Western Civilization Class

The Second Industrial Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1914) saw the development of many significant innovations. Two inventions which stand out are the telephone and the Model T Ford. Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray, and Antonio Meucci were a few of the innovators who gave us the telephone. When the telephone came out in 1876, new possibilities previously undreamed of became reality. Before the invention of the telephone, one would mainly communicate through the mail and the telegraph. Letters would take some time to reach the recipient. However, the telephone was instant. The telephone soon gained widespread use, eventually replacing the role of the letter. The telephone was an important innovation because it allowed for quick communications throughout the world. With the telephone, one could talk with their relative or friend even if they were far away. If an accident or death occurred, others at far away distances could be quickly notified and appraised of the situation. In the past this would not have been possible since travel was slow and arduous.

Model T Ford, Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Model T Ford, Photo Credit: Wikipedia

With the development of the Model T Ford (1908) one could enjoy greater travel. People would be able to take vacations and visit new and different places. With the automobile, one could go places where even the railroads did not have access. Automobiles opened up the world to tourism and travel. After the initial cost of the automobile, travel by automobile was more convenient and cheaper. It also allowed workers to live outside the city and commute to work. The families could then live in the suburbs. With automobiles coming on the scene, people could more easily leave their home and move to other places. Although one could come back to visit family and friends, the ability to move to more distant places drastically changed society by separating the family who for generations had lived together. This separation eventually caused a loss of knowledge that was traditionally passed down from the elder to the younger generation.

There were also many other innovations during the Second Industrial Revolution, such as the transcontinental railroad, the airplane, the phonograph, and innovations in steel production and electric power. Both the telephone and the Model T Ford brought dramatic changes to people’s lives.

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