Machine Age


Machine Age

Machine Age is a term associated with the early 20th Century. 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. It was ultimately eclipsed by the Atomic Age beginning in 1945.

Artifacts of the Machine Age include:
*Mass production of high volume goods on moving assembly lines, particularly of the automobile
*Gigantic production machinery, especially for producing and working metal, such as steel rolling mills, bridge component fabrication, and automobile body presses
*Powerful earthmoving equipment
*Steel framed buildings of great height (the "skyscraper")
*Radio and phonograph technology
*High speed printing presses, enabling the production of low cost newspapers and mass market magazines
*Large hydroelectric and thermal electric power production plants and distribution systems
*Low cost appliances for the mass market that employ fractional horsepower electric motors, such as the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine
*Fast and comfortable long distance travel by railroad, automobile, and aircraft
*Development and employment of modern war machines such as tanks, aircraft, submarines and the modern battleship
*Streamline designs in automobiles and trains, influenced by aircraft design

ocial influence

*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 acqusition, manufacturing, and distribution
*Corporate exploitation of labor leading to the creation of strong trade unions as a countervailing force

Environmental influence

*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

*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

The Machine Age is considered to have influenced:
*Dystopian movies including Chaplin's "Modern Times" and Lang's" Metropolis"
*Streamline Moderne appliance design and architecture
*Bauhaus style
*Modern art
**Cubism
**Art Deco decorative style
**Futurism


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