It seems like civilizations lose much over time. Thank goodness our civilization has been able to retain and restore so many treasures from the past. And thanks to those who carry on discovering new techniques, we can possibly now use the marvel of 3-D printers to spit out some of Mr. Henry T. Brown's interesting movements.
Thanks to those who keep this information available because there are far too many who are ignorant of the value of keeping such precious past secrets. And thanks for the interesting read Max.
I understand this is off-topic, but after noticing "Thomas Edison types" couldn't help myself. After Oatmeals' comic about Tesla just can't take Edison like it's something good. Sorry if the link is inapropriate here. http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla
Back to the topic. Yes, we're moving to the future where the world is fully dependent on computers and electricity. Also the technology is so complex we no longer able to fix stuff without computers and internet. There were similar topic on APP about modern cars. So digitizing stuff is good, but again it's completely internet-dependent.
There was a show on SBS recently where some English presenter made stuff from scratch:
e.g. electric light bulb , a flymo , a toaster , a pair of joggers. etc.
He was pretty inept, a PHD and not an engineer I guess , and he cheated a bit (he only made 3 critical parts of each)
But to his credit he made the mower blade from iron ore, he smelted it to spongy iron, then hammered it into shape.
For the toaster element he took some water from an abandoned nickle mine, plated it out in a bathtub, then smelted and rolled it into thick wire, (but then he cheated and swapped in resistance wire).
He dug up the mica from rocks on the side of a hill.
I think you would be capable of making iron spearheads , the Eqyptian method using a cupola is easy enough, it's just a clay vertical tube, filed with iron ore and charcoal, you light it up from the bottom, come back a day later and pick out the spongy iron. Reheat the spongy iron in a hearth (with some bellows for more air) , and beat it with a hammer to the required shape.
For those interested in the topic of "losing the masters" this is a enjoyable/interesting/entertaining read. If you happen to enjoy motorcycles it's even better. My own poor summary of the basic thought of the book: "At one time the craftsman could choose the tree to cut down based on his knowledge of wood grain and the affect on the finished wheel he was going to produce". Also the author gives his take on the loss of these "tradesmen".