Transportation and Communication
Advancements For the Better Good
The advancements in transportation led to both people and goods traveling quicker, cheaper and more efficiently. Entrepreneurs built private roads called turnpikes which travelers were charged a toll or fee to use. Canals were also dug to connect rivers together and to join inland towns with coastal ports. The benefits of canals were that they were a more efficient and inexpensive way to transport goods. The Bridgewater canal opened in 1763, making a profit from tolls while cutting the price of coal in half. This canal brought a canal-building frenzy. Entrepreneurs made companies to construct them for profit, but some went bankrupt from lack of traffic to support them. Canals, however, lost their importance with the invention of the steam-powered locomotive. Steam locomotives became the preferred form of transportation in the 1830's. They were created to pull carriages along iron rails, or railroads, which did not have to follow a river's course so goods could be shipped cheaper and easier over land. Rail lines connected inland cities and seaports, mining regions and industrial centers. During this time, steamships also replaced sailing ships. Instead of traveling by ocean from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a transcontinental railroad provided service to do so over land. The automobile age took effect when German engineer, Nikolaus Otto, invented a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. Karl Benz received a patent for the first complete three-wheel automobile in 1886, and Gottlieb Daimler brought about the four-wheeled automobile a year later. The United States became a leader in the automobile industry when American Henry Ford began using assembly lines to produce cars in mass quantity in the early 1900's. Meanwhile, American bicycle makers Orville and Wilbur Wright (aka The Wright Brothers) created and took flight in the first airplane, which unfortunately didn't hold out more than a few seconds, but it did inspire the new air age.
When rapid communication began in the mid 1800's, it effectively established the possibility of long-distance communication. The communication era began with the invention of the telegraph by Samuel F. B. Morse. In 1844, the first telegraph line was set in service between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, and by the 1860's, and undersea cable was lain across the Atlantic Ocean, connecting Europe and North America. This trans-Atlantic cable was an astonishing accomplishment for its time, but an even quicker form of communication would soon take its place. The telephone was patented in 1876 by inventor Alexander Graham Bell. The radio was soon after created by the Italian pioneer Guglielmo Marconi in the 1890's, and in 1901 received a Morse code radio message from Britain to Canada. The radio became a cornerstone of today's communication network. Without these early communication inventions, we would not have today's modern communication technology.
With the benefits of improved transportation and communication, everyone around the world can connect a lot easier. For example, instead of sending a letter by ship from the U.S. all the way to Europe, people were able to send telegraphs via the underground cables that connected the continents. Also, if someone desired to talk with a close friend or family member who lived quite a ways away, instead of traveling all the way to see them, they could just as easily have a nice conversation with them on the telephone. If it was absolutely necessary to visit in person, the new advancements in transportation could help with that. Before automobiles and airplanes, people usually traveled by foot or carriage to reach their destination. The automobile is the new and improved version of a horse-drawn carriage; the airplane the newly possible vision of flying with the birds. Though it took a while to perfect these new technologies, it was much benefited for the people's more orderly and efficient way of connecting with the rest of the world.
Transportation and Communication: Advancements for the Better Good
As you can see, the present world has greatly benefited from inventions like the automobile and telegraph, and with our modern technology has perfected it. Or at least, has come close to perfecting it. Perhaps people still look to the future of hovercrafts and light-travel, but without the earliest inventions, it would have only been one of imagination's most insane creations. With new technology, however, it's seeming more possible with each passing day all thanks to brilliant minds like Nikolaus Otto, Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, Henry Ford, The Wright Brothers, Samuel F. B. Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, and Guglielmo Marconi. As our modern genius minds continue searching for more advances in transportation and communication, current society owes appreciation for the inventions that started it all.