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4 years ago

06 - Connections (TV series) - Thunder in the Skies

"Thunder in the Skies" implicates the Little Ice Age (circa 1250–1300 AD) in the invention of the chimney, as well as knitting, buttons, wainscoting, wall tapestries, wall plastering, glass windows (Hardwick Hall [1597] has "more glass than wall"), and the practice of privacy for sleeping and sex. The genealogy of the steam engine is then examined: Thomas Newcomen's engine for pumping water out of mines (1712); Abraham Darby's cheap iron from coke, James Watt's addition of a second condensing cylinder (for cooling) to the engine (1763); John Wilkinson's improving of cannon boring (for the French military) and cylinder making (for Watt; 1773–75). Wilkinson's brother-in-law, Joseph Priestley, investigated gases, leading Alessandro Volta to invent "bad air" (marsh gas) detectors and ignitors. Meanwhile, Edwin Drake discovered oil (in Pennsylvania), allowing Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach (in Bad Cannstatt) to replace town gas with gasoline as fuel for auto engines (1883). They also invented (in 1892) the carburetor (inspired by the medical atomizers, which also developed from Priestley's work) and a new ignition system inspired by Volta's "bad air" detection spark gun. Finally, piano-maker Wilhelm Kress unsuccessfully attempted (1901) to fly the first seaplane on an Austrian lake using the new gasoline engine.