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By the late 1800's, industrialization was in full gear in much of Europe and North America. Almost all the industrialization during this era was the result of the maturing steam technology, which had already been evolving for about 100 years. The steam engine, being the critical device developed at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, continued to be refined; it application had revolutionized land and water transportation, textile manufacture, mining, and agriculture during that century, and most importantly, allowed for mass production to fully take hold. These "heavy industries" created more goods at cheaper prices, and raised the standard of living for millions.
In parallel, or perhaps as an extension, the Information Revolution of our time is a direct result of the Industrial Revolution. The critical device, the integrated circuit or computer chip, has, like its predecessor, altered industry to unrecognizability from a century ago and created devices and processes that were unconceivable even 20 years ago. The mass of data available to any individual has again enabled the standard of living to rise, and the speed at which new devices and techniques are created can only continue to increase the rate of improvement.
Technology of the late 1800's was centered around the industrialization of the United States. New technology was applied to industry and the mass production of steel and the new uses of coal and oil. Big business was the beneficiary of most of the innovations of that time period.
Today technology is much more widely distributed amongst industry and in the home. But as we begin to move towards a new clean technology revolution, the biggest difference in late 1800 technology usage and today is in the types of energy being used. That ere ushered in the use of fossil fuels today technology is focusing on clean tech in everything from home to industry.
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