Sci-Fi Time Travel: Pristine Technology


An Old Friend
Can someone list examples of technology that remains in its pristine design? Meaning that over the years, it remains the same.

I can only think of one. Dispensing rolls for paper towels, aluminum foil and gift wrap. The product design changes but the roll is still a cardboard cylinder.

I was going to say light switches but lights can now be controlled by computers or movement or density changes.

These are items that look and function exactly as they did when they were first invented and made public. Technology has made no changes to its design.

Things that a time traveler might recognize with no effort. Know how to use and understand its function.


An Old Friend
Indoor plumbing? Not really, there has been many changes from its inception, most noteably removal of lead, p-traps and cleanouts.

Pens and pencils? pens were quills with ink pots, pencils were roughly hewn and had lead in them - no

Keyboards? Considering keyboards used to be complex mechanical machines - no

Flashlights? I have a windup flash light, I have seen shaker lights as well - no Reflectors have changed, bulbs have changed and switches have changed

Rocking-chairs? there are Gliders - no

Beer? Certainly not, beer is nothing like it was when it was first designed

Bread? bread is nothing like it was - no

Books? books used to be hand written and bound in cloth - even the paper and ink has changed - no

The things that are original and there is no other design or modification.

I was going to say mirrors but mirror reflectology is an exact science now with multiple compounds being used for different applications, example, laser mirrors and telescope mirrors not to forget, two-way mirrors.

You see it and you recognize it because it has always been that. Hasn't changed at all over the years.


An Old Friend
Mugs and drinking glasses: There are mugs and glasses that are molded to look like sculptures. Often cannot be determined to be a drinking device until you examine it closely. Plus there are things called drinking fountains that do away with the need for a container completely. There are also insulated containers called thermoses that preserve temperature. ( granted the original design can still be found but it is no longer the ONLY design)

Musical instruments: Hardly. I can reproduce any musical instrument with a computer program and some speakers. The poor time traveler would be frantically searching for the orchestra hidden out of sight.

Eye glasses: Nope. Contact lenses - bifocals, trifocals and sunglasses. Plus there is corrective laser surgery.


An Old Friend
Costume Jewelry? Plus, look at the jewelry that is worn by scifi fans. Not jewels at all. Some are pewter and some are machined replicas that are miniaturized.
Even art is subject to technology, look at matte painting and lithographs. Not to mention photocopies.
Sculptures, nope - think 3d printing.

This is pretty difficult and is why I asked for help.

Think about the person that is transported to the present from the dawn of civilization.

Imagine what would you recognize if transported 10,000 years into the future. What would be Exactly the Same with no changes at all?
I was referring to the 'form' most jewelry takes. Rings and necklaces etc. Of course their design/materials would change because that is part of their purpose i.e. to be unique, but essentially we have been decorating the same parts of our bodies (neck, earlobes, wrists, fingers etc). Unless the human body evolves beyond recognition I don't see how their basic form would change.

I suppose you are referring to the materials used in the construction of a technology. Would you consider food like bread, alcohol? Their various forms have always been made in the same basic way with the same basic materials.


An Old Friend
The form of jewerly has also changed: Ear necklaces like in Deep Space Nine, piercings just about anywhere. Hair feathers and extentions.
Most foods have changed. Ever heard of unleavened bread? Alcohol, surely refined for purity. Even our water supply has been affected by technology. About the only thing that might be considered pristine is raw bbq without flavorings but the grill is very different as well as many grilling techniques and requirements. Who throws a freshly killed rabbit on the fire anymore? Can you go out in a field and kill and butcher a cow? Do you think a bag of sugar comes from sugar cane? When is the last time you used a bucket to milk a cow for morning breakfast? Ground wheat into flour?
If you want to get natural you can recognize dirt, sometimes. But technology has even changed dirt...think potting soil and mulch.
Also natural occuring things are not "technology in its pristine form" because they are not technology.


An Old Friend
But it is an interesting question!
I know.

It makes me wonder about all the 'ordinary' things I see around me.

Consider going back in time to even the days of the old west. You get a glass of water and it has dirt in it. The supper you are invited to has lead shot in it. The clothing you put on doesn't quite fit and is rough or uneven.
People smell different. Hair is usually dirty. Teeth are yellow or rotten and broken. People are stronger with more stamina.

Now go into the future a few hundred years. Disease and handicaps are nearly gone. Technology has changed things you thought could not be changed. Electrical devices no longer need a separate power source. There are no plugs, wires or electrical grids. Lights are no longer just on or off the light level varies by the ambient light sensed. Temperatures in buildings are controlled by computers so it is always perfect for humanity.

Science fiction written that deals with time travel demands these observations and considerations be evaluated. Its the science part of the fiction. Speculation of the future view is only limited by imagination but the past view requires research and at least something familiar.

A traveler in time just to our present should be able to 'see' things that are unchanged. They will recognize many things by observing its function but when they see something that hasn't changed at all the familiarity of it will give them stability. A focus to the crazy world they are witnessing.

This topic is trying to identify those things the traveler will see and say "Hey, I know exactly what that is and what it does because it is exactly the same". They pick up their stainless steel thermal mug and sip some hot filtered coffee with a hint of hazelnut as they look at that item and feel familiarity.