Low technology

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Low technology, often abbreviated low tech (adjective forms low-technology, low-tech, lo-tech) is simple technology, often of a traditional or non-mechanical kind, such as crafts and tools that pre-date the Industrial Revolution. It is the opposite of high technology.

Low technology can typically be practised 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. Low-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is the agent form of the word wrought, which itself is the original past passive participle of the word work, now superseded by the weak verb forms worker and worked respectively.)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.[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.[citation needed]

Groups associated with low-technology