An alternate timeline by Althistorian 2005.

"In the 12th century, a monk made a prayer book. Paper was scarce in those days, so instead of shelling out for brand-new paper, the monk pulled out an old manuscript off the shelf and just wrote it using that. He scraped off the ink and set off writing his book. Later analysis has shown that the worthless manuscript that he practically destroyed was actually a book called the Method by Archimedes. The book laid out the basics of calculus and physics more than 1500 years before Newton and Leibnitz, so yeah, we could have flying cars now if that guy had not written over the book." - LoganProductions, YouTube

But what if the Method had not been destroyed? Would we actually have flying cars?

"Archimedes discovered a foundation of integral calculus. Unfortunately, no one knew it until the Method was discovered in 1906. That's only a fraction of calculus, however, since Archimedes didn't know anything about derivatives or the fundamental theorem of calculus. That work, the Method, has an interesting history. Someone in the 11th century copied several of Archimedes' works onto parchment (except a few pages at the end, which were written on paper). About three hundred years later the parchment was scraped and written over. Parchment written over is called a palimpsest. In 1899 a famous historian of mathematics, Heiberg, heard of a palimpsest with geometry written underneath, and read it in 1906 and 1908. He recognized most of Archimedes' works, but the Method was new to him. Heiberg published it in Greek in 1910 and Heath translated it into English in 1912. More recently, modern technology has been used to read some of the text that Heiberg couldn't see. You can find more about that on the web. There was even an hour long television show about it not long ago."

- Anonymous, Quora

Maybe not, but let's find out!

12th Century

The monk does not destroy the Method, thus it survives and is later rediscovered during the Renaissance. Meanwhile, the mariner's compass is invented in Song Dynasty China.

13th Century

1206: Camshafts first described by Ismail al-Jazari.

1275: Torpedo Concept by Hasan al-Rammah.

1277: Land mines invented in Song Dynasty China.

1286: Eyeglasses invented.

Undefined years:

  • Explosive bombs invented in Jin dynasty Manchuria.
  • Hand cannons invented in Yuan Dynasty China.
  • Rocket for military and recreational uses invented in China.
  • The earliest form of mechanical escapement, the verge escapement invented in Europe.

14th Century

1300s: Multistage rocket invented in Ming Dynasty China.

~1326: Cannon invented in Ming Dynasty China.

~1350: Renaissance begins. The Method is among the many ancient Greek and Roman manuscripts uncovered from libraries and even some churches and cathedrals.

1378: Naval artillery invented in Korea.

Undefined years:

  • Jacob's staff invented by Levi ben Gerson.
  • Naval mine invented in Ming Dynasty China.

15th Century

1420s: Braces invented in Flandres.

1440-1450: The printing press is invented and then perfected by Johannes Gutenberg.

1452: Leonardo da Vinci is born.

1478: At the age of 26, da Vinci discovers the Method and begins improving on Archimedes' work.

1480s: Mariner's astrolabe in Portuguese circumnavigation of Africa.

1485-7: Da Vinci successfully develops OTL Newtonian physics and calculus out of the Method, including even the three fundamental Laws of Gravity, while also working on his ornithopter (an early type of aircraft). Over the following years, da Vinci develops more and more of Newton's OTL achievements. He ends up being more famous for his inventions than for his paintings.

1494: Double-entry bookkeeping system codified by Luca Pacioli.

~1497: Da Vinci develops a working prototype of his ornithopter and demonstrates it, setting the stage for later inventors to create the aeroplane. However, the ornithopter is not considered practical for commercial use until the invention of the steam, and later gas, engines.

Undefined years:

  • Coil spring invented in Europe.
  • Mainspring invented in Europe.
  • Rifle invented in Europe.
  • Arquebus invented, possibly in Spain.

16th Century

1519: Leonardo da Vinci dies.

1551: Taqi ad-Din describes a simple steam turbine-like device used in steam jacks.

1560: Floating Dry Dock invented in Venice.

1569: Mercator Projection map created by Gerardus Mercator.

1577: Newspaper invented in Korea.

1589: Stocking frame invented by William Lee.

1594: Backstaff invented by Captain John Davis.

~1597: Revolver invented by Hans Stopler.

17th Century

1608: Telescope patent applied for by Hans Lippershey in the Netherlands.

~1620: Compound microscopes, which combine an objective lens with an eyepieceto view a real image, first appear in Europe.

1630: Slide rule invented by William Oughtred.

1642: Mechanical calculator, the Pascalineis built by Blaise Pascal.

1643: Barometer invented by Evangelista Torricelli, or possibly up to three years earlier by Gasparo Berti.

1650: Vacuum pump invented by Otto von Guericke.

1656: Pendulum clock invented by Christiaan Huygens.

1663: Friction machine invented by Otto von Guericke.

1680: Christiaan Huygens provides the first known description of a piston engine.

18th Century


~1709: Bartolomeo Cristofori crafts the first piano.

1709: Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invents the alcohol thermometer.


1712: Thomas Newcomen builds the first commercial steam engine to pump water out of mines. Newcomen's engine, unlike Thomas Savery's, uses a piston.


~1730: Thomas Godfrey and John Hadley independently develop the octant.

1733: John Kay enables one person to operate a loom with the flying shuttle.

1736: John Harrison tests his first Sea Clock, H1.

1738: Lewis Paul and John Wyatt invent the first mechanized cotton spinning machine.


1745: Musschenbroek and Kleist independently develop the Leyden jar, an early form of capacitor.

1746: John Roebuck invents the lead chamber process.


1755: William Cullen invents the first artificial refrigeration machine.


1764: James Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny.

1765: James Watt invents the improved steam engine utilizing a separate condenser.

1767: Joseph Priestley invents a method for the production of carbonated water.

1769: Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot invents the first steam-powered vehicle capable of carrying passengers, an early car. Other inventors then scramble to apply the steam engine to da Vinci's ornithopter and create an early aeroplane.


1770: Richard Salter invents the earliest known design for a weighing scale.

1774: John Wilkinson invents his boring machine, considered by some to be the first machine tool.

1775: Jesse Ramsden invents the modern screw-cutting lathe.

1776: John Wilkinson invents a mechanical air compressor that would become the prototype for all later mechanical compressors.

1778: John Wilkinson wins the race to invent the aeroplane and patents it in London. The British Army attempts to use it in combat during the American War of Independence, but the new technology fails to affect the outcome of the war, despite the development of aerial bombing soon after.


1783: Claude de Jouffroy builds the first steamboat. The American War of Independence ends. Joseph-Ralf and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier build the first manned hot air balloon.

1785: Martinus van Marum is the first to use the electrolysis technique.

1786: Andrew Meikle invents the threshing machine.

1789: Edmund Cartwright invents the power loom. The French Revolution takes place.


1790: Thomas Saint invents the sewing machine.

1792-7: The War of the First Coalition takes place. Aircraft are used in combat for the first time in this war, first for surveillance, and later for bombing as well.

1792: Claude Chappe invents the modern semaphore telegraph.

1793: Eli Whitney invents the modern cotton gin.

1795: Joseph Bramah invents the hydraulic press.

1796: Alois Senefelder invents the lithography printing technique.

1797: Samuel Bentham invents plywood.

1798: Edward Jenner develops the first successful vaccine, the smallpox vaccine. The War of the Second Coalition begins.

1799: George Medhurst invents the first motorized air compressor. The first paper machine is invented by Louis-Nicolas Robert.

19th Century


1802: The War of the Second Coalition ends.

1803: War resumes between Britain and France.

1804: Britain assembles the Third Coalition, beginning the War of the Third Coalition.

1805: The Battle of Trafalgar takes place and becomes the first major naval battle to involve air forces. However, despite being outnumbered in both air and naval forces, Britain somehow pulls through and defeats the Franco-Spanish Napoleonic fleet.

1806: The War of the Third Coalition ends with the Treaty of Pressburg. The Fourth Coalition is assembled a few months later and starts the War of the Fourth Coalition.

1807: The Fourth Coalition is quickly defeated and the War of the Fourth Coalition ends. A Franco-Spanish army later invades Britain's ally Portugal, starting the Peninsular War.

1808: France betrays Spain and escalates the Peninsular War. British and Spanish aircraft begin the first large-scale air campaign, bombing factories and houses in France.

1809: The War of the Fifth Coalition begins, but ends within the year with no clear victory for either side, although the war is arguably a French defeat as countless French lives and factories are lost in the bombings.


1812: The disastrous French invasion of Russia sets the stage for the War of the Sixth Coalition. Meanwhile, the War of 1812 begins when the United States declares war on the British Empire. The US Air Force immediately fills the skies above Canada, having been given a great deal of investment following American independence.

1813-4: The Sixth Coalition is assembled and defeats Napoleon, who is then exiled to the island of Elba.

1813: The US Army, supported by the Air Force, occupies Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City. They then surround many British troops in the southern part of Upper Canada, which are soon forced to surrender. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and then easily captured.

1814: Having captured Upper Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, southern parts of Lower Canada, and southeastern parts of Rupert's Land, the Americans decide to invade Newfoundland and the remainders of Lower Canada and Rupert's Land, thereby completely expelling British forces from the continent. The British resistance is stronger than anticipated, and the American forces are forced to regroup, because reinforcements begin arriving from Europe.

1815: Napoleon escapes from Elba and tries to retake his empire. He is then defeated again and exiled to the island of St. Helena. With Napoleon finally defeated for the last time, Britain prepares to counterattack against the US, but with public opinion massively in favor of ending the war, the British government sues for peace and is forced to hand over all their remaining North American territories, which the Americans then combine into the Republic of Canada, whose foreign (but not domestic) policy will be under American control. After this, British scientists begin researching anti-aircraft weapons while the Royal Air Force works on rearming. The Royal Navy also works on creating a ship that can transport and launch aircraft, which they term an 'aircraft carrier'.


1821: A British scientist, who never makes it past a university student in OTL, invents a working anti-aircraft weapon. He then offers to help build a working aircraft carrier. Meanwhile, the Greek War of Independence starts. British air power helps the Greeks in a big way, but paves the way to the creation of an Ottoman air force. Unfortunately, the war is not shortened by this.

1824: STS steel, which in OTL was developed by the Carnegie Steel Company, is invented by British scientists working on building the aircraft carrier. Other scientists then try fitting it onto existing battleships, creating the first ironclads. Navies all over the world soon begin copying these inventions.

1825: The first aircraft carrier is built in Britain. The US Navy then steals, copies, and improves the design through spies.

1828: With the Greek War of Independence still raging, the Russo-Turkish War begins. The war soon ends after just over a year of fighting.


1830: The July Revolution occurs in France, which then conquers Algeria that same year. The November Uprising occurs in Poland. The Belgian Revolution causes the independence of Belgium.

1833: Slavery is abolished in the British Empire. Canada follows suit the following year due to their cultural connections with Britain.

1836: The Texas Revolution occurs, and Texas gains independence from Mexico, with the support of the United States.

1839: The First Opium War starts. British aircraft carriers are used in combat for the first time, shortening the war so much that it ends the very next year in 1840, two years earlier than in OTL.


1846: When Texas is annexed by the US, Mexico starts the Mexican-American War to reclaim the land. However, due to overwhelming American superiority on land and air, Mexico loses and ends up having to cede big portions of their land to the US.

1848: As the Mexican-American War draws to a close, the Revolutions of 1848 occur. Most fail, but the French Revolution of 1848 successfully sets up the Second French Republic.


1850: The Taiping Rebellion begins. In OTL the rebellion carries on until 1864 even with the British and French supporting the Chinese government, but in this timeline the rebellion is crushed by 1858 with Anglo-French air forces.

1851: A coup occurs in France, creating the Second French Empire.

1853: The Crimean War begins.

1854: Conflict between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers in the US territory of Kansas turns violent, and the resulting terrorist action is collectively labelled "Bleeding Kansas".

1855: The Crimean War ends one year earlier than in OTL.

1856: The Second Opium War starts in October. The US sends support at first, but then stops sending it. This time, the British are helped by the French, and the war ends just a few months later, in April 1857.

1857: Just a couple of weeks after the British victory in the Second Opium War, the Indian Mutiny breaks out. In this timeline, with the Second Opium War already over, Britain is able to commit more forces to defeat the Indian rebels. Nonetheless, the war still carries on into 1858 before the Indian rebels are finally defeated.


1860-1: Abraham Lincoln is elected 16th President of the United States, causing slave-owning states to secede from the Union. Canada takes the side of the Union is the ensuing civil war, although a faction emerges pressuring the Canadian government to break free of American control.

1864: The American Civil War ends one year earlier than in OTL due to Canadian support. Despite not being aware of this, President Lincoln relinquishes control of Canadian foreign policy (on behalf of the US government) in gratitude for Canadian assistance during the war. This greatly improves US-Canadian relations, and trade talks begin the following year.

1865: While the Canadian president is visiting Washington for the trade talks, he accompanies President Lincoln to the theater on that fateful night instead of General Ulysses S. Grant, who skips the play to visit his children in New Jersey. President Lincoln is almost assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, but is saved by the Canadian president's bodyguard, who thought Booth was after the Canadian president. Lincoln's own bodyguard is later found to have left his post for a better view of the stage, but Lincoln gives him a presidential pardon.

1866: The Austro-Prussian War occurs with the same result as in OTL.

1868: Lincoln finishes his second term, leaving on a high note as Reconstruction progresses well.


1870-1: The Franco-Prussian War occurs, completing German unification under Prussia and ending the Second French Empire. Emerging from the war are the Third French Republic and the German Empire.

1877: The Russo-Turkish War occurs, and Russian air power ends the war a few months earlier than in OTL, but with the same result as in OTL.

1879: Germany and Austria-Hungary create the Dual Alliance.


1882: Italy joins Germany and Austria-Hungary to create the Triple Alliance.

1886: Karl Benz invents the first petrol/gasoline powered automobile, and the same technology is eventually adapted for aircraft and naval vessels as well as civilian aircraft and ships. Armored cars are also created soon after Benz unveils his invention.


1894-5: The First Sino-Japanese War happens.

1895-6: The Italo-Ethiopian War ends with Italy annexing the Ethiopian Empire, unlike in OTL.

1898: The Spanish-American War ends the same way as in OTL.

1899: The Boxer Rebellion and the Second Boer War start, but British air power shortens the Second Boer War by two years, ending it in 1900.

20th Century


1904-5: The Russo-Japanese War starts. Russian air power defeats the smaller Japanese air force before turning around and bombing Japanese ships out of the water. The numerically superior Russian forces defeat the Japanese on land and sea, and peace is soon mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt. In the Treaty of Portsmouth, Russia annexes Korea and Hokkaido and gains a sphere of influence in Manchuria, leaving the Japanese humiliated and vengeful.

1905: The First Moroccan Crisis strengthens the newly-created Entente cordiale between Britain and France and angers Germany. Meanwhile, Albert Einstein publishes his Annus Mirabilis papers, presenting radical changes to existing scientific and specifically physical theories.

1908: The Bosnian Crisis starts when Austria-Hungary annexes the region of Bosnia. Russia and Serbia protest, but when Germany and Austria-Hungary threaten military force, they back down because they know that Germany has the most powerful army and air force in Europe. As a result, Russia increases military expenditure and joins the Anglo-French Entente to defend against a German attack.


1911: Italy attacks the Ottoman Empire to gain a colony in North Africa. The Italo-Turkish War ends the same way as in OTL.

1912: The First Balkan War starts. The Ottoman air force is mobilised, but Greek and Serbian anti-air weapons take a massive toll on it. The war soon ends the same way as in OTL.

1913: The Second Balkan War takes place in the same way as in OTL.

1914: After Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo, Austria sends an ultimatum to Serbia, with German support. Russia rushes to the aid of the Serbians, mobilising their army for war. Germany warns Russia to cease mobilisation, and declares war when their demands are ignored. Knowing that France and Russia are allies, Germany activates the Schlieffen Plan and declares war on Russia. When Germany invades Belgium as part of the Schlieffen Plan, Britain sends a warning and declares war when the warning is ignored. (Basically, World War 1 starts the same way as in OTL.) In November, the Ottoman Empire enters the war. The Anglo-French air offensive is stopped by the German air force, starting the first large-scale aerial dogfights.

1915: With the Western Front becoming bogged down in trench warfare, Germany and Austria turn their focus towards Russia. They easily convince Japan to join their side to try to retake Korea and Hokkaido, alleviating Russian pressure on the Eastern Front. They successfully persuade Bulgaria to join them, causing Serbia to collapse under the joint Austro-Bulgarian offensive, but then Italy and Romania join the Allies and attack Austria-Hungary. The Austro-Hungarian army is pushed closer to collapse as they still need to prevent the Serbian army, which has escaped to Albania, from retaking their country.

1916: Austria invades Albania to crush the Serbian forces, which try to escape to Greece, but are met with closed borders, as the Greeks don't want to be involved in the war. With the Serbian remnants destroyed, more troops can be sent to fight Italy. Meanwhile, Romania is close to collapse, only staying independent due to Russian reinforcements. On the Western Front, the stalemate continues while Japan barely manages to establish a beachhead in Hokkaido. Luckily for them, Austro-German troops are steadily advancing into Russia with the help of the still-formidable German air force. Tanks are invented and used by the British Army.

1917: The Russian Tsar Nicholas II is overthrown and a provisional government is set up in his place. Before the provisional government can order the Russian army in Hokkaido to continue holding the territory, the peasant soldiers execute their tsarist officers and leave Hokkaido. The Japanese troops receive a warm welcome from the citizens of Hokkaido, who volunteer to help invade Sakhalin. With army morale sky-high, the Japanese emperor gives the go-ahead to invade Sakhalin. By then, a second revolution has taken place in Russia, and the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, has taken power. They open peace negotiations with Germany, Austria, and Japan, leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Under the terms of the treaty, a German occupation zone is set up in western Russia, while Finland gains independence. Hokkaido and Sakhalin are both ceded to Japan, but Korea gains independence. On the Western Front, the stalemate continues, but the tide seems to begin turning to Germany's favor. However, the USA entering the war on Britain and France's side in April may pose a threat.

1918: With the German and Austrian military units on the Eastern Front freed up for the Western Front, the Central Powers begin planning one big offensive to end the war once and for all. Austrian troops defeat the Italians heavily in the Venice region, while German troops break through the trenches on the Western Front. It seems the Central Powers are finally going to win the war, but then the German soldiers stop to plunder food from captured French towns and gorge themselves on it. The German offensive is stopped, while the Austro-Hungarian government collapses, making the Italian defeats useless. French and British troops, now with American reinforcements, obilterate the German army and push them back into Germany. With the army battered and the air force barely intact, the Kaiser is overthrown and the newly-formed Weimar government opens peace negotiations.

1919: The Paris Peace Conference takes place (roughly) the same way as OTL, but the Japanese are allowed to keep their gains from the war.


Same as OTL.


1931: Despite the Great Depression, Japan doesn't devolve into a fascist-like military dictatorship like in OTL (due to a weaker military than in OTL), but instead tries improving relations with the Western powers to survive it. Korea also begins reconciling with Japan, despite decades of Japanese rule in Korea before 1905. Meanwhile, the Spanish monarchy is overthrown and replaced by a republic.

1933: Adolf Hitler rises to power in Germany just like in OTL.

1935-6: Instead of invading Ethiopia as in OTL (because Italy had already conquered it in 1896), Mussolini's Fascist Italy invades Albania. Mussolini is internationally condemned for his actions, but Hitler applauds him. They soon begin helping the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, improving their relations even further. Hitler also uses the Albanian crisis as a smokescreen to publicly remilitarise the Rhineland, as if he is deliberately using the Treaty of Versailles as a guide on what NOT to do.

1938: The Anschluss and the Sudetenland crisis occur the same way as in OTL.

1939: The Spanish Civil War ends with a Nationalist victory, just as in OTL. Later, Italy invades Yugoslavia while German troops pour into Czechoslovakia as in OTL. Both actions are internationally condemned, but war doesn't break out until German troops invade Poland following the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. This starts World War 2.


1940: Same as OTL, until the Balkan Campaign. In the alternate Balkan Campaign, there is no invasion of Yugoslavia, because Yugoslavia is already part of the Italian Empire. The invasion of Greece proceeds the same way as in OTL.

1941-5: The rest of World War 2 takes place the same way as in OTL, but without the Pacific Theater. The US enters the war due to a staged attack on the US East Coast.

1949: The Cold War starts the same way as in OTL.


Same as OTL.

21st Century

Same as OTL.


No, we would NOT have flying cars, Logan.

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