Second Industrial Revolution Thesis

After all the only difference is that the US is a little further away.” The first attempt was made in 1857. Many of them were traditional engineering problems, e.g.

the paying-out apparatus that released the cable had to be flexible enough so that the extra stress resulting from the movement of the ship did not break the cable.

It was difficult to see where that distorted pulse started and where it ended.

The unfortunate fact was that the pulse that arrived was much longer than the pulse sent. If the rate of transmission was below six words per minute, the Atlantic cable was no longer an economic proposition.

On the cultural and religious front an obscure Russian monk in the sixteenth century numbered their centres as “the first Rome was Rome, the Second Rome was Constantinople, the third Rome is Moscow, and there will not be a fourth Rome.” I would not like to guess whether there will be a Fourth Rome (Beijing? ) but otherwise I regard number five as quite popular.

I have come across the Fifth Column, the Fifth Republic, the Fifth Avenue and the Fifth Amendment.Many people define the Second Industrial Revolution by the development of new industries, oil, steel and electricity being the more important ones. Why to attach a higher number when essentially the same trend continues.The rate of technological advance might have accelerated but nonetheless they were just further developments of the same kind. To my mind the Second Industrial Revolution started with the submarine cable between England and the US, and I claim that we are still in the midst of that revolution.A brief summary is as follows: The productivity of the textile industry leapt forward by the invention of the power loom and the spinning mule, output of coalmining rapidly increased, transport was revolutionised by the railways, power to run machinery was provided by the steam engine.In one sentence: much of muscle power was replaced by machine power.The electrical problems were entirely new and their seriousness was hardly appreciated at the beginning.It turned out that the current at the receiving end differed drastically from the current at the transmitting end. A nice, well defined pulse at the transmitting end turned into an ill-defined long-drawn-out current at the receiving end.To support this thesis I shall have to immerse myself in the history of that cable.The first telegraph line in England was opened in 1839.Needless to say there is no longer any consensus when these revolutions started, when they ended and why the changes were so revolutionary that a new number had to be attached.I want to talk in any detail only about the Second Industrial Revolution, but perhaps I should mention the First one first, not its effect on society, a controversial subject, but just the technological innovations about which a consensus does exist.


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