Dead Horses

Sometimes Whipping Dead Horses Works …

Silly Horse picture

I’m not dead yet!

(Version fifteen of the quick list of very, very dead horses)


This document has evolved from the barflies use of the phrase “beating a dead horse” to refer to topics discussed repeatedly. We’ve been talking about the 1632 universe since 1999. Despite posts by almost nine hundred people of over 3 gigabytes, more than one hundred seventy thousand messages to the bar on practically every possible subject, occasionally, a well covered subject is “brought back to life” by a new and odd viewpoint. Recent examples include:

  • Gold lined reaction vessels as a stainless steel substitutes
  • The Head synthesis of Potassium Chlorate for primers

Therefore, if you are a relatively new barfly, please do not take this list as a prohibition to discuss these things, but rather, as a challenge. Sometimes, when you whip a dead horse, it gets up and stumbles around. Welcome to the bar. —

Rick Boatright


This FAQ is no longer posted to Baen’s Bar. It just got too long. It is updated, on the web site when I think of it. The editorial board has agreed to keep a copy on the web site, and we have submitted that site to the Wayback Machine, so there will ALWAYS be a copy of this available on the web. (Sadly, the wayback machine has a very long lag before sites appear. The earliest versions of have just recently begun to appear there. Still, we know it’s working now.)

The Short Dead Horse List

First the REALLY short version. All these subjects have been done to death, on about a 3 month cycle since 1999. We’ve been there, Really. (This list is in no particular order. It’s the fastest way to get a feel for just how deeply we’ve discussed this.) If you want, you can skip to the wordier version


  • Stainless Steel
  • Batteries
  • Refrigeration
    • Ammonia based Absorption refrigeration.
      • Coming soon.
    • Propane based compression refrigeration.
      • Coming when refrigeration based propane production starts down-time
    • Peltier junction based solid state refrigeration.
      • Unlikely any time soon
  • Drugs
    • Antibiotics
    • Anesthetics
      • Cocaine
      • Nitrous Oxide
      • Ether
      • Chloral Hydrate
    • Analgesics
      • Opiates
      • laudanum
      • Aspirin
      • Marijuana
  • Clocks
  • Vehicles
    • Boats/ ships
    • railroads
    • Flying Stuff
      • rockets
      • R/C
      • dirigibles
      • blimps
      • balloons
      • Hang Gliders
      • Helicopters (not happening)
      • Auto gyros (Also not happening)
      • airplanes
        • Airplane engines
        • Motorcycle engines
        • Jet engines
        • Pulse jets
  • engines
    • fuels
    • Steam engines
    • Stirling engines
    • Tesla turbines
  • explosives
    • primers
    • guns
      • Big guns
      • Little Guns
      • Odd Guns
      • Air Guns
      • Steam Guns
      • Mortars
      • That other gun you thought of.
      • Yes, that one too
    • things that go boom
    • Other things that go boom
    • Those things that you thought we didn’t discuss that went boom? Them too.
  • Communications
    • Censorship
      • Locking up the books (No.)
      • Silencing up-timers (No.)
      • Keeping foreigners out of the library (No.)
    • Radio
      • The great stone radio tower
      • Spark Gaps
      • The Maunder Minimum
      • cell phones
      • CB’s
      • Radar (Microwave ovens are not Radar.)
    • Morse Code (including radio, wire, and flashing lights)
    • Telephones
    • Telegraphs
    • Semaphores (including maritime flags systems, flag waving, semaphore towers, grid systems &c.)

  • Navigation
  • computers (They were NOT confiscated.)
  • weaving
    • spinning
  • canning
    • pickling
    • drying
    • preserves
    • seals (wax, lead, rubber etc)
  • laundry
  • cryptography
    • codes
    • ciphers
  • Slide Rules
  • Curta’s
  • Libraries
    • Dewey Decimal vs. LOC
    • Circulating vs non circulating
    • Protecting books (See Censorship)






  • Assassinations (Don’t work)
  • the Ottoman Empire
  • trade with Asia
  • Treasure hunting (we don’t really know where, and see “No Americans to spare.”)
  • weather
  • American Indians
  • environmental salvage
  • the middle ages.


The Medium Dead Horse List

Now for the somewhat fleshed out version. For a long flesh out, please ask about any of the below and we’ll try to get you a copy of some of the background discussion. This list developed from the inputs of many of the barflies, but it is completely my take on these things. I’ll take the heat, and the responsibility. Any errors are entirely mine. Anyone wanting to contribute an item to match an entry above, or a new one, email me directly, or post to the bar and either flag it as an DEAD HORSE item, or just write something really good and I’ll steal it. — Rick Boatright

  • Censorship – Which part of “No.” didn’t you understand? The “Stearns” doctrine on censorship is very clear. We’re not doing that. Yes, Grantville is full of spies. Yes, the spies are buying books and sending them off to France and Russia and Spain. Yes, spies are crawling though the library, receiving certification as library researchers, taking notes, interviewing up-timers, taking classes on radio, taking classes on telegraphy, buying guns, shipping guns off with their owners manuals, researching high explosives and steam engines and electricity. Yep Yep. Nod Nod. This is a GOOD THING. This way, no matter what happens to Grantville, no matter the outcome of the 30 years war, the ideas of the American Republic, the concepts of the scientific method, the numerical basis for engineering, and the thought that somewhere, sometime, was a golden age where “all men where created equal.” will be spread far and wide throughout the world. Somewhere, somehow, that will catch a spark. In the mean time, yes, there is a chance that some enemy will take a march on us, and get ahead in one area or another. Someone will pass a bit of “our” knowledge to “their” really really smart guys, and they’ll do something first. This will happen anyway. In any event, even if you disagree, that’s the Mike Stearns, and the Rebecca that Eric decided to write, ’cause that’s the one he could live with being in his head. Yes, yes, there are books that are locked up. There are a few “secret” engineering texts and gun manuals which for the time being are temporarily on restricted access at the national library. That’s all. Anything you know, you can tell, or sell. Your books, your knowledge, your guns are all yours to do with as you please. It’s a free country.
  • Stainless Steel We know about alternatives to stainless steel. Please consider the term “Stainless Steel” in the books to refer to the entire class of high-temperature high-pressure reaction vessels including, but not limited to:
    • Passivated iron
    • Precious metals lining tanks
    • Cloisonné & enamels
    • Glass cladding
    • Glass vessels
    • Ceramics
    • Silicon carbide, etc.

    We have been talking about this for going on four years now. Additionally, yes, we thought of re-casting the SS we have. It turns out that is trickier than you might think. It requires argon atmospheres and vacuum electric induction furnaces and fussy crucibles and other tricky things, or what you get out is no longer Stainless Steel. Welding SS is also tricky, so using thin SS to clad other things is tricky as well, ignoring the differential expansion issues and voids and – well, never mind we’re ignoring all that. Additionally, SS comes in a lot of varieties, and your kitchenware probably isn’t right for a high temp reaction vessel. Also, yes, we know that some stuff (Chloride ion mostly) eats the crud out of SS and that those things need a different alloy. BTDT. Chlorine, for example, is traditionally piped in sterling silver. This horse isn’t just dead. It’s defleshed. Bones. There is a forthcoming article commissioned for the Grantville Gazette.

  • Antibiotics We know about penicillin and bread mold. (It’s way harder than you think.) This is also a very dead horse. Really. And other antibiotics. BTDT. Trust me on this. Check out the article in the Grantville Gazette Volume 1.
  • Clocks and Navigation We’ve thought about clocks and navigation. Ask if you want the quick conclusions, but the super short version is “Yes, we can make a lot of $ using up-time clocks, and no, no one is going to recreate Harrison’s clock, it’s way simpler to copy something newer. And people will.”
  • Chemical and Bio Weapons Chemical and biological weapons are forbidden by the Stearns convention. Yes, that means that one too. And that other. Yes, that too. Which part of forbidden did you not understand? Oh. Well, get over it.
  • Martial Arts The general response by high ranking up-time martial artists to the idea that the martial arts amateurs in Grantville might have much, if anything, to teach to the down-time european martial arts masters is laughter. When they regain their calm, they point out that in the 17th century, Europe was full of martial arts schools, and that they were in the middle of a thirty year long war where people where killing each other with swords and knives and sticks and things. The fact that after the appearance of modern weapons european traditional martial arts either fell into disuse or became formalized in fencing styles does not speak to the ability of the down-timers.Some people have suggested that up-timers might, if there is anyone who knows them, be able to contribute some of the more exotic pressure point attacks. Others have suggested that this is unlikely. In any event, there appears to be a consensus that there won’t be any massive transfer of martial arts knowledge to down-timers.See the article on down-time Martial Arts in the Grantville Gazette for details.
  • Things that go BOOM! Yes, someone is working on explosives and primers.
    • They’re off-camera in all the books up through Ring of Fire, although they appear in several slush stories to date. However in other books in production they (Snerk Collar)
    • It is true that by the end of 1633 the up-timers had simply missed the “Head synthesis” for Potassium Chlorate which makes making primers dirt simple. No one in the bar caught it either until Robert Head posted a literally back yard synthesis that can be duplicated. If we were able to miss it, so were the Grantvillers. However this will (Snerk Collar)
    • Mercury Fulminate is not as easy to make as you think. There’s issues about purity and such that make it tricky as all heck. Really. Which doesn’t mean people aren’t making it. It just means they’re dying.
    • This goes double for making nitroglycerin or nitrated cellulose. They are being made. Impurities are resulting in people dying while doing that. Never the less, by the end of 1633 you can certainly buy down-time made dynamite of various quality. Which results in (Snerk Collar).
    • Oddly, the first mass produced down-time explosive is going to be RDX (the stuff in C4 and other plastic explosives) because it can be made in a simple aqueous process. But it needs some of the output of the coal tar plants and can’t get going till the coal tar chemistry plants are going great guns.
  • Guns Gun enthusiasts will be building every variety of gun ever made and inventing new and weirder ones. Fear not. Private enterprise will prevail.
    • and cannon
    • and they’ve talked about recoilless guns – short conclusion – black powder isn’t really a great propellent for them, and without HE rounds to go in the pipe they’re not horribly interesting.
    • Mortars We’ve really done mortars to death. Really. It’s not that they’re not cool and all, the problem you have is that prior to 1635 or so, you have very very limited amounts of high explosive available. Without HE, a black powder mortar round gets to be a little “big”, and that means a big lofting charge, and that means a big heavy tube and that means….. Anyway, feel free to ask again, and someone will show you the prior art and the calculations and everything.
    • and calliope guns – also known as organ guns. See the Grantville Gazette article from the Firearms panel on “Building a Machine Gun in 1632.” for two views of organ gun technology.
    • and every other sort of thing that goes boom. Really.
    • oh, and needle guns don’t shoot needles. (Learn something new every day.)
    • and air guns. BTDT. (and Napoleon did NOT outlaw them, urban myth.)
    • yes, they’re policing their brass and reloading, it just isn’t interesting enough for a book.
    • the technology for really weird stuff like rail guns is not available.
    • The authors are of the opinion that down-timer armies are not wimpy enough to be troubled by “sonic weapons” like sirens and etc.
  • Balloons & Dirigibles & Blimps Yes, we’ve done balloons to death. Yes, we know about civil war balloons, we know about hot air and hydrogen balloons, we know how they made H2 in the Civil war etc etc etc. The conclusions are that in general, for most purposes, the fixed wing aircraft we’re building serve our needs better. This may not be true for our enemies, who may be far more interested in Balloons than we are.
    • This is even more true of dirigibles.
    • And blimps
    • and hang gliders, and ultra lights and everything else that flies. Really.
    • including powered parachutes.
    • Helicopters. Blades and rotors are a problem, transmissions are a problem and engines are a problem. No one expects helicopters any time soon.
    • Auto gyros might be possible, but have most of the problems of helicopters (that is, it’s hard to make the blades and rotors) and few benefits over the fixed wing aircraft already being built. There are reasons auto gyros are not commercially common in the OTL.
    • and radio control models of various sorts
    • and rockets
    • speaking of Rockets, we know how improbable the rocket scenes in the book are, but they are not IMPOSSIBLE and they are great fiction, deal with it.
  • Alternative Power Sources We have discussed alternate power systems including but not limited to Tesla turbines, windmills, and Stirling engines. In general the conclusion has been that they either require exotic materials we don’t have, are niche products, or that there is some reason they aren’t common OTL. But feel free to defend them or re-introduce. You may know something we don’t. (Note: This will qualify you for membership in the SPATTPISSD. [the Society for the Promotion of Armored Tesla Turbine Powered Invisible Super Sonic Dirigibles.] )
  • Alternative Fuels There have been long discussions of alternative fuels for internal combustion engines. The airplanes, for example are running 85% methanol, made in a catalytic conversion plant. The books discuss running cars and buses on natural gas, and we’ve discussed that. An extensive article on Bio-Diesel will be published in the fourth edition of the Grantville Gazette.
  • Problems with the Riverboats Yes, we know what’s wrong with the river boat design, please wait for 1634: The Baltic War. (Coming eventually to a bookseller near you.) Eric and David have plans for those boats. Please stop trying to second guess them. They’re David Weber’s babies anyway and he doesn’t read this forum. Plus, people have already modeled them with new, modern ship modeling software. Eric knows. Thanks.
  • Railroads We know all about standard gauge rail and the comparisons between them and trucks and paved roads. Railroad is a very dynamic subject in the 1632 universe. The advantages and (mostly) deficits of the “strap rail” discussed in the books to date, the need for a massive increase in steel production to support the railroads and so forth are all subjects of on-going discussion in the bar.
  • TACRAIL . Narrow gauge rail has been made canon although not in any detail. Older miners will have extensive experience with laying and maintaining narrow gauge track in coal mines. The following is the TACRAIL folks consensus of what they THINK would happen:
    • 45 narrow gage rail cars were found in the ROF mostly in abandoned mines. There was a mix of 2 ft and 2.5 ft gauge as well as cars that could operate on either…a not yet determined number of the 2 1/2 ft cars will be cannibalized to overhaul the 2 ft cars and for locomotive parts.
    • 60 miles of 20lb track were found on lumber trails and in doghole mines–of this about 45 miles is serviceable. The unserviceable track and 25 miles of serviceable track was turned over to USE Steel for recycling into bar rail.
    • There will be horse drawn rail cars used as well as garden tractor/lawnmower locomotives and at least one locomotive converted from a Subaru Justy. For planning purposes at this point a 28 hp locomotive should be able to haul 20+ tons at 10mph. Fuel could be either moonshine or producer gas.
    • This is a piece of an intermodal transport system including canal barges. The primary missions are to fill holes in critical points in the transportation network and support the field army as much as possible by shortening the supply string.
  • Radio and spark gaps Trust me, we’ve done spark gaps to death. Please read the Radio FAQ before enthusing about them. Thanks. And yes, they WILL happen, mostly by the “other guys.”
  • People in Grantville – commonly known as the “Visitors” problem: No you can’t have your Korean integrated circuit designer and ninth dan kung fu master with a trunk full of guns and CD’s of information and 20 laptops just be stopping in town and buying gas. It’s just “no”. Please check out “The Grid” that lists each and every up-timer in existence. There will be no cheating. See Eric’s essay “the twenty nine halves of Grantville” in the Author’s Manual.
  • More on “Visitors” While we’re at it, no there were no airplanes flying over the ROF, no trains passing through it, no tour buses. It’s just “no.” Eric wanted to write a book about normal folks in an abnormal situation. So, we needed normal folks.
  • Businesses in Grantville There was no motel, no hotel, no bed and breakfast, no sit-down restaurant, no tourist shop selling WV souvenirs in Grantville as of the ROF. There was a McDonald’s, and some pizza parlors with very limited seating. There was not a cafe.
    • NOTE: In a correction to prior editions of this FAQ, there WAS a “Mom’s greasy spoon” operating in what was the lobby of the movie theater downtown. It probably technically could be called a cafe, but it’s a stretch.
    • Note further This lack of eating places is not true TODAY. Please don’t look at the 2006 Mannington phone book, or visit Mannington and tell us about the pizza parlor downtown, or the sandwich shoppe, or the Italian Restaurant across from the McDonalds. They weren’t there Sunday, April 2, 2000. To check for possible businesses in Grantville please see Mannington Main Street. Please recognize that as we get further and further from April of 2000, the town of Mannington resembles Grantville less and less.
  • Dump/Landfill There is no dump — really. No dump. Really. That means no landfill. There is a (small) junkyard and of course, this IS West Virginia, so there are lots of cars, up on concrete blocks in front yards. Oddly, they do not refer to them as “art”.
  • Book Covers
    • Yes, the armor on the cover of 1632 is anachronistic. Authors have little if any input on covers.
    • The boat on the cover of 1633 in no way resembles the ironclads in the book. The armor is also anachronistic. Since Eric was shown an early revision of the cover before the book was finished, he was able to write the cover into the book as a recruiting poster. Authors have little if any input on covers.
    • The cover of the hardback of Ring of Fire has a romanticized picture of Wallenstein in armor in front of an APC.
      • The APC is not the style of truck that they used, it is artistic license. It is far bigger than the coal trucks in the ROF, that style is used in the huge strip mines in the far west. Grantville has a DEEP coal mine not a strip mine.
      • The flag on Wallenstein’s sleeve is NOT a USE flag. Eric has been unable to invent (as of 1/Oct/2005) a justification for an East Virginia flag on Wallenstein’s sleeve. Authors have little if any input on covers.
    • The cover of the original Grantville Gazette vol 1 electronic edition is a slight edit of a famous painting by Rubens called Venus in a Fur Coat. It’s a painting of his wife also titled “Portrait of Hélène Fourment”. It is not a picture of a naked woman. Eric points out very carefully that it is a picture of a HALF naked woman, and anyway, she was the artist’s wife, and if she was and if she was your wife, you would paint her, and anyway, this is ART.
      • It is an interesting aside that Bill Gates owns this painting.
    • The cover of the Dead Tree version of the Grantville Gazette Vol 1, GG1 print cover with blondGG1 original cover versionis a current artists interpretation of an up-timer American posing for Rubens for a parody of his own Venus in Furs. Why you ask? Well, Bill Gates (remember him?) wanted an arm, a leg, and your first-born child for the rights to get a decent photo of Venus in Furs, even tho it isn’t copyright, since it was painted in the 1640’s. Jim Baen, figuring that arguing with the richest man in the world was a losing proposition, commissioned a copy. Eric then wrote a story to explain the cover. The first version of the cover from the long-standing series cover artist Tom Kidd had the character as a red head as she was described in the books, but the cover was re-done at Jim’s request. Sadly, only a low-resolution copy of the original exists.
    • To date, no one has posted a question or complaint about the cover to 1634, but I expect one any day.
    • Authors have little if any input on covers.
  • Books and Readers The town of Mannington, and thus Grantville is not over-supplied with readers and books. No, we don’t understand why, but it appears to be true. Grantville is a statistical anomaly with far fewer books in town than you would have expected. The book YOU want probably isn’t there. The town librarians we have interviewed in Mannington confirm this. Even if they were NOT a statistical anomaly, southern/rural readership rates would suggest that there are fewer than 40 people in the ROF that read as many as two books a month. Cheryl Detwyler, our on-site resident reported that at the time of the ROF the following books were for sale in Mannington:
    • Dollar General number of books 7
    • Discount Grocery number of books 10
    • another discount place number of books 3 hardback
  • Library Sciences: Down-time libraries had no card catalogs. There were few, if any indexes. Books typically were shelved either by size or by appearance, or by order of purchase. It was the business of librarians to know where their books were. The Grantville public library fortunately has a copy of the Dewey Decimal System cataloging guide. (The big one) This is a good thing.Try to find a librarian and thank them today.
  • Bowers Pottery, Mansion and Library The authors are aware of the “Bowers Mansion Library” which was in the Bowers Mansion in Mannington. During the 2005 Minicon we were granted the first tour of the mansion since George Bowers death.. George W. Bowers, a Mannington businessman. His businesses included the Bowers Pottery Company, also known as the Mannington Glass company in Mannington and the Warwick China Company (in Wheeling). At one time, the Bowers Pottery was the largest sanitary pottery factory in the world.  George died in 1943 and left his estate to his three daughters, who never married and continued to live in the 29 room family home in Mannington. Frances Bowers, his last remaining daughter, died in March 2000. The Bowers Sanitary Pottery was a company which made low quality commercial sinks and urinals and toilets. (Really, pretty poor ones. Examples exist in the Mannington city museum and the mansion. You wouldn’t want to own one. This isn’t Kohler we’re talking about here, or even American Standard. Orange peel in the glaze, Bumps, holes in the glaze, just not good ok? Warwick China on the other hand made quite elegant stuff, but they were in Wheeling, not Mannington.) Bowers Pottery Company closed when G.W. died.
    • The Bowers mansion is canon. It’s the temporary home of the American government. It’s on “High Street” and is referred to in the maps in the RPG as the “High Street House.”
    • The contents on the other hand are not yet canon and may not be. You see, George W. was a pack rat. He kept buying stuff, he didn’t catalog it, or organize it, he just kept buying it. He had coins, he had a collection of antique currency, there was china, there was furniture, and there was a huge library. It along with the rest of the “stuff” was sold at an auction AFTER the ROF. Rooms stacked with books. The auction catalog included 20,000 volumes including an autographed first edition of the Book of Mormon, and pages from a Gutenberg bible. Bowers was an amateur astronomer, and had a nice brass telescope that was in the auction too. (Photos of the auction and a description are available here.) The problem is, when the first two books were written the authors didn’t know about it. No one in Mannington thought the Bowers mansion was even interesting. In 2003 we were told by the mayor that there was nothing interesting about it, and the town was considering tearing it down.
    • The town is no longer arguing about whether or not to tear it down. The mansion was left to Francis Bower’s god-daughter. The god-daughter’s hairdresser and his partner –an art and antiques dealer– bought the mansion as a fixer-upper to display their own large collections in. It needed a lot of fixing up. Anyway, the Bowers library is not canon. As we get further and further from 1632, it gets harder and harder to insert something like this backwards into the timeline.
  • Navigable Streams Buffalo creek (which runs through Mannington) isn’t navigable. If you choose to make it navigable with dams and locks and such, be aware that the city water mains and the city sewer lines run in a zigzag across the BOTTOM of Buffalo creek and will have to be protected.
  • The Map Problem Yes, we know that the geography of the real town can not be reconciled with the descriptions in the book. An authoritative map is under development which modifies the real map to “fix” most of that. When it’s available it will announced on the bar and linked to on this web site. 
  • Oil Wells in Mannington (More on the Map problem) The oil wells that are in Mannington WV are not in Grantville, if you travel to Mannington, you will see these oil wells. They’re not there. There are some Natural Gas wells. The drilling rigs are long gone. The oil wells offset a few other things Eric imported. Editorial fiat. Not there.
  • The Bathing Scene Yes, we know about the problem with the bathing scene. (Bathing in early-modern Germany was common.)
  • Submarines BTDT. We know about the Hunley. We know about Drebbel in England that made the semi-submersible in 1620. We’ve worked through all that.
  • Torpedoes Along with subs, we’ve discussed torpedoes at some length.
  • Cloth and Weaving Grantville will not bring cheap cloth to Europe. Pogo (see Baen’s Bar) has a article in the Grantville Gazette detailing how spinning and weaving worked down-time, and what the up-timers might be able to offer. Look for it in the Gazette Volume 4.
    • The looms that the down-timers have are excellent, weaving is not the bottle neck. Spinning is. You must have thread to weave.
    • Automated spinning took nearly 20 years to get right in the OTL and none of the engineering knowledge came through to re-create it There are a handful of poor drawings and fuzzy photos Estimates to re-create automated spinning range from 5 years for the wildly enthusiastic to 15 years for the morose to 25 years for the REALLY REALLY morose. It will take a skilled engineer and a machine shop, which you will recall are in short supply.
    • There are a minority of people who think that spinning can’t be all that hard and that a clever person will re-invent machine spinning in a short time with a pocket knife.
  • Canning We’ve talked about canning.
    • Canning is not pickling
    • Canning is not preserves and jellies and other stuff preserved with sugar
    • Canning needs heat, pressure and air tight seals, and yes, we’ve gone through all the available seal materials. (leather, lead, wax, tires, goldenrod, milkweed, and lots of others. ) Note that the simple poured wax seal your mother put on the jelly isn’t good enough for peas. Jelly has enough sugar to avoid spoiling without an air tight seal.
    • and no, we didn’t forget about drying and jerking and salting and other things like that.
  • Aspirin We’ve talked about and know how to make Aspirin. A down-timer is doing that. (Extract oil-of-wintergreen from birch bark and react with distilled acetic acid.) A detailed alchemical description of Aspirin will be in the Grantville Gazette Vol 7, Also see Kerryn Offord and Rick Boatright’s tales of Herr Doktor Gribbleflotz in Gazette Vol 6.
  • Telegraphs See article in Vol 2 of the Grantville Gazette. Telephones are a subject of long discussion, with two fiction pieces ( Lineman for the Country, and The Wallenstein Gambit) featuring the founders of AT&L, the down-time telephone and telegraph company.
  • Cell phones will not work down-time. (The control computers were outside the ROF.)
  • Metrification Eric Flint has dictated that the United States of Europe and East Virginia will not move to all metric by fiat. Authorial fiat states that a confusing mish-mash of measuring methods will continue to be used, and people will muddle along like they always have.
  • Mining and Minerals No, we don’t know exactly where all the great mineral deposits of the world are. The maps we have are no where NEAR good enough to actually begin mining, we’ll have to develop geological surveying – see a story and article in a forthcoming Grantville Gazette.
  • Treasure Hunting It is even more true for most treasures like the Atocha, and other great treasure finds than for minerals that we do not really know where they are. Current guides and maps refer to roads and landmarks which do not exist down-time, and open ocean navigation will be problematic even for up-time clocks for the forseeable future.
  • Concrete Up-timers know how to make cement. And concrete. All three kinds. Someone will be making another business.
  • Booze Down-timers knew about distillation. And Brandy. And Grappa. But no one made Bourbon yet. But it probably won’t be called that down-time . . . (The French being as unloved as they are and all.)
  • Returning to America The up-timers are not going to America to save America for the Americans. There aren’t enough up-timers to spare. That doesn’t mean that a single, or small group of up-timers might not attempt to go to America, but it is not the government policy to attempt a return.
  • Saving the Indians We can’t “save the Indians” The Spanish have been in North America for a century and a half. There is a pipe organ in the cathedral in Mexico City. The Spanish have been operating deep water ports on the WEST coast of Mexico for 75 years. The Inca are gone. The American Indians have horses. This is 1632 not 1492.
  • Saving the Indians from themselves The Indians you want to save are way too busy fighting each other to be interested in you anyway.
    • and there aren’t any up-timers to spare.
    • and we’re busy enough in Europe.
    • and anyway, by 1632, there have been some hundreds of American natives who visited Europe and went home. Or stayed. Anyway, it’s just not that simple.
  • Slide Rules Yes, the basic slide rule was invented prior to 1632. Yes, fancy up time slide rules can be copied. Yes, they will be copied in a lot of ways, yes we know about that.
    • and specialized slide rules
    • and yes, there are lots of log tables in the Ring. Many of them. Including a lot of copies of the CRC.
  • Faceted Gems in The Wallenstein Gambit Faceted gems existed before 1632. The modern brilliant cut did not.
  • Aluminum We know how to make aluminum. We won’t be doing it anytime soon. Really. It’s hard. I know you think you know a way around this, but you probably don’t. But ask. What can it hurt?
  • Bicycles . BTDT. Frames are hard enough but possible. Tires just aren’t a happening thing. No rubber. Alternatives to rubber have been discussed. Bikes are being made in the ROF, but they suck compared to up-time bikes.
  • Spiders in Europe Regarding the outhouse scene in 1632: There are some venomous spiders in central Europe. They are not as venomous as the black widow or brown recluse in North America, but mass bites by Hobo spiders (Tegenaria agrestis) would be a horrible mess. Anyway, spiders are icky.
  • WTUS – FM The tower and control room for WTUS – FM Radio are not in Mannington no matter what the various web sites that list radio stations say. There were NO broadcast transmitters or transmitter towers in Grantville at the ROF. The Voice of America is being built from salvaged components of Gayle Mason’s ham radio station.
  • Invasive Plants in the ROF
    • The ROF is full of wild grape. The event introduced Phylloxera to Europe two centuries early, but the American wild grape root stock also provides the answer.
    • There are reported to be small amounts of Kudzu in the ROF but it is winter killed back to the ground annually. Thuringia in the little ice age will be less hospitable to it.
  • Computers The Computers and other fancy electronics were NOT confiscated and conserved. Aside from the fact that you’ve got at least two or three people who would spark non-trivial firefights when you came to collect said computers, that one of the people who would do so is also one of the best-qualified people to run the program to preserve computers, and that the idea tramples on property rights to an unprecedented degree for essentially no useful gain, can you stop and think of a few OTHER reasons why this is not the brightest idea in the universe?
  • Paper Europe in 1632 used many tons of paper a year. They had lawyers. They had bureaucrats. They had accountants. They invented the term “red tape.” They made very fine, excellent rag based paper. They did not make wood pulp paper, but that is of little matter. The up-timers have very little to teach the down-timers about making paper except a few things about using vacuum pumps to build continuous roll paper formers. But we can buy tons of paper. AND if you want toilet paper, the paper makers will be happy to sell you their sheet ends and trimmings.
  • Female Troubles Women in the 1632’s used washable cloth bundles to absorb their monthly cycles. The conclusion is that if up-time tampon users really insist, it ought to be possible to sterilize, wash, and re-use natural sponges internally. It is strongly recommended that this be done for no more than 4 hours at a time.
  • Musical instruments will be copied. Down-time built valved brasswinds will take extra-special care until nickel plating for valves can be done. Down-time luthiers will be able to copy up-time stringed instruments with little effort.
  • We’ve discussed extensively well-tempered vs equal tempered scales and other musical issues. See the several excellent music-based stories in the Gazette.
  • and more, but I’m getting tired of this.

Things that are NOT YET dead horses. Horses still up and walking around that it might be fun to know more about… Oxen, Chickens, Herbal Medicines, Oil refining, oil tankers from the Wentz oilfield, games. NO ONE has discussed organs yet as far as I know, IV tubing, IV needles, syringes, China, India, oh Ghods, lots of stuff. Let’s talk. Plenty to discuss.

Have fun. We do.

Rick Boatright