Technology and the End of Isolation
Technology was one of many spectacular ways that helped Americans break free from what seemed to be a never ending time of isolation. There were so many hardships in the early years starting in 1865 that one living in those days may have not have been able to see an end in sight. Inventions as well as improvements in technology were about to be the answer to many of the physical and intellectual isolation problems of Americans. There were new methods to help perform duties and assist in tasks of labor, there were technologies to end personal isolation and get people from place to place and there was also a way to end intellectual isolation by getting information to people groups at a time through radio signals. All of these things could be done through technology and were all ways of ending isolation.
Physical labor and work duties are all something expected of the average person when wanting to get a salary at the end of the week. This is just the way the cycle goes when one has a family to feed. So it went in the cycle of isolation in the years prior to 1900, the people back in those days really knew the true meaning of “physical” labor. The years dating back to before 1900 lacked most of the conveniences that have now been invented in 2012 and are now in use for most tasks that we do in our work force such as a few of the inventions mentioned below. The first actual computer based invention that came about to assist in actual labor in order to perform the duties of several people and cut the time down considerably making a substantial benefit to all involved would have been the Hollerith Electric Tabulating System. “The first large-scale application of the HETS was the 1890 U.S. census; the second was the Austrian census of 1890. For the third such application--the 1900 US census—agriculture statistics were also processed with punched cards. Over the course of these applications, more than 300 million cards had been punched and repeatedly processed” (Kistermann, 2005).
Another machine that cut down on time considerably when used by a person, rather than a person simply using their hands alone was the Shorthand Writing Machine also known as the Stenograph Machine. This little piece of equipment’s efficiency “was proven at the 1914 National Shorthand Reporters Association speed contest in which nine machine shorthand trained teenagers consistently won against 30 seasoned professional pen writers with up to 99.30 percent accuracy” (History, 2012).
Yet another way in which technology could help would be to assist them in completing their daily tasks in order to free up time in their ever so busy day in order to do something else. A way in which that was made possible for most housewives back in the 1930’s was with new domestic appliances. The electric refrigerator took the place of the icebox, the vacuum took the place of the broom, the washing machine replaced the hand washing of the laundry and of course there was the electric oven that did many more tasks than did any other cooking utensil in the past. As with any other new things, there are always bound to be some things that are seen as negative as well. In the items listed above it was noted as causing “more work for the mother” “new domestic appliances often increased the work for the housewife because they redefined the expectation of what needed to be done” (Bowles, 2011). Due to the new tasks that the appliances were able to do, now the women were expected to accommodate the families with those features as well as all the other duties. These were just a couple of ways in which technology had become a part of the American way. It was just the beginning, in September of 1895 for the first time Tesla and Westinghouse while in their works began transmitting power over a distance of more than 20 miles. “This was the first hydroelectric plant” (Bowles, 2011). There were also several other inventions that...
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