 4Q 2007, owing largely to CRT production at factories in China.

    In the United Kingdom, DSG (Dixons), the largest retailer of domestic electronic equipment, reported that CRT models made up 80–90% of the volume of televisions sold at Christmas 2004 and 15–20% a year later, and that they were expected to be less than 5% at the end of 2006. Dixons ceased selling CRT televisions in 2007.[40]


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathode_ray_tube#The_future_of_CRT_technology
     
  3. Azurian

    Azurian The Azurian

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    Sarcophagus
     
  4. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

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  5. Catharsis

    Catharsis catch u on the flip scythe

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    At first I figured no-one would be making cat-o'-nine-tails whips anymore, but it turns out they've been appropriated by the dominatrices.

    Perhaps the makers of protective armour for elephants should target the same market. The players moving therein are famously resourceful.

    (Spellcheck sez: dominatrices - perfectly legitimate word)
     
  6. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    A few products...

    Cement was gone for centuries until it was rediscovered.
    Greek fire hasn't been duplicated yet (I think?)
    Have they ever discovered how that old Egyptian blue was made?
     
  7. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

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    Cement is certainly made today, which is the point of the challenge.
    Greek fire was disqualified, since the historical records don't tell about the composition.

    Other products thought to be extinct, still manufactured today, are vacuum tube radios, VCRs, and steam locomotives.
     
  8. Petek

    Petek Alpha Centaurian Administrator Supporter

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    The first two products that came to mind were buggy whips and slide rules. However, online research showed that both are still made.
     
  9. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Horse drawn snow plows, snow compactors, digging buckets?
     
  10. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    The cotton gin? other mechanical inventions from that era?

    Also, Modern historical reproductions don't really imply that the object is not obsolete.
     
  11. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Retired Moderator

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    I take issue with the trireme, since that's not a fundamental technology but simply a specific application of particular wooden boat manufacturing technology - which is very much alive and well today.
     
  12. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

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    The NPR challenge focused on a 19th century catalogue of farm equipment, finding out that each and every product was still manufactured today. Many are used in the Amish community.

    My guess is that you have the greatest chance to find extinct technology in military applications.
     
  13. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    What about 8-Track tapes? I realize, the technology may still be used in IBM high end computers ie. Tape drives. Solid state is attempting to do away with anything doing with both platters and tape as mass storage devices.
     
  14. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    From what I understand there is still a niche-demand for the CRT that is based on actual qualities of CRT versus all the monitor technologies that came after.

    This contest is pretty philosophical. I'd say that a multi-deck rowed boat is not made commercially anymore, regardless of scale. Sure rowboats are still made, but the engineered design of large multi-deck rowboats is not common at all. Along the same line of reason, I wonder if animal pulled canal boats exist anymore.

    I believe tape drives are completely obsolete.
     
  15. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Retired Moderator

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    But just as with the trireme, there's nothing specific about the design or manufacture of a canal barge that is now 'lost'.
     
  16. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    Not at all. For long term archival of large amounts of data there is no real alternative to tapes.
     
  17. Samez

    Samez Emperor

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    -Chain (steam) shipping/chain (steam) ships

    The ship is pulled along a chain which lies on the riverbed.
    The German wiki about Kettenschiffe is quite interesting.
     
  18. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Eh, the vast majority of computer/electronic products have gone extinct.

    Most storage formats (Bernoulli Box, PocketZip, Ditto Drive, HD-DVD, etc.), almost every video game console ever released, almost every mobile phone ever produced, etc.
     
  19. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    Well, those are just specific products. They're magnetic storage technology which is alive and well. And the HD-DVD is just a loser in a format war to BluRay, but they are basically the same type of tech. Lasers read and/or burn pits into a media.
     
  20. Yeekim

    Yeekim Moderator Moderator

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    Hand-axes?

    Also, mammoth bone dwellings :p

     

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