Machine Age  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

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 and was utimately eclipsed by the Atomic Age beginning in 1945.


Arts and architecture

The Machine Age is considered to have influenced:

Artifacts of the Machine Age

  • 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

Social 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 adequate 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.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Machine Age" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools