Machine Age

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Metalworking machinery
A freight locomotive
Bonneville Dam (1933–37)

The Machine Age[1][2][3] is an era that includes 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 Second Industrial Revolution. The 1940s saw the beginning of the Atomic Age, where modern physics saw new applications susch 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 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


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.

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]