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European technology in the Middle Ages may be best described as a symbiosis of traditio et innovatio. While medieval technology has been long depicted as a step backwards in the evolution ofWestern technology, sometimes willfully so by modern authors intent on denouncing the church as antagonistic to scientific progress (see e.g. Myth of the Flat Earth), a generation of medievalists aroundthe American historian of science Lynn White stressed from the 1940s onwards the innovative character of many medieval techniques. Genuine medieval contributions include for example mechanicalclocks, spectacles and vertical windmills. Medieval ingenuity was also displayed in the invention of seemingly inconspicuous items like the watermark or the functional button. In navigation, thefoundation to the subsequent age of exploration was laid by the introduction of pintle-and-gudgeon rudders, lateen sails, the dry compass the horseshoe and the astrolabe.
Significant advances were alsomade in military technology with the development of plate armour, steel crossbows, counterweight trebuchets and cannon. Perhaps best known are the Middle Ages for their architectural heritage:While the invention of the rib vault and pointed arch gave rise to the high rising Gothic style, the ubiquitous medieval fortifications gave the era the almost proverbial title of the 'age ofcastles'.

The 19th century saw astonishing developments in transportation, construction, and communication technologies originating in Europe, especially in Britain. The Steam Engine which had existedsince the early 18th century, was practically applied to both steamboat and railway transportation. The first purpose built railway line opened between Manchester and Liverpool in 1830, the Rocketlocomotive of Robert Stephenson being one of the first working locomotives used on the line. Telegraphy also developed into a practical technology in the 19th century to help run the railways safely.
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