Cars *would* still be steam engines if they weren’t so noisy and clunky. But worldwide, steam is king. The only difference between the technologies of nuclear, coal, oil, solar, is how to boil the water.
The power grid is run off of a bunch of tea kettles, whistling around the planet.
We like to believe we’re so advanced, but we’re still using variations of mid-19th century technologies in the 21st century.
Before electricity (typically steam generated then as today – no difference except in the amount), you had horses moving stuff.
They were fueled by sweet talking, whips, sugar cubes and hay.
Water wheels were the “big thing” in the ‘middle ages’, doing some of our mundane tasks for us.
Prior to that, Rome things had some machines running off of the aquaduct system but they made good use of human and horse power as well.
Byzantium had some fascinating technolgoies though. They had chairs that could lift an important person automatically up towards the ceiling to show off JUST HOW AWESOME he was to a visiting dignitary. All sorts of gadgets and gizmos in Byzantium. Lots of chemistry there there, including a certain color of royal purple that, legend has it, still can’t be recreated. Also, they use a trick every Easter for making Holy Fire appear. Secret formula from Byzantium days. They ain’t talking – it’s their yearly magic trick.