Thursday, November 19, 2009

Archimedes, Steam, and Historical Fiction

Thanks to Gary Corby and Stephanie Thornton for hijacking yesterday's post with talk of fighting the Roman Civil War using steam technology.

I'd like to report that, according to some basic research, the possibilities did exist for Archimedes to have used steam power.

As I said yesterday, Hero of Alexandria was the first one to develop the steam engine. That's an important distinction because Archimedes (a man many said thought millenia ahead of his time) is supposed to have developed a steam-powered cannon.

The Mythbusters tested his design, taken from a more-than-a-little vague drawing done by my favorite Rennaissance inventor -- Signore da Vinci -- and though they were unable to prove Archimedes' steam cannon worked, the fact that he's said to have even done it is enough for an industrious writer to play with.


Stephanie Thornton said...

Awww... I'll happily hijack the comments section of your blog anytime if it means I get to play in Egypt. Or with the Romans. I like Rome.

And really, how often you can talk about Romans, civil wars, Alexandria, Leonardo da Vinci, and steam technology in the same blog post? That's why I love your blog!

Susan R. Mills said...

Ah, man, I missed a hijacking? Maybe I should start paying closer attention to the comments.

Gary Corby said...

My pleasure. Let me know if you want anything else hijacked.

Matthew Delman said...

Stephanie --

You should've been there for some of the lunchtime conversations I had with friends in college. Talk about random.

Susan --

It happens. I'm more shocked that you keep track of comments on A Walk In My Shoes. That's impressive.

Gary --

I will let you know if I need it done again in the future. Also, my other half has agreed that she'll come with me next year to one of your book tour stops in the Northeast (preferably Boston, but New York if we have to).

Gary Corby said...

Yay! I've never been to Boston; I'd love to go there. New York I can absolutely guarantee.

Now that's something to look forward to.

L. T. Host said...

My brain is still fried, and I feel small and unable to add anything right now, haha, so I'm going to go with:

Gosh, I love history.