Meaning of TECHNOLOGY, HISTORY OF in English

the development over time of systematic techniques for making and doing things. The term technology, a combination of the Greek techne, art, craft, with logos, word, speech, meant in Greece a discourse on the arts, both fine and applied. When it first appeared in English in the 17th century, it was used to mean a discussion of the applied arts only, and gradually these arts themselves came to be the object of the designation. By the early 20th century, the term embraced a growing range of means, processes, and ideas in addition to tools and machines. By mid-century, technology was defined by such phrases as the means or activity by which man seeks to change or manipulate his environment. Even such broad definitions have been criticized by observers who point out the increasing difficulty of distinguishing between scientific inquiry and technological activity. A highly compressed account of the history of technology such as this one must adopt a rigorous methodological pattern if it is to do justice to the subject without grossly distorting it one way or another. The plan followed in the present article is primarily chronological, tracing the development of technology through phases that succeed each other in time. Obviously, the division between phases is to a large extent arbitrary. One factor in the weighting has been the enormous acceleration of Western technological development in recent centuries; Eastern technology is considered in this article in the main only as it relates to the development of modern technology. Within each chronological phase a standard method has been adopted for surveying the technological experience and innovations. This begins with a brief review of the general social conditions of the period under discussion, and then goes on to consider the dominant materials and sources of power of the period, and their application to food production, manufacturing industry, building construction, transport and communications, military technology, and medical technology. In a final section the sociocultural consequences of technological change in the period are examined. This framework is modified according to the particular requirements of every period discussions of new materials, for instance, occupy a substantial place in the accounts of earlier phases when new metals were being introduced but are comparatively unimportant in descriptions of some of the later phasesbut the general pattern is retained throughout. One key factor that does not fit easily into this pattern is that of the development of tools. It has seemed most convenient to relate these to the study of materials, rather than to any particular application, but it has not been possible to be completely consistent in this treatment. For further discussion of specific areas of technological development, see such articles as electronics; exploration; information processing. Additional reading The best general work is still Charles Singer et al. (eds.), A History of Technology, 5 vol. (195458, reprinted 195765), extended by Trevor I. Williams (ed.), with 2 vol. (1978) on the 20th century. The single-volume companion studies, T.K. Derry and Trevor I. Williams, A Short History of Technology from the Earliest Times to A.D. 1900 (1960, reissued 1970), and Trevor I. Williams, A Short History of Twentieth-Century Technology c. 1900c. 1950 (1982), are valuable summaries. The French equivalent to these studies is Maurice Daumas (ed.), Histoire gnral des techniques, 5 vol. (196279); the first 3 vol. have been translated as A History of Technology and Invention: Progress Through the Ages (196979). The American counterpart to the British and French works, commendably stronger than both on the social relations of technology, is Melvin Kranzberg and Carroll W. Pursell, Jr. (eds.), Technology in Western Civilization, 2 vol. (1967). All these general works concentrate on Western technology; for a different and important perspective, see Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China (1954 ); 6 vol. in 13 parts have appeared to 1985. Good specialized works include Gordon Childe, What Happened in History, rev. ed. (1954, reissued 1982), a classic study of man's mastery of the environment before the first civilizations; Henry Hodges, Technology in the Ancient World (1970, reprinted 1977); Lynn White, Jr., Medieval Technology and Social Change (1962, reissued 1980); Abbott Payson Usher, A History of Mechanical Inventions, rev. ed. (1954, reprinted 1962); and John Jewkes, David Sawers, and Richard Stillerman, The Sources of Invention, 2nd ed. (1969). Friedrich Klemm, A History of Western Technology (1959, reissued 1964; originally published in German, 1954), is a good selection of documents. The economic and social implications of technological development are explored in W.H.G. Armytage, A Social History of Engineering, 4th ed. (1976); David S. Landes, The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present (1969); and S. Lilley, Men, Machines and History: A Short History of Tools and Machines in Relation to Social Progress, rev. ed. (1965). Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization (1934, reissued 1963), remains a seminal essay. R.J. Forbes, Man, the Maker: A History of Technology and Engineering (1950, reissued 1958), is a good outline of the history of technology; as is D.S.L. Cardwell, Technology, Science and History: A Short Study of the Major Developments in the History of Western Mechanical Technology and Their Relationships with Science and Other Forms of Knowledge (1972); R.A. Buchanan, Technology and Social Progress (1965), may be found useful as an introductory text. Other relevant monographs include: Charles Susskind, Understanding Technology (1973, reprinted 1975); A. Pacey, The Maze of Ingenuity: Ideas and Idealism in the Development of Technology (1974, reissued 1976); Bertrand Gille, The Renaissance Engineers (1967; originally published in French, 1964); Jean Gimpel, The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages (1976, reissued 1979; originally published in French, 1975); Brooke Hindle, Emulation and Invention (1981, reissued 1983); and Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), The Economics of Technological Change: Selected Readings (1971). Eugene S. Ferguson, Bibliography of the History of Technology (1968), is a comprehensive and thorough study. For more tentative appreciations of modern technology, see Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (1964, reissued 1973; originally published in French, 1954); and Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future (1962, reissued 1985). The principal sources of periodical literature are: Technology and Culture (quarterly), the journal of the Society for the History of Technology, containing excellent annual bibliographical reviews; and Newcomen Society For The Study Of The History Of Engineering And Technology, Transactions (annual). Robert Angus Buchanan From the Middle Ages to 1750 Medieval advance (AD 5001500) The millennium between the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and the beginning of the colonial expansion of western Europe in the late 15th century has been known traditionally as the Middle Ages, and the first half of this period consists of the five centuries of the Dark Ages. We now know that the period was not as socially stagnant as this title suggests. In the first place, many of the institutions of the later empire survived the collapse and profoundly influenced the formation of the new civilization that developed in western Europe. The Christian Church was the outstanding institution of this type, but Roman conceptions of law and administration also continued to exert an influence long after the departure of the legions from the western provinces. Second, and more important, the Teutonic tribes who moved into a large part of western Europe did not come empty-handed, and in some respects their technology was superior to that of the Romans. It has already been observed that they were people of the Iron Age, and although much about the origins of the heavy plow remains obscure these tribes appear to have been the first people with sufficiently strong iron plowshares to undertake the systematic settlement of the forested lowlands of northern and western Europe, the heavy soils of which had frustrated the agricultural techniques of their predecessors. The invaders came thus as colonizers. They may have been regarded as barbarians by the Romanized inhabitants of western Europe who naturally resented their intrusion, and the effect of their invasion was certainly to disrupt trade, industry, and town life. But the newcomers also provided an element of innovation and vitality. About AD 1000 the conditions of comparative political stability necessary for the reestablishment of a vigorous commercial and urban life had been secured by the success of the kingdoms of the region in either absorbing or keeping out the last of the invaders from the East, and thereafter for 500 years the new civilization grew in strength and began to experiment in all aspects of human endeavour. Much of this process involved recovering the knowledge and achievements of the ancient world. The history of medieval technology is thus largely the story of the preservation, recovery, and modification of earlier achievements. But by the end of the period Western civilization had begun to produce some remarkable technological innovations that were to be of the utmost significance. Innovation The word innovation raises a problem of great importance in the history of technology. Strictly, an innovation is something entirely new, but there is no such thing as an unprecedented technological innovation because it is impossible for an inventor to work in a vacuum and, however ingenious his invention, it must arise out of his own previous experience. The task of distinguishing an element of novelty in an invention remains a problem of patent law down to the present day, but the problem is made relatively easy by the possession of full documentary records covering previous inventions in many countries. For the millennium of the Middle Ages, however, few such records exist, and it is frequently difficult to explain how particular innovations were introduced to western Europe. The problem is especially perplexing because it is known that many inventions of the period had been developed independently and previously in other civilizations, and it is sometimes difficult if not impossible to know whether something is spontaneous innovation or an invention that had been transmitted by some as yet undiscovered route from those who had originated it in other societies. The problem is important because it generates a conflict of interpretations about the transmission of technology. On the one hand there is the theory of the diffusionists, according to which all innovation has moved westward from the long-established civilizations of the ancient world, with Egypt and Mesopotamia as the two favourite candidates for the ultimate source of the process. On the other hand is the theory of spontaneous innovation, according to which the primary determinant of technological innovation is social need. Scholarship is as yet unable to solve the problem so far as technological advances of the Middle Ages are concerned because much information is missing. But it does seem likely that at least some of the key inventions of the periodthe windmill and gunpowder are good exampleswere developed spontaneously. It is quite certain, however, that others, such as silk working, were transmitted to the West, and, however original the contribution of Western civilization to technological innovation, there can be no doubt at all that in its early centuries at least it looked to the East for ideas and inspiration. Perceptions of technology Science and technology Among the insights that arise from this review of the history of technology is the light it throws on the distinction between science and technology. The history of technology is longer than and distinct from the history of science. Technology is the systematic study of techniques for making and doing things; science is the systematic attempt to understand and interpret the world. While technology is concerned with the fabrication and use of artifacts, science is devoted to the more conceptual enterprise of understanding the environment, and it depends upon the comparatively sophisticated skills of literacy and numeracy. Such skills became available only with the emergence of the great world civilizations, so that it is possible to say that science began with those civilizations, some 3,000 years BC, whereas technology, as we have seen, is as old as manlike life. Science and technology developed as different and separate activities, the former being for several millennia a field of fairly abstruse speculation practiced by a class of aristocratic philosophers, while the latter remained a matter of essentially practical concern to craftsmen of many types. There were points of intersection, such as the use of mathematical concepts in building and irrigation work, but for the most part the functions of scientist and technologist (to use these modern terms retrospectively) remained distinct in the ancient cultures. The situation began to change during the medieval period of development in the West (AD 5001500), when both technical innovation and scientific understanding interacted with the stimuli of commercial expansion and a flourishing urban culture. The robust growth of technology in these centuries could not fail to attract the interest of educated men. Early in the 17th century, the natural philosopher Francis Bacon had recognized three great technological innovationsthe magnetic compass, the printing press, and gunpowderas the distinguishing achievements of modern man, and he had advocated experimental science as a means of enlarging man's dominion over nature. By emphasizing a practical role for science in this way, Bacon implied a harmonization of science and technology, and he made his intention explicit by urging scientists to study the methods of craftsmen and craftsmen to learn more science. Bacon, with Descartes and other contemporaries, for the first time saw man becoming the master of nature, and a convergence between the traditional pursuits of science and technology was to be the way by which such mastery could be achieved. Yet the wedding of science and technology proposed by Bacon was not soon consummated. Over the next 200 years, carpenters and mechanicspractical men of long standingbuilt iron bridges, steam engines, and textile machinery without much reference to scientific principles, while scientistsstill amateurspursued their investigations in a haphazard manner. But the body of men, inspired by Baconian principles, who formed the Royal Society in London in 1660 represented a determined effort to direct scientific research toward useful ends, first by improving navigation and cartography, and ultimately by stimulating industrial innovation and the search for mineral resources. Similar bodies of scholars developed in other European countries, and by the 19th century scientists were moving toward a professionalism in which many of the goals were clearly the same as those of the technologists. Thus Justus von Liebig of Germany, one of the fathers of organic chemistry and the first proponent of mineral fertilizer, provided the scientific impulse that led to the development of synthetic dyes, high explosives, artificial fibres, and plastics; and Michael Faraday, the brilliant British experimental scientist in the field of electromagnetism, prepared the ground that was exploited by Thomas A. Edison and many others. The role of Edison is particularly significant in the deepening relationship between science and technology, because the prodigious trial-and-error process by which he selected the carbon filament for his electric light bulb in 1879 resulted in the creation at Menlo Park, N.J., of what may be regarded as the world's first genuine industrial research laboratory. From this achievement the application of scientific principles to technology grew rapidly. It led easily to the engineering rationalism applied by Frederick W. Taylor to the organization of workers in mass production, and to the time-and-motion studies of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth at the beginning of the 20th century. It provided a model that was applied rigorously by Henry Ford in his automobile assembly plant and that was followed by every modern mass-production process. It pointed the way to the development of systems engineering, operations research, simulation studies, mathematical modeling, and technological assessment in industrial processes. This was not just a one-way influence of science on technology, because technology created new tools and machines with which the scientists were able to achieve an ever-increasing insight into the natural world. Taken together, these developments brought technology to its modern highly efficient level of performance. Criticisms of technology Judged entirely on its own traditional grounds of evaluationthat is, in terms of efficiencythe achievement of modern technology has been admirable. Voices from other fields, however, began to raise disturbing questions, grounded in other modes of evaluation, as technology became a dominant influence in society. In the mid-19th century, the non-technologists were almost unanimously enchanted by the wonders of the new man-made environment growing up around them. London's Great Exhibition of 1851, with its arrays of machinery housed in the truly innovative Crystal Palace, seemed to be the culmination of Francis Bacon's prophetic forecast of man's increasing dominion over nature. The new technology seemed to fit the prevailing laissez-faire economics precisely and to guarantee the rapid realization of the Utilitarian philosophers' ideal of the greatest good for the greatest number. Even Marx and Engels, espousing a radically different political orientation, welcomed technological progress because in their eyes it produced an imperative need for socialist ownership and control of industry. Similarly, early exponents of science fiction such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells explored with zest the future possibilities opened up to the optimistic imagination by modern technology, and the American utopian Edward Bellamy, in his novel Looking Backward (1888), envisioned a planned society in the year 2000 in which technology would play a conspicuously beneficial role. Even such late-Victorian literary figures as Lord Tennyson and Rudyard Kipling acknowledged the fascination of technology in some of their images and rhythms. Yet even in the midst of this Victorian optimism, a few voices of dissent were heard, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson's ominous warning that Things are in the saddle and ride mankind. For the first time it began to seem as if thingsthe artifacts made by man in his campaign of conquest over naturemight get out of control and come to dominate him. Samuel Butler, in his satirical novel Erewhon (1872), drew the radical conclusion that all machines should be consigned to the scrap heap; and others such as William Morris, with his vision of a reversion to a craft society without modern technology, and Henry James, with his disturbing sensations of being overwhelmed in the presence of modern machinery, began to develop a profound moral critique of the apparent achievements of technologically dominated progress. Even H.G. Wells, despite all the ingenious and prophetic technological gadgetry of his earlier novels, lived to become disillusioned about the progressive character of Western civilization: his last book was entitled Mind at the End of Its Tether (1945). Another novelist, Aldous Huxley, expressed disenchantment with technology in a forceful manner in Brave New World (1932). Huxley pictured a society of the near future in which technology was firmly enthroned, keeping human beings in bodily comfort without knowledge of want or pain, but also without freedom, beauty, or creativity, and robbed at every turn of a unique personal existence. An echo of the same view found poignant artistic expression in the film Modern Times (1936), in which Charlie Chaplin depicted the depersonalizing effect of the mass-production assembly line. Such images were given special potency by the international political and economic conditions of the 1930s, when the Western world was plunged in the Great Depression and seemed to have forfeited the chance to remold the world order shattered by World War I. In these conditions, technology suffered by association with the tarnished idea of inevitable progress. Paradoxically, the escape from a decade of economic depression and the successful defense of Western democracy in World War II did not bring a return of confident notions about progress and faith in technology. The horrific potentialities of nuclear war were revealed in 1945, and the division of the world into hostile power blocs prevented any such euphoria and served to stimulate criticisms of technological aspirations even more searching than those that have already been mentioned. J. Robert Oppenheimer, who directed the design and assembly of the atomic bombs at Los Alamos, N.M., later opposed the decision to build the thermonuclear (fusion) bomb and described the accelerating pace of technological change with foreboding: One thing that is new is the prevalence of newness, the changing scale and scope of change itself, so that the world alters as we walk in it, so that the years of man's life measure not some small growth or rearrangement or moderation of what he learned in childhood, but a great upheaval. The theme of technological tyranny over man's individuality and his traditional patterns of life was expressed by Jacques Ellul, of the University of Bordeaux, in his book The Technological Society (1964, first published as La Technique in 1954). Ellul asserted that technology had become so pervasive that man now lived in a milieu of technology rather than of nature. He characterized this new milieu as artificial, autonomous, self-determining, nihilistic (that is, not directed to ends, though proceeding by cause and effect), and, in fact, with means enjoying primacy over ends. Technology, Ellul held, had become so powerful and ubiquitous that other social phenomena such as politics and economics had become situated in it rather than influenced by it. The individual, in short, had come to be adapted to the technical milieu rather than the other way round. While views such as those of Ellul have enjoyed a considerable vogue since World War II, and have spawned a remarkable subculture of hippies and others who have sought, in a variety of ways, to reject participation in technological society, it is appropriate to make two observations on them. The first is that these views are, in a sense, a luxury enjoyed only by advanced societies, which have benefited from modern technology. Few voices critical of technology can be heard in developing countries that are hungry for the advantages of greater productivity and the rising standards of living that have been seen to accrue to technological progress in the more fortunate developed countries. Indeed, the antitechnological movement is greeted with complete incomprehension in these parts of the world, so that it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that only when the whole world enjoys the benefits of technology can we expect the more subtle dangers of technology to be appreciated, and by then, of course, it may be too late to do anything about them. The second observation about the spate of technological pessimism in the advanced countries is that it has not managed to slow the pace of technological advance, which seems, if anything, to have accelerated in the 20th century. The gap between the first powered flight and the first human steps on the Moon was only 66 years, and that between the disclosure of the fission of uranium and the detonation of the first atomic bomb was a mere six and a half years. The advance of the information revolution based on the electronic computer has been exceedingly swift, so that despite the denials of the possibility by elderly and distinguished experts, the sombre spectre of sophisticated computers replicating higher human mental functions and even human individuality should not be relegated too hurriedly to the classification of science fantasy. The biotechnic stage of technological innovation is still in its infancy, and if the recent rate of development is extrapolated forward many seemingly impossible targets could be achieved in the next century. Not that this will be any consolation to the pessimists, as it only indicates the ineffectiveness to date of attempts to slow down technological progress. Technology in the ancient world The beginningsStone Age technology (to c. 3000 BC) The identification of the history of technology with the history of manlike species does not help in fixing a precise point for its origin, because the estimates of prehistorians and anthropologists concerning the emergence of human species vary so widely. Animals occasionally use natural tools such as sticks or stones, and the creature that became man doubtless did the same for hundreds of millennia before the first giant step of fashioning his own tools. Even then it was an interminable time before he put such toolmaking on a regular basis, and still more aeons passed as he arrived at the successive stages of standardizing his simple stone choppers and pounders and of manufacturing themthat is, providing sites and assigning specialists to the work. A degree of specialization in toolmaking was achieved by the time of Neanderthal man (70,000 BC); more advanced tools, requiring assemblage of head and haft, were produced by Cro-Magnon Homo sapiens (perhaps as early as 35,000 BC), while the application of mechanical principles was achieved by pottery-making Neolithic man (6000 BC) and by Metal Age man (about 3000 BC). Earliest communities For all except approximately the last 10,000 years, man has lived almost entirely in small nomadic communities, dependent for survival on his skill in gathering food by hunting and fishing and in avoiding predators. It is reasonable to suppose that most of these communities developed in tropical latitudes, especially in Africa, where climatic conditions are most favourable to a creature with such poor bodily protection as man. It is also reasonable to suppose that tribes of men moved out thence into the subtropical regions and eventually into the landmass of Eurasia, although their colonization of this region must have been severely limited by the successive periods of glaciation, which rendered large parts of it inhospitable and even uninhabitable, even though man has shown remarkable versatility in adapting to such unfavourable conditions. The 20th century Technology from 1900 to 1945 Recent history is notoriously difficult to write, because of the mass of material and the problem of distinguishing the significant from the insignificant among events that have virtually the power of contemporary experience. In respect to the recent history of technology, however, one fact stands out clearly: despite the immense achievements of technology by 1900, the following decades witnessed more advance over a wide range of activities than the whole of previously recorded history. The airplane, the rocket and interplanetary probes, electronics, atomic power, antibiotics, insecticides, and a host of new materials have all been invented and developed to create an unparalleled social situation, full of possibilities and dangers, which would have been virtually unimaginable before the present century. In venturing to interpret the events of the 20th century it will be convenient to separate the years before 1945 from those that followed. The years 1900 to 1945 were dominated by the two world wars, while those since 1945 have been preoccupied by the need to avoid another major war. The dividing point is one of outstanding social and technological significance: the detonation of the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, N.M., in July 1945. There have been profound political changes in the 20th century related to technological capacity and leadership. It may be an exaggeration to regard the 20th century as the American century, but the rise of the United States as a superstate has been sufficiently rapid and dramatic to excuse the hyperbole. It has been a rise based upon tremendous natural resources exploited to secure increased productivity through widespread industrialization, and the success of the United States in achieving this objective has been tested and demonstrated in the two world wars. Technological leadership passed from Britain and the European nations to the United States in the course of these wars. This is not to say that the springs of innovation went dry in Europe: many important inventions of the 20th century originated there. But it has been the United States that has had the capacity to assimilate innovations and to take full advantage from them at times when other nations have been deficient in one or other of the vital social resources without which a brilliant invention cannot be converted into a commercial success. As with Britain in the Industrial Revolution, the technological vitality of the United States in the 20th century has been demonstrated less by any particular innovations than by its ability to adopt new ideas from whatever source they come. The two world wars were themselves the most important instruments of technological as well as political change in the 20th century. The rapid evolution of the airplane is a striking illustration of this process, while the appearance of the tank in the first conflict and of the atomic bomb in the second show the same signs of response to an urgent military stimulus. It has been said that World War I was a chemists' war, on the basis of the immense importance of high explosives and poison gas. In other respects the two wars hastened the development of technology by extending the institutional apparatus for the encouragement of innovation by both the state and private industry. This process went further in some countries than in others, but no major belligerent nation could resist entirely the need to support and coordinate its scientific-technological effort. The wars were thus responsible for speeding the transformation from little science, with research still largely restricted to small-scale efforts by a few isolated scientists, to big science, with the emphasis on large research teams sponsored by governments and corporations, working collectively on the development and application of new techniques. While the extent of this transformation must not be overstated, and recent research has tended to stress the continuing need for the independent inventor at least in the stimulation of innovation, there can be little doubt that the change in the scale of technological enterprises has had far-reaching consequences. It has been one of the most momentous transformations of the 20th century, for it has altered the quality of industrial and social organization. In the process it has assured technology, for the first time in its long history, a position of importance and even honour in social esteem. Fuel and power There were no fundamental innovations in fuel and power before the breakthrough of 1945, but there were several significant developments in techniques that had originated in the previous century. An outstanding development of this type was the internal-combustion engine, which was continuously improved to meet the needs of road vehicles and airplanes. The high-compression engine burning heavy-oil fuels, invented by Rudolf Diesel in the 1890s, was developed to serve as a submarine power unit in World War I and was subsequently adapted to heavy road haulage duties and to agricultural tractors. Moreover, the sort of development that had transformed the reciprocating steam engine into the steam turbine occurred with the internal-combustion engine, the gas turbine replacing the reciprocating engine for specialized purposes such as aero-engines, in which a high power-to-weight ratio is important. Admittedly, this adaptation had not proceeded very far by 1945, although the first jet-powered aircraft were in service by the end of the war. The theory of the gas turbine, however, had been understood since the 1920s at least, and in 1929 Sir Frank Whittle, then taking a flying instructor's course with the Royal Air Force, combined it with the principle of jet propulsion in the engine for which he took out a patent in the following year. But the construction of a satisfactory gas-turbine engine was delayed for a decade by the lack of resources, and particularly by the need to develop new metal alloys that could withstand the high temperatures generated in the engine. This problem was solved by the development of a nickelchromium alloy, and with the gradual solution of the other problems work went on in both Germany and Britain to seize a military advantage by applying the jet engine to combat aircraft. The Industrial Revolution (17501900) The term Industrial Revolution, like similar historical concepts, is more convenient than precise. It is convenient because history requires division into periods for purposes of understanding and instruction and because there were sufficient innovations at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries to justify the choice of this as one of the periods. The term is imprecise, however, because the Industrial Revolution has no clearly defined beginning or end. Moreover, it is misleading if it carries the implication of a once-for-all change from a preindustrial to a postindustrial society, because, as has been seen, the events of the traditional Industrial Revolution had been well prepared in a mounting tempo of industrial, commercial, and technological activity from about AD 1000 and led into a continuing acceleration of the processes of industrialization that is still proceeding in our own time. The term Industrial Revolution must thus be employed with some care. It is used below to describe an extraordinary quickening in the rate of growth and change, and more particularly, to describe the first 150 years of this period of time, as it will be convenient to pursue the developments of the 20th century separately. The Industrial Revolution, in this sense, has been a worldwide phenomenon, at least in so far as it has occurred in all those parts of the world, of which there are very few exceptions, where the influence of Western civilization has been felt. Beyond any doubt it occurred first in Britain, and its effects spread only gradually to continental Europe and North America. Equally clearly, the Industrial Revolution that eventually transformed these parts of the Western world surpassed in magnitude the achievements of Britain, and the process was carried further to change radically the socioeconomic life of the Far East, Africa, Latin America, and Australasia. The reasons for this succession of events are complex, but they were implicit in the earlier account of the buildup toward rapid industrialization. Partly through good fortune and partly through conscious effort, Britain by the early 18th century came to possess the combination of social needs and social resources that provided the necessary preconditions of commercially successful innovation and a social system capable of sustaining and institutionalizing the processes of rapid technological change once they had started. This section will therefore be concerned, in the first place, with events in Britain, although in discussing later phases of the period it will be necessary to trace the way in which British technical achievements were diffused and superseded in other parts of the Western world. Power technology An outstanding feature of the Industrial Revolution has been the advance in power technology. At the beginning of this period, the major sources of power available to industry and any other potential consumer were animate energy and the power of wind and water, the only exception of any significance being the atmospheric steam engines that had been installed for pumping purposes, mainly in coal mines. It is to be emphasized that this use of steam power was exceptional and remained so for most industrial purposes until well into the 19th century. Steam did not simply replace other sources of power: it transformed them. The same sort of scientific inquiry that led to the development of the steam engine was also applied to the traditional sources of inanimate energy, with the result that both waterwheels and windmills were improved in design and efficiency. Numerous engineers contributed to the refinement of waterwheel construction, and by the middle of the 19th century new designs made possible increases in the speed of revolution of the waterwheel and thus prepared the way for the emergence of the water turbine, which is still an extremely efficient device for converting energy.

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