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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The term low-technology is a description of those crafts and tools whose inception (typically) predates the Industrial Revolution.

A test for low-technology may be that it can be practiced or fabricated with a minimum of Capital investment by an individual or small group of individuals; and that the knowledge of the practice can be completely comprehended by a single individual, free from increasing specialization and compartmentalization.

Colloquially, low-technology (or lo-tech - an antonym of hi-tech) has also come to be used as a relative description of more modern techniques and designs to show that they are no longer cutting edge. Lo-tech techniques and designs may fall into disuse due to changing socio-economic conditions or priorities.

Examples of low-technology

Note: almost all of the entries in this section should be prefixed by the word traditional.

  • the trade of the wainwright: making wagons. (the Latin word for a two-wheeled wagon is carpentum, the maker of which was a carpenter.)

(Wright is the agent form of the word wrought, which itself is the original past passive participle of the word work, now superseded by the weak verb forms worker and worked respectively.)

  • milling in the sense of operating hand-constructed equipment with the intent to either grind grain, or the reduction of timber to lumber as practiced in a saw-mill.

Note: home canning is a counter example of a Low-technology since some of the supplies needed to pursue this skill rely on a global trade network and an existing manufacturing infrastructure.Template:Citation needed

Legal status of low-technology

By Federal law in the United States, only those articles produced with little or no use of machinery or tools with complex mechanisms may be stamped with the designation hand-wrought or hand-made. Lengthy court-battles are currently underway over the precise definition of the terms organic and natural as applied to foodstuffs.Template:Citation needed

Groups associated with low-technology

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Low-technology" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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