Lv 7
Edwena asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 2 months ago

The year is 1860.  Did the average person have the concept of a machine?  Did the learned person have the concept of a powered machine?

What were the various machine devices and how were they powered?  Locomotives, wood and coal steam power, whale oil lighting,  But did they anticipate that new inventions were coming.  And, if they were coming, would that be the end of the need for forced human labor.  Not only in the USA, but all over the world.  Like in Russia, the end of the serf. So, the question is:  Was the concept of future machines part of the conversation regarding slavery in 1860?  Note that soon after, there are large factories, making remarkable things.  How could it all be invented in such a short period of time. Like how to make and use steel, etc. to make machines.

4 Answers

  • larry1
    Lv 6
    2 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Year 1860....yes the average average person had the concept of machines (USA). The 1st Industrial Revolution had already happened (1760-1840), although it happened mostly in Europe it happened in the US too. Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin was working from year 1800 man, animal, water powered. In 1861 the Union army was supplied with shells from ammunition 'factories' as were the Confederates. These early factories were almost all 'mills' that is water power provided the power to the machinery. Some were steam powered. There were water powered lumber mills/ garment factories. In 1860 these were relatively new and simple by our standards and most of the US were still farms unchanged since about 1820 but everyone knew about 'machines'. The steam locomotive/ RR were beginning their peak time.

    Did they anticipate new inventions coming in 1860...no...not yet. That would not come till after the Civil War (ended 1865) in the 1870's/1880's. In 1860 aside from the mill machines, gins/steam engines, trains, steam ships they already had in 1860 they expected no further advances. 

    They assumed some progress but that things would stay the way they were in 1860 for at least 100 years. Best proof of this is the Confederates of the South, they started/fought the whole Civil War lost 325,000 dead to keep their slaves....slaves...that machines would have phased out and made unnecessary anyway by just 1890. So they had no idea what was coming.

    Our whole way of looking toward the future as constant improvement didn't start till the 1870's/1880's.

    How invented in such a short period of time that we had the 2nd and bigger Industrial Revolution (1870-1920)........

    1. Scientists were working quietly (1800-1860) making good progress.

    2. The 1st Industrial Revolution was built upon (factory idea/early machinery).

    3. New power sources were found and way better steam engines developed, coal, advanced steam engines, eventually petroleum.

    4. *The huge game changer...commercial electricity starting (1883) no one expected it, it was 'magic' for humans. It changed everything 1890 on.

  • Marli
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    What do you think a locomotive was? It was a machine, powered by steam. A man had to shovel coal or wood into the boiler and water had to be boiled to make steam, but the locomotive pulled the cars.  Not the man. Not the horse. That machine pulled a heavier weight further than a man or a horse could, and soon locomotives pulled loads faster than they could.

    The spinning Jenny and the power loom were also machines, powered by water, like a grain mill, and later by steam.  Same with the steam press that produced more copies of a newspaper in less time than a hand press had done.

    The treadle sewing machine was powered by the human foot, but sewed seams in a few minutes, not hours.

    They were in the Great Exhibition of 1851, along with other machines. Electricity was not a power source then, but its properties were being studied to that end. And had there not been a steam engine and a steam ship (The Great Eastern), there would not have been the ideas post 1860 to improve them by inventing engines using gasoline-power.

    As for thoughts that the forthcoming inventions would make slavery obsolete because fewer people would be needed to produce the same result ... There were also thoughts that more people would be needed to run more machines to produce a larger result.  The cotton gin did not reduce the number of slaves needed to grow and pick the cotton bolls. The Jenny and the power loom decreased the number of hand loom weavers, but increased the number of power loom minders in larger and larger factories. The cloth plus the sewing machines brought ready made clothes and the 'sweat shop" clothes factories that made them. So the "free" workers of Lancashire, England, Lowell, Massachusetts and the garment workers of New York City and London were as shackled to their machines as the slaves to the cotton gins and the sugar cane boilers.

  • 2 months ago

    There were factories with machines weaving cotton, silk and wool before 1860. 

  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    It appears that you are unfamiliar with the dictionary definition of the word "machine." 

    Human beings had been using machines long before the 1860s. The earliest machines were powered by human energy, and many still are today. Perhaps you've heard of the bicycle. You may have also used a meat or vegetable slicer... Or a pencil sharpener. The wheel would constitute a machine, as would the fulcrum... I could go on. 

    If you are asking strictly about machines powered by something other than human power - such as steam powered machines or machines powered by hydroelectric energy or some other kind of power, then the answer would be that those types of machines were relatively scarce because industrialisation came to certain areas much earlier than it reached others. People living in Britain, in Western Europe, and in the Northeastern United States were much more accustomed to factories billowing smoke and trains screeching across the landscape than people in other parts of the world, and that was the case for decades. 

    It's also important to remember that while location played a major role in how much exposure people had to machinery (being situated in an urban area where there was a high level of demand for certain types of goods; being situated along a river that could provide a reliable supply of water for a foundry or a hydroelectric works; being situated beside a port or along a railway line where goods were loaded or unloaded or packaged or processed, etc...), many places became industrialised because there was a steady stream of workers there because even with the advent of coal or some other kind of energy to power plants, factories cannot operate (or at least couldn't in those days), without a lot of manpower to supplement the machine power. Thus, in many instances, coal was transported to urban areas where it would be worthwhile to build factories that could employ large numbers of people. 

    So it happened that in most cases, the most densely populated places saw the highest concentrations of new technology. It's pretty much the same today. People living in Northumberland or Kansas or on some Frisian island probably have great farming technology, but they don't get the latest innovative tech as quickly as people living in London or New York or Frankfurt because those places are relatively underpopulated in comparison. 

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