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. It was ultimately eclipsed by the Atomic Age beginning in 1945.
Artifacts of the Machine Age include:
- 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
- Streamline designs in automobiles and trains, influenced by aircraft design
- 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
- 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 testing for adverse health effects.
- 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.
Arts and architecture
The Machine Age is considered to have influenced: