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The history of scientific and technological development in Puritan World has been somewhat different to that in the real world. With some people (such as Edmund Halley) never having been born and others having had very different lives some things, such as steam power, developed at a significantly earlier date. Other things, such as calculus and the theory of gravitation, were developed or became known to the world at large significantly later and via different routes. Also, some overall trends such as the Industrial Revolution generally started rather later and/or proceeded more slowly.

At an overall level, social and political circumstances - largely consisting of an increased level of conservatism - have led to a significantly slower rate of development, particularly during the period when the New Commonwealth was pursuing its 'War Against Science'.

By 1995 science and technology have reached a level roughly equivalent to that of the real world in the 1920s to the 1940s.

Steam power has actually existed for longer than in the real world, but has a taken a somewhat different development path. This has not stopped it from becoming very widely used all over the world, on ships, railways, land vehicles and even in airships.

Many nations have extensive railway and canal systems that have developed over a longer period than those in the real world. Roads are generally much less well developed, and in many places remain cobbled rather than tarmaced, where they are paved at all. Most of Europe uses the same gauge of railway line. The New Commonwealth uses a second gauge, with a mixture of the two in Britain, although the old gauge is slowly being phased out there. Many of the more well-developed cities around the world have public transport systems of one kind or another. The most widespread of these are elevated railways, but underground and tram systems also exist in various places.

Ironclad warships were introduced around 1900, though steam turbines have only been invented very recently and have not yet made an impact on the navies of the world. Internal combustion engines exist.

Armoured land vehicles [tanks and armoured cars] have existed since the Third Indian War, in 1849, and have seen wide use across the world. Originally steam-powered, they are now powered by internal combustion, making them much faster and more efficient.

Air travel is limited to airships and biplanes, though a few nations are just introducing Spitfire-like monoplane fighters and large dedicated bomber aircraft. Most long-range aircraft are seaplanes. Airports are known as 'Aerolons' here and are often a mix of facilities for both seaplanes and land-based aircraft.

There are no helicopters or similar rotary-winged aircraft. No-one has even considered the possibility of jet engines. Helium not having been discovered yet, hydrogen-filled airships are very vulnerable to attack. Thus airships tend to be used for long-range patrols and so on, while the rather less vulnerable heavier-than-air aircraft are used for combat missions.

The first steam-powered submarines were launched in 1821, but were not very successful. Combined electrical/internal-combustion powered ones were introduced in 1948 and have been used successfully since then, although without sonar they are of limited utility.

The idea of warships carrying aircraft has been put forward, but so far no-one has built such a thing, let alone a fully-fledged aircraft carrier.

Many different types of gun exist around the world. Revolvers, automatic pistols and machine guns all exist, although their details are rather different to those of the real world, and they were all invented somewhat later than in the real world. All guns here tend to be of a somewhat larger calibre than those of the real world, ammunition design having tended towards improving bullet size rather than velocity.

Given the state of the world and society, most people do not travel far other than when in military or government service. There are commercial and national airlines, used by the rich, the largest and most luxurious of which, with the most extensive service, is Linhas Aéreas Imperiais Portuguese (Portuguese Imperial Airlines), or LAIPOR.

Radio exists, although it is primitive, with radio transmitters and receivers being large, bulky, valve-operated things, too large to use in aircraft, although perfectly practical in all but the smallest ships. Television, radar and sonar have not been invented. Most long-distance radio communication is via code systems [like Morse code], of which there are several in use by different nations. Voice-based radio does exist, but is less widely used due to the increased technical difficulty of doing so.

Factories spewing smoke are very much the norm for industry everywhere. Pea-soup fogs have also become common in industrialised cities across the world since the nineteenth century. No-one knows why they occur, though some think they are a punishment for the sins of industry. Electrical power exists, but in the civilian world is generally only available to the rich. The exception to this is in the Netherlands Republic, where most towns and cities are electrified. Elevators have not been invented here.

Medicine and hygiene are also at a 1930s level. People tend to change their collars, but not their shirts, for example. Antibiotics do not exist. Antiseptics and anaesthetics are known and used, however. Blood types are known, and so transfusions are also performed.

There is no Relativity or Quantum Theory in Puritan World, and also no real atomic of nuclear theory beyond some very basic speculation. In addition to this there is no agreement on the age of the Earth or of the Universe, and no real understanding of the overall structure of the Universe. Theories placing the age of the Earth at very much greater than that calculated by Bishop Usher in 1654 are, in particular, not widely accepted.

Likewise there is nothing resembling the theory of evolution in the science of Puritan World. Although there may be evidence that could interpreted to support it, no-one (at least publicly) doubts the truth of the biblical account of Creation.

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Creative Commons  Licence Copyright © Tony Jones, 2005.
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