Machine Age

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Metalworking machinery
A freight locomotive
Bonneville Dam (1933–1937)

The Machine Age[1][2][3] is an era that includes the early-to-mid 20th century, sometimes also including the late 19th century. An approximate dating would be about 1880 to 1945. Considered to be at its peak in the time between the first and second world wars, the Machine Age overlaps with the late part of the Second Industrial Revolution (which ended around 1914 at the start of World War I) and continues beyond it until 1945 at the end of World War II. The 1940s saw the beginning of the Atomic Age, where modern physics saw new applications such as the atomic bomb,[4] the first computers,[5] and the transistor.[6] The Digital Revolution ended the intellectual model of the machine age founded in the mechanical and heralding a new more complex model of high technology. The digital era has been called the Second Machine Age, with its increased focus on machines that do mental tasks.

Universal chronology[edit]

Atomic AgeCold WarWorld War IINational SocialismNew DealWorld War ISocial liberalismProgressive EraGilded AgeSecond Industrial Revolution1940sGreat DepressionRoaring Twenties1910s1900s (decade)Gay Nineties1880s


The Yamato and other battleships in World War II were the heaviest artillery-carrying ships ever launched. They proved inferior to aircraft carriers and missile-carrying warships.
Some locomotives built in the mid-20th century were the heaviest ever.

Artifacts of the Machine Age include:

Social influence[edit]

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.
  • Rise of petroleum as a strategic resource

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.
  • Climax of New Imperialism and beginning of decolonization

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]


  1. ^ Mentality and freedom By William Armstrong Fairburn. Page 219.
  2. ^ The Playground, Volume 15 By Playground and Recreation Association of America
  3. ^ Public libraries, Volume 6
  4. ^ "1944: Princeton builds the A-bomb".
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2011-06-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "The First Transistor Invented in 1947".
  7. ^ "Industrialization of American Society". (College of Engineering, San José State University). Archived from the original on 2010-09-19. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  8. ^ "The Plan Comes Together - Encyclopedia of Chicago". Retrieved 2013-08-14.