19th Century Progress

Nineteenth-Century Progress
Inventions to Make Life Easier
Setting the Stage
• As the industries we saw in the industrial
revolution grew, scientific discovery started to
push the frontiers of knowledge with new
inventions and discoveries
• New kinds of energy:
– Gasoline
– Electricity
– Hydrogen
• First used as a fuel source in 1806 for an engine!
• Including being used to power one of the first cars
• Would be used for aircraft long after it was discovered
Inventions to Make Life Easier
• Thomas Edison
– Patented more than 1000 inventions, including the
light bulb and phonograph
– Light bulb
• Used direct current (DC)
• Was used widely as the standard throughout the US
– Created a research laboratory in Menlo Park, New
• Most of his inventions were created here
• Worked with Lewis H. Latimer, an African American inventor
• Implications for perceptions of race?
Inventions to Make Life Easier
• Nikola Tesla (1865)
– Born in Croatia
– Worked with Edison briefly
– Created alternating-current (AC) machinery
• Tesla Electric Company
• “Tesla coil” – used for radio technology, still used today
• Sold this patent to Westinghouse Corporation which then got the contract
for the Chicago World’s Fair
– AC current quickly became the preeminent power system of the 20th
c and has been the worldwide standard ever since
– Why have you never heard of him?
• Became obsessed with wireless transmission of energy and he set out to
build a wireless (think about that!) communication system to provide free
electricity around the world
• Got funding from JP Morgan but doubts arose among his investors and his
rival Guglielmo Marconi – with the help of Edison and Carnegie – made
advancements with radio technologies, forcing Tesla to abandon the project
• He declared bankruptcy two years later and his tower (called Wardenclyffe)
was scraped to pay for the debts
Inventions to Make Life Easier
• Bell and Marconi Revolutionize Communication
– Alexander Graham Bell
• Teacher of deaf students invented the telephone in his spare
• Displayed his device at the Philadelphia Centennial
Exposition of 1876
– Guglielmo Marconi used theoretical discoveries about
electromagnetic waves to create the first radio in 1895
• Sent messages using Morse Code through the air without
• Primitive radios quickly became standard equipment for
Inventions to Make Life Easier
• Ford Sparks the Automobile Industry
– 1880s, German inventors used a gasoline powered engine
to power a vehicle – automobile
– Henry Ford decided to use this and make cars that were
affordable for most people
• Used standardized, interchangeable parts
• Built them on an assembly line – line of workers who each put a
single piece on unfinished cars as they passed on a moving belt
– Could build an entire Model T in 2 hours
• First built in 1908 and sold for $850
• As production costs fell, the price dropped to $300
– Other factories built on this and by 1916, there were more
than 3.5 million cars on the roads (which had not quite
caught up yet)
Inventions to Make Life Easier
• The Wright Brothers
– Bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio built the first gasoline
powered airplane
– First heavier than air aircraft to SUCCEED
– Flew it in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
• Longest flight 59 seconds
• Started the aircraft industry
• Not the first to start toward flight though
– First controlled flight was a dirigible (considered lighter than air)
• Reached 6.7 mph from a flight from Paris to Trappe
• Built by a Frenchman, Henri Giffard
– Going back even farther
• Di Vinci was obsessed with, creating an invention for a glider as early as the
– Produced more than 35,000 words and 500 sketches dealing with flying machines
– Most of them mimicked a bird’s flight (impressive given the F4U Corsairs that were
highly effective in WWII)
New Ideas in Medicine
• The Germ Theory of Disease
– Louis Pasteur (mid-1800s)
• Discovered that fermentation of alcohol was caused by microscopic
organisms he called bacteria
– Realized that heat killed bacteria
– Led him to develop the process of pasteurization to kill germs in liquids, like milk
– Joseph Lister
• Read Pasteur’s work and realized that germs might explain why about
half of all patients died after surgery from infection
• 1865 – ordered all surgical wards be kept spotless, wounds had to be
washed with antiseptic, AND PEOPLE HAD TO WASH THEIR HANDS
• 85% of Lister’s patients started to survive after these techniques were
put in place
– Vaccines were found for deadly diseases like typhus, typhoid
fever, diphtheria, and yellow fever
• People started to live longer
New Ideas in Science
• Mendel and Genetics
– 1850s an Austrian monk named Mendel used peas to
prove genetics
• Realized there was a pattern to the way certain traits were
• Started to experiment with pea pods in his garden to prove it
– Significantly different that Lamarck who said that over
time, species changed themselves through behavior
• His go to example is the neck of a giraffe
– “Nervous Fluid” longer neck = longer necked offspring
New Ideas in Chemistry and Physics
• John Dalton (British) – theorized all matter is made of a tiny particles called
– Showed that elements have specific weights
– Compounds then contain more than one element
• Dmitri Mendeleev (Russian)
– Used Dalton’s ideas of weights of elements to organize them into the periodic
– Still used today (as you well know)
• Marie and Pierre Curie
– Discovered two missing elements, radium and polonium
– Found in a mineral called pitchblende which released a powerful form of
energy – radioactivity
– 1903 they shared the Nobel Prize in physics for their work on radioactivity
– 1911, Marie won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for finding radium and polonium
– Both were unfortunately killed by their exposure to radioactivity, which today
we know is really dangerous
• Ernest Rutherford (British) – suggested that atoms were not the smallest
– Nucleus surrounded by electrons
New Ideas in Science
• Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
– On the Origin of Species
– Theory of Evolution (Natural Selection)
• Populations tend to grow faster than the food supply and so much
compete for food (who does this sound like?)
• Only the fittest and best adapted to their environment survive
• Surviving members produce offspring with their advantages
• Over many generations, the species change
– Will be applied to races with the term Social Darwinism
• Huge reason why the Europeans feel the right to colonize
(imperialize) other countries
• Does this still exist?
Social Sciences Explore Behavior
(and borrow from the Hard Sciences)
• Wanted to study humans and societies scientifically
• Psychology
– Study of the human mind and behavior
– Ivan Pavlov
• Believed human actions were unconscious reactions to
experiences and could be changed by training
• Pavlov’s dogs
– Sigmund Freud
• Believed the unconscious mind drives how people think and
• Psychoanalysis – dealt with psychological conflicts due to
suppressed memories, desires, and impulses
The Rise of Mass Culture
• Changes produce mass culture
– Appeal of art, writing, music, and other forms of
entertainment to a larger audience
– As goods became cheaper, it was easier for more
people to enjoy them which lead to people wanting
• Led to changes in music, theater, sports, movies
The Rise of Mass Culture
• Music Halls and Vaudeville
– Many people went to music halls where they would have
multiple acts a night
– In the US, Vaudeville acts were variety acts that traveled
from town to town
• Movies
– During the 1880s, many inventors tried producing moving
– Edison succeeded
– Earliest motion pictures were black and white and lasted
less than a minute
– By the 1900s, they were producing the first feature films
• 1910 – 5 million Americans attended some 10,000 theaters each
• Europe had numbers close to that
The Rise of Mass Culture
• Sports Entertain Millions
– Spectator sports now became entertainment (more
people had money to spend)
– US: football and baseball grew quickly in popularity
• Massillon Tiger and McKinley Bulldogs (my neck of the woods)
– Europe: Soccer and Cricket drew huge crowds
– Olympic Games 1896
• Revived the Greek tradition (remind you of anything?)
• First games took place in Athens, Greece again