HPS202 Industrialization of Time

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Published on 26 Sep 2011
History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Industrialization of time and space + telegraph
growth of rail system
1825 Stockton-Darlington line opens
1830 Liverpool-Manchester line completed
1844-1846 Railway Mania, 400 new lines authorized and 9000 rout miles of track
1849 rail system largely complete, Caledonian rail line connects London to
Edinburgh (farthest apart major points)
new route of travelers, cheap and fast... pleasure traveling
opportunity for lower class
increase trade (more things farther)
influence way people perceive time and space
pre-industrial travel
animal powered
travelers may move by post-cart, coach, or wagon
top speed 10mph
people develop fixed concept of the amount of time it takes to cover a given
John Nevison “Swift Nick” 1667 used these fixed concepts of time and space to
create alibi
some find new relationship traumatic, ambivalent to new speed
space killed, left with time alone
railway pathologies
first systematic study of effects of rail travel on health performed in France 1857
engineers, identifies inelasticity of iron frame and constant vibration as source of
joint pain and fatigue
1862 Lancet (leading medical journals) pub pamphlet on influence of railway on
public health, warm public of stress railway travel
symptoms: weariness, aching muscles, joint pains
argue human body meant for organic travel, not mechanical
mental strain from overload of constant roaring from rail, different speed
railway fatigue: physical and mental weariness from vibration of rail car and
sensory overload of rail travel, caused by unnatural inelasticity
responses to ^
leads to upholstering of railcar seats, connected to concurrent fad for
upholstered chairs in houses
shift in landscape viewing to appreciation of panorama over detail, reflected in
art of period
introduction of practice of reading while traveling and development of industry
producing cheap paperback novels (speaking -> reading)
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