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Disappearing Technology of the Twentieth Century - Essay Example

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Title Page Decline of Steam Locomotive Technology Introduction Steam engine technology has been a predominant technology of the twentieth century. The power of steam has been used in several industries like the mining industry, power industry, textile industry, and most importantly, railroad industry…
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Disappearing Technology of the Twentieth Century
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Disappearing Technology of the Twentieth Century

Download file to see previous pages... Steam locomotive being the most influential example of steam engine technology, its disappearance from the modern railroad deserves to be reflected on. According to Lindqvist, the general perception about history of technology holds that “the initial stages of growth and development of new technologies are far more interesting than the boring routine maintenance and depressing dismantling of older technological systems.”1 However, research on older technological systems helps us not only to analyse the dynamics of industrial demands but also to understand the contemporary political and social values. Moreover, economic analysis of the decline of a technological system may have extremely useful implications for the future technologies. This paper is divided into four major parts: Introduction, Literature Review, Analysis and Conclusion. Reputable scholarly resources and contemporary literature of twentieth century have been used for research and reflection on the topic. Cases of USA and UK have been discussed with special emphasis. Research Question: Give an account of a disappearing technology of the twentieth century. Why has its use decreased? Literature Review The steam engines have been part of a gigantic technological system which dominated the world almost throughout the twentieth century. ...
acilitated political organisation, industrial production and transportation, Theoretical Perspective: Innovation can be regarded as the driving force of technological development which is designed to meet the socio-economic demands of the populace. So, too much emphasis on the developmental phase of a technological system may appear to be natural; but this is not a wise option always.2 “We know, for example, more about the first automobiles and the infancy of the automobile industry than we know about the dominating transportation technologies at the same period.”3 But the importance of an older technological system lies in the fact that it may not be necessarily abandoned at the introduction of a new system. Although cases of exponential decline of a technology are known, older and modern technologies do exist in our world side by side. Illustrating the American charcoal industry, Schallenberg has put forward that evolution, adaptation and survival are the key phases in the life cycle of a technology which may eventually culminate at a slow or exponential decline.4 In the case of steam engine technology, the pace of phasing out the steam locomotives has been fast in some countries (e.g., Britain, USA, etc.) and slow in some other countries (e.g. India, China, etc.). The extent of once powerful steam engine technology has been truly international and impressive. Evolution of Steam Locomotives: Steam locomotive capable of passenger conveyance was invented by the British engineer George Stephenson in 1825. Hence UK can be regarded as the first country in the world that developed its steam powered railway system. In USA, steam locomotive was first operated in the year 1829. Subsequently, locomotive manufacturing industry started off in the country. In the 1830s and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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