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Some Points of Difference
- Steam transport got under way about a generation earlier than in our
history, and steam cars have been common since the 1820's, gradually
improving. By the time the internal combustion engine came along, so much
effort had gone into developing automotive steam engines that they remained
dominant in all but aeronautical and armored fighting-vehicle applications.
Petroleum or coal oil has been the dominant fuel for autosteamers since the
first Egyptian oil fields were discovered (by teams drilling for water) in
the 1810's. Modern (1940) autosteamers have pressure-injected flash boilers
with high superheat, operating safely at 1,200 psi; the standard operating
unit is a triple-expansion uniflow with extensive electric auxiliaries.
Heavy, articulated trucks are common, particularly in the Domination. The
autosteamers of the 40's represent a "mature" technology—fairly
uniform everywhere, rugged, easy to maintain and very long-lasting.
Performance and price are both lower than the equivalent internal-combustion
machines of our history, but reliability is greater. Since they are
relatively simple to manufacture, most nations with any pretensions to
modernity have an autosteamer industry.
- Air transport became a practical reality in the 1870's; the Domination's
need for fast long-distance transport provided the incentive. The first
dirigibles were steam-turbine powered, with laminated wood frames and cloth
hull coverings. By 1914, "metalclad" airships were the rule (a
thin metal hull providing gas sealage, with an internal frame). Size had
increased to 1,000 feet length, 250 feet maximum diameter, 8,000 mile range
and 100 tons useful lift, burning a mixture of kerosene and hydrogen as
fuel. Heavier-than-air planes were developed primarily to destroy dirigible
bombers, and did so very effectively. Transport dirigibles continued in use,
and by the 1940's could carry up to 200 tons for 12,000 miles at 90 mph.
Long distance air freight dates from the 1890's (the decade of the first
Atlantic crossing). The more primitive areas of the continental interiors
were largely opened up by dirigibles: Yunnan, Tibet, the New Guinea
- Urban mass transit got an earlier start, since the autosteamer could be
employed on city streets. Monorails evolved from elevated urban
railways—first pneumatic, then electric, then powered by linear induction
motors. Autosteamers and trucks served as feeders to railways from the
beginning, ousting animal transport very gradually over a period of
generations—first in the advanced countries, and spreading from there.
- "Modern" (Bauhaus) architecture never really got under way in
the Domination's timeline; Frank Lloyd Wright practiced, but the German
school was never born. Steel-frame and ferroconcrete construction are
common, but the unadorned "glass shoebox" is reserved for
industrial uses. Public and domestic architecture in the Domination is
predominantly "Drakastyle"—an Art-Nouveauish version of earlier
Classico-Mughal schools: lines are fairly simple, but with elaborately
decorated surfaces (mosaic, murals, stained glass). Euro-American styles are
variously historic, Art Nouveau-Art Deco, and "Mechanist."
Skyscrapers are common in the larger American cities, but not much imitated
elsewhere. Central air-conditioning was developed in the Domination in the
1850's, immediately after the invention of practical refrigeration, and
spread rapidly to the tropical areas of the U.S.; small, single-dwelling
units were available in America by the time of the Great War.
- Clothing makes less use of synthetic fabrics, since the natural
equivalents are much cheaper than in our history. Draka clothing adapted
early to tropical climates; it is loose, light, and nonconfining. This has
had some influence on general Western, styles. Trousers for women were
introduced for sporting purposes in the Domination in the 1860s, and for
casual wear in "daring" circles by about 1900. The U.S. followed
about a generation behind, and Europe still later. Hats remain common for
both sexes past the 1950's; colors are usually brighter.
- Social intoxicants have a rather different history in the Domination's
timeline. Both the United States and the Domination are exposed to cannabis
on a large scale fairly early—the Draka from the North Africans and the
U.S. from Mexico. Sporadic attempts at prohibition in the United States
break down in the 1930's, with social acceptance (outside the Bible Belt)
following during the Eurasian War. (In the process, ethnic Mexicans come to
dominate organized crime in most major cities, much to the discomfort of the
law-abiding majority of Hispanics.) Ganja is popular and legal in
the Domination from the early nineteenth century; both countries launch
occasional educational campaigns to prevent abuse. The first studies linking
tobacco to cancer and heart disease are done in Germany in the 1930's and at
first, widely discounted as Nazi propaganda. The U.S. is otherwise a
spirits-and-beer country, with some wine-drinking enclaves. The Domination
is a wine-and-brandy region with a minor key in (German and
- Solar-power units (glass circulating-water collectors, with underground
pressurized-water heat sinks) were developed for isolated plantations in the
Domination in the 1860's, and spread widely in high-sunlight tropical
regions. By the 1920's most ranches and farms in the American Sunbelt have
- Household appliances (vacuum cleaners, etc.) are primitive, and outside
the U.S. rare.