Alternate History of the World

The impossible ship: SS Great Eastern a.k.a. Leviathan

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FYI: the rise of publishing by the eighteenth century led to the use of newspapers and cheap editions of popular books for cleansing. Lord Chesterfield, in a letter to his son in 1747, told of a man who purchased a common edition of Horace, of which he tore off gradually a couple of pages, carried them with him to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them down as a sacrifice to Cloacina. (Quoted in Maxted, Ian. "Sic transit gloria cloacarum".)...

James Cox's peacock clock presented to Catherine II in 1781

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The Peacock Clock is a large automaton featuring three life-sized mechanical birds. It was manufactured by the entrepreneur James Cox in the 2nd half of the 18th century and through the influence of Grigory Potemkin it was acquired by Catherine the Great in 1781. Today it is a prominent exhibit in the collections of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

The clock was brought to Russia in pieces. At Potiomkin's request the Russian mechanic...

Seattle's Elmer H. Fisher: The Man, The Myth, The Legend...

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Let us begin by trying to understand a thing or two about the architect, Elmer H. Fisher. There has to be tons of information on the local hero-architect. He is considered the most prolific of the architects involved in rebuilding the city for designing almost half of the major downtown buildings between 1889 and 1891. It should be easy to find some information, right? So who was he? Where did he study? Where did he come from?

To be clear, I do not question his existence as a human. There are plenty of records to indicate that...

Was Stonehenge rebuilt, or constructed in 1954?

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We all know that famous Stonehenge was built a very long time ago. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. And this is what it looks like today. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first blue stones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC. One of the most famous landmarks in the UK, Stonehenge is regarded as a British...

Kulibin's egg-shaped clock presented to Catherine II in 1769

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Traditional knowledge states: Ivan Petrovich Kulibin (April 21, 1735 – August 11, 1818) was a Russian mechanic and inventor. He was born in Nizhny Novgorod in the family of a trader. From childhood, Kulibin displayed an interest in constructing mechanical tools. Soon, clock mechanisms became a special interest of his. His realizations as well as his prolific imagination inspired the work of many. Additional information available: Wikipedia.

In 1769 Kulibin gave this clock to...

What was Giovanni Battista Piranesi trying to say. 17-18th century apocalypse?

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi (4 October 1720 – 9 November 1778) was an Italian artist famous for his etchings of Rome and of fictitious and atmospheric "prisons" (Le Carceri d'Invenzione). He was a so called Cappricio artist. In other words, contemporary interpretation of his creations is that it was a fantasy of the author. There is no historical evidence that Capriccio artists were making stuff up. To me, such an interpretation appears to be a very convenient way to explain the inconvenient truth.

There were multiple artists creating similar work. Engravings and paintings reflecting our...

Urban fire damage or was it a powerful nuclear-like explosion?

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I understand how crazy it sounds. How could american cities be destroyed by an unknown weapon in 19th and early 20th centuries? Supposedly the technology was not there. An event of this magnitude would have been reflected in history and memory of generations. After all, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are well documented. Officially there were only two Japanese cities destroyed by nuclear weapons. But how do you know? Because that is the official version, that's how.

Yet, the below seal imprint on...

Dinosaurs on the 1562 painting of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

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Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period, between 243 and 231 million years ago, although the exact origin and timing of the evolution of dinosaurs is the subject of active research. They became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates after the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event 201 million years ago; their dominance continued through the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The fossil record indicates that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier theropods during the late Jurassic Period. As such...

Did Unicorns live a few hundred years ago?

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John Jonston (in Polish, Jan Jonston; in Latin, Joannes Jonstonus (1603–1675) says they did. Who was Mr. Jonstonus? Sounds like he was a pretty serious scholar.

In 1632 Jonston traveled abroad with Bogusław and several other Commonwealth magnates' sons. Their first stop was Franeker (1632), followed by Leiden and Amsterdam (all, that same year), where Jonston published his Thautomatographia naturalis. In 1634 they visited England, returning to Leiden, where Jonston received an M.D. degree; soon afterward he would receive a second M.D. degree (ad eundem) from Cambridge. That year he also...

An area as big as the United States, that's never been seen by a human being...

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Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr., USN (October 25, 1888 – March 11, 1957) was an American naval officer who specialized in feats of exploration. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor given by the United States, and was a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics. Additional information on Richard Byrd can be obtained on Wikipedia or Britannica.

“Strangely enough, there is an area left in...

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