The Soar of Technology before WW1

Two of my stories took place during the Victorian/Edwardian era (1865–1914). It was a time of political unrest in Europe with anarchists stirring the pot with assassinations. Some countries’ leaders wanted war to expand their powers. Reading about that era in Barbara Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower” made me think that if war had broken out before 1890 it might have been much less gruesome than the First World War turned out to be. As it happened, however, a peace movement grew in strength because people were excited, content and complacent. Technology was making life better. The new amenities were exciting. New inventions made everyday life easier and more comfortable; and new discoveries made living safer and therefore less stressful. The new inventions that made life easier included washing machines that eliminated hours of rub and scrub washboard blues. Telegraphs and telephones provided easier communications for business and also provided medical, social, and safety support. Typewriters were a boon to business and raised employment numbers. Phonographs brought recorded music into the home to soothe and entertain. Running water and sanitation curtailed diseases. Lighted streets brought safety. Lawn mowers were invented promoting relaxing lawn games. The combustion engine replaced the steam engine and boosted the oil industry. Developments in antiseptics and medical breakthroughs saved countless lives. And the horseless carriage made amazing changes to transport. In fact, invention rates were at the highest point in history during the 1890’s. As a result, the population in Europe increased by one hundred million, while in the United States the population doubled. Joseph Lister, Louis Pasteur, Wilhelm Roentgen, William Jenner, Ernest Rutherford, and Marie Curie were some of the medical heroes of this period. Children of our present time have to know these remarkable people. The stories I have written about these heroes could easily enrich the teaching of social studies in the classrooms of the middle grades. How could I not write about these extraordinary people and their amazing fortitude in pursuing goals that saved so many lives? Meg  

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