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) 1890s 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]