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Kaleberg

That's a sign the technology is still advancing.

You can drive an old car, but it's one of those special licensing deals since it wouldn't be able to pass emissions tests. Do you care if you are street legal? You'll also have to put in seat belts.

Old radios still work, but try using a 20 year old television. Zero channels and nothing on. Maybe you can find an adapter that still works.

Good luck trying to run a factory with a steam powered prime mover. Try finding a maintenance crew. Are there any certified steam engineers still alive? Can you still get sperm whale oil for lubricating the belts? There's a reason everything went electric in the 1920s.

Old electric lights will work, but don't plug old appliances from the DC era into AC wall plugs. You'll destroy a possibly valuable antique. See if you can find something AC/DC (in the IEEE sense) on eBay.

An old telephone can be plugged into a modern phone line with a four prong to RJ11 adapter, but fewer and fewer phone systems support pulse dialing. You might be able to get calls even if you can't make them.

All these technologies went through periods of rapid obsolescence in their younger days. We've just gotten used to things from the mid-20th century.

Dick Pilz

Industrial steam is still used for processes like paper and refining. Many POL depots use steam powered pumps (no sparks) and to steam heat bunker oil for low viscosity.

Of course, there are recreational/heritage steam locomotives, tractors, and sawmills, too.

Boilers must be certified on a regular basis.

Having used a leather belt driven South Bend lathe, I can assure you there are synthetic substitutes.

Allan Smith

Certified Power Engineer here. Which is a fancified name for a boiler operator. Trust me, there are still sh*t loads of jobs, factories that require steam. Admittedly, my ticket was for marine engineering, (steam), and that need is defunct for all practical purposes.

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