« Lost knowledge: ropes and knots | Main | Piston-powered aircraft from the 1950s were as fuel-efficient as the current average jet »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Why not make it a simple wiki? Everyone already knows how to use it and it works well.

Kris De Decker


Yes, I was also thinking about that. But if I understand it well it seems that they prefer to work with (paid?) experts only.

Kris De Decker


"This bears all the hallmarks of a well-intentioned project that will grind slowly to a halt. Like flowers that wilt when cut and put in a vase, indigenous knowledge tends to degrade quickly when removed from its context."

See: http://www.doorsofperception.com/archives/2010/07/post_55.php



hand spinning is one of the oldest arts. anyone who practices daily spinning will acquire a built-in proficiency in any activity involving manual operations. as an example a good spinner will become an expert welder within no time. the coordination between mind and muscles will improve.



Flash sucks. Why not do it in simple HTML or a wiki as suggested above?

Eden Rock


The Barefoot Architect is a great start, for a hard copy of info. Seems mostly out of South America, but lots of great stuff for building, water filtration, and whatnot.



Animals (horses, bulls, donkeys etc.) and muscle powered machines like hoisting machines are missing.



Too bad, UNESCO is only building a mausoleum for all that knowledge.
I will write them about the Wikipedia...

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

News & Links

The Chinese Wheelbarrow

  • Chinese wheelbarrow
  • How to downsize a transport network: the Chinese wheelbarrow
    For being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history. This is especially true in the East, where it became a universal means of transportation for both passengers and goods, even over long distances.

Human Powered Cranes

  • Human powered crane
  • The sky is the limit: human powered cranes and lifting devices
    From the earliest civilisations right up to the start of the Industrial Revolution, humans used sheer muscle power, organisation skills and ingenious mechanics to lift weights that would be impossible to handle by most power cranes in operation today.

Wood Gas Vehicles

  • Wood gas cars 2
  • Firewood in the Fuel Tank: Wood Gas Vehicles
    Wood gas cars are a not-so-elegant but surprisingly efficient and ecological alternative to their petrol (gasoline) cousins, whilst their range is comparable to that of electric cars.

Hand Tools

  • Hand powered dril</a><br /></li>
							<li class=Hand Powered Drilling Tools and Machines
    Hand-powered devices have been used for millennia, but during the last quarter of the 19th century a radically improved generation of tools appeared, taking advantage of modern mass production machinery and processes (like interchangeable parts) and an increased availability in superior material (metal instead of wood).


Open Modular Hardware

  • Open modular hardware2
  • How to make everything ourselves: open modular hardware
    Consumer products based on an open modular system can foster rapid innovation, without the drawback of wasting energy and materials. The parts of an obsolete generation of products can be used to design the next generation, or something completely different.

Power from the Tap

  • Water motors
  • Power from the Tap: Water Motors
    Just before the arrival of electricity at the end of the nineteenth century, water motors were widely used in Europe and America. These miniature water turbines were connected to the tap and could power any machine that is now driven by electricity.

Aerial Ropeways

Other Languages

  • Some articles have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. Find them here.