I am not really a technologist, I am an entrepreneur who loves technology because it can create products that people want to buy. As such, I am fascinated by the Georgians and Victorians and the development of the entrepreneurialism.
In Georgian times (1774), as now, the balance of trade deficit with China caused huge difficulties for the Western powers. Shortly after the loss of the American colonies (a fact celebrated by some today) the East India company sent a mission to Tibet to foster trade relations.
This remarkable story is told in The High Road to China: George Bogle, the Panchen Lama and the First British expedition to Tibet.
It is a great read.