Saturday, November 05, 2011

Lao Steampunk Sundays: Russian Wood Watch

In the 1800s in Russia, there were master wood-workers who were capable of creating working wood watches that today are worth over $20,000. Few exist today that survived the various wars and revolutions.

An interesting complaint was the lack of access to good wood that would let them craft such object. Most wood available was intended for architectural construction. These are said to have kept time rather well.

From a Lao perspective it leads to an interesting question of what might have happened if this technology had made it down to Southeast Asia, given the quality of hardwoods such as teak, and of course bamboo, mulberry trees or tea trees, among others.

What if the Russians had more actively spent time in Southeast Asia in the 1800s or earlier seeking warm water ports and built a stronger base of operations there, had they not been mired down in the Crimean War with the Ottomans, the British and the French?

The knowledge to construct such objects or even having seen or heard one described could have spurred significant innovation that might affect other technologies.

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