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OBSOLETE TECHNOLOGY

Fruit Walls: Urban Farming in the 1600s

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We are being told to eat local and seasonal food, either because other crops have been tranported over long distances, or because they are grown in energy-intensive greenhouses. But it wasn’t always like that. From the sixteenth to the twentieth century, urban farmers grew Mediterranean fruits and vegetables as far …

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Power from the Tap: Water Motors

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Few people in the western world realize that they have an extra power source available in their household, workshop or factory: tap water. Just before the arrival of electricity at the end of the nineteenth century, water motors were widely used in Europe and America. These miniature water turbines were …

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Wood gas vehicles: firewood in the fuel tank

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During the Second World War, almost every motorised vehicle in continental Europe was converted to use firewood. Wood gas cars (also known as producer gas cars) are a not-so-elegant but surprisingly efficient and ecological alternative to their petrol (gasoline) cousins, whilst their range is comparable to that of electric cars. …

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