Top 10 Lost Technologies

10 Antikythera Mechanism In 1900 an ancient analog computer was found in a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera

Divers had discovered the Antikythera mechanism, a device that was created in 100BC, and is considered to be the world’s oldest calculator For decades, the mechanism’s purpose has boggled scientists Recent theories suggest that it was used to chart the position of the sun, moon, and planets But how such a sophisticated machine was made over 2000 years ago remains a mystery The mechanism’s technology was so advanced that a clock of the same complexity wouldn’t be made in Europe for another 1500 years

9 Stradivarius Strings 17th Century Italy was home to some of the greatest violins in the world The craftsman Antonio Stradivari and his family produced string instruments with an unparalleled sound quality He made over 1,000 violins, violas, and cellos, but only 650 of these instruments remain Stradivari passed on his secret technique to his sons, but they died without passing on their father’s method

Today Stradivarius violins go for millions at auction, and in 2011 one sold for a record-breaking $15 million 8 Damascus Steel Between the 12th and 18th Century a mighty sword steel was forged in the Middle East and legend speaks of its ability to slice through other metals The Damascus sword’s incredible strength is because of ancient nanotechnology, which gave it an unparalleled sharpness and strength However, when the unique elements used to make the blades started to run out, they couldn’t replicate the quality of the blade with substitute properties

As the production of Damascus steel diminished, the secret method to making these legendary swords was lost forever 7 Sloot Digital Coding System In the early nineties inventor Jan Sloot invented a revolutionary data compression technique, which claimed to compress a whole 10 gigabyte movie down to just 8 kilobytes without a loss in quality Lots of people doubted the possibility of Sloot’s invention, but the technology company Philips saw real potential in his coding system and arranged to sign a deal with him The day before he was due to sign, Sloot died of a heart attack

Philips were still prepared to utilize Sloot’s technology after his death, but a key floppy disk had gone missing, which contained the coding software After months of searching, the floppy disk was never found, and Sloot’s invention was forgotten 6 Vitrum Flexile In the 1st Century AD a highly skilled glassmaker created ‘Vitrum Flexile’ Unlike ordinary glass, vitrum flexile couldn’t break

Written accounts about this astonishing glass describe the glassmaker presenting his invention to Emperor Tiberius The Emperor threw it to the floor – but it didn’t smash The Romans feared the material would undermine the value of silver and gold, so the glassmaker was beheaded before he could share his technique with the rest of the world Attempts have been made, but modern technology still hasn’t been able to reproduce a shock-resistant glass like the Romans 5

Mithridatium Legend has it that this super antidote was capable of curing any poison King Mithridates IV created the Mithridatium remedy and it contained up to 73 ingredients that protected against spiders, snakes, scorpions, and other deadly poisons After the king’s death, people started to translate the antidote’s recipe into other languages But with every translation, the recipe underwent alterations that affected the overall effectiveness of the medicine, until the true capabilities of the antidote were completely lost 4

Cloud Buster In the 1950s, the Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich created the cloud buster: a rain-maker machine that worked by pointing a series of water-powered metal tubes at the sky, to manipulate ‘orgone energy’ – a cosmic life force that supposedly controls the atmosphere In 1953 Reich surprised skeptics when his invention apparently made it rain over a farm, ending a drought Suddenly, the cynics were interested Fearing the possibility of dangerous climate manipulation from Reich’s Cloud Buster, the FDA destroyed all of Reich’s work and had him imprisoned after trying to export his ‘orgone accumulators’ 3

Greek Fire It’s still a mystery how one civilization from over 1300 years ago produced such a powerful incendiary weapon These naval flame throwers were used to set enemy ships ablaze and their flames could even burn on water To stop enemies stealing their weapon, the Greeks kept their liquid fire recipe top secret The closest modern-day weapon is napalm, a flammable liquid that was used in the Vietnam War But we’ve never come close to replicating Byzantine Fire using ancient ingredients

2 Starlite In the 1980s an amateur scientist called Maurice Ward created an indestructible, heat-resistant plastic after he saw an aeroplane burst into flames Experiments showed that Starlite could tolerate 10,000 degrees Celsius and withstand blasts more than 75 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb NASA raved about the astronautical and security potential of Starlite but Maurice refused to part with his recipe, fearing that companies would profit from his invention In 2011 Maurice died without passing on his secret formula, and scientists have repeatedly failed to replicate this amazing material

1 Tesla’s Death Ray In 1934 inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla conceived a world-changing creation that would protect entire countries from aerial bombing and modern warfare attacks The Soviet Union showed great interest in Tesla’s idea, which claimed to be able to melt planes from 250 miles away using a charged particle beam transmitter However, due to a lack of funding, Tesla’s Teleforce was never made After his death, Tesla’s plans for the death ray mysteriously disappeared

It’s suspected that they were seized by the Pentagon to prevent other countries from developing the technology

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