Machine Age

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Metalworking machinery
A freight locomotive
Bonneville Dam (1933-37)

The Machine Age[1][2][3] is a term associated mostly with the early 20th century, sometimes also including the late 19th century. An approximate dating would be about 1880 to 1945. Considered to be at a peak in the time between the first and second world wars, it forms a late part of the Industrial Age. By the mid to late 1940s, the atom bomb,[4] the first computers,[5] and the transistor came into being,[6] beginning the contemporary era of high technology and thus ending the intellectual model of the machine age founded in the mechanical and heralding a new more complex model of high-technology.

Universal chronology[edit]

Atomic Age Cold War World War II Nazism New Deal Social liberalism Progressive Era Gilded Age Second Industrial Revolution 1940s Great Depression Roaring Twenties 1910s 1900s (decade) Gay Nineties 1880s

Developments[edit]

Artifacts of the Machine Age include:

Social influence[edit]

  • The rise of mass market advertising and consumerism
  • Nationwide branding and distribution of goods, replacing local arts and crafts
  • Nationwide cultural leveling due to exposure to movies and network broadcasting
  • Replacement of skilled crafts with low skilled labor
  • Growth of strong corporations through their abilities to exploit economies of scale in materials and equipment acquisition, manufacturing, and distribution
  • Corporate exploitation of labor leading to the creation of strong trade unions as a countervailing force

Environmental influence[edit]

  • Exploitation of natural resources with little concern for the ecological consequences; a continuation of 19th century practices but at a larger scale.
  • Release of synthetic dyes, artificial flavorings, and toxic materials into the consumption stream without testing for adverse health effects.

International relations[edit]

  • Conflicts between nations regarding access to energy sources (particularly oil) and material resources (particularly iron and various metals with which it is alloyed) required to ensure national self-sufficiency. Such conflicts were contributory to two devastating world wars.

Arts and architecture[edit]

Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912) by Marcel Duchamp displays Cubist and Futurist characteristics

The Machine Age is considered to have influenced:

See also[edit]

References[edit]