Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10 ‘modern’ Victorian things

It’s amazing that what we take for granted now was new and fascinating slightly more than 100 years ago. I admit, some might be a stretch, but you can see the connections! The very first link at the bottom is a short blurb about Christmas in Victorian times, and highlights a lot of new inventions we take for granted today.

CD – yeah, you thought it was invented in the 1980s, didn't you. Technically, yes, but the phonograph was invented in 1877, and the gramophone record in the 1887. It took nearly 100 years for the jump, but jump it did.

Tires – yeah, the ones we still use on our own cars. Charles Goodyear (recognize the name?) announced vulcanization in 1844; rubber ones were invented by Robert Thomson in 1845; in 1888 John Boyd Dunlop patented the pneumonic tire (the kind we use today).

Which brings us to Cars…they were invented in 1885 – technically. But in 1850 gasoline was developed, there were already those rubber tires, in 1859 oil was discovered in the US, and in 1892 Rudolph Diesel discovered, well, diesel.

Cell phones – now follow me here. We all know about phones; they were invented in 1876, then came the wireless radio in 1895. Sure, I could’ve just put phones, but this was much more interesting!

Still, since you insist on connecting it all to a computer, what about Charles Babbage’s Calculating Machine? Sure, he didn’t invent the first computer, but he tried hard enough to do so. And sure, his Difference Engine really only made sense to about 5 people in the world, but it is the foundation of our modern day computer.

Christmas Cards - designed by John Calcott Horsely in 1843.

Vacuum Cleaner – 1901 by Hubert Booth who began the British Vacuum Company.

Escalators – yup, those very same moving stairs we take to the upper level of the department store or the 2nd floor of the airport. Jesse Renno and Charles Seeberger made it all possible in 1899.

Paper Clip – so small, so innocuous, so hard to find one when you need one! Samuel B. Fey made them in 1867; however advertising didn’t really begin until 1899.

Machine gun – Contrary to Hollywood culture, it didn’t suddenly pop up in the 1920s on a gangster’s arm. There was the Gatling Gun in 1861, a popular weapon of the American Civil War, and Hiram Maxim made the Maxim Machine Gun in 1885.





Susan Macatee said...

Interesting blog!

We think of the 20th century as the time of the most technological innovations, but the 19th century experienced a great surge of technology in a short period of time.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Excellent blog, Christine! I had no idea so many things we use today began in "our" chosen era!

And I just bought my Christmas cards today, LOL (so if it snows soon, ladies, you can blame me!)

Kathrynn Dennis said...

Cool blog. First timer. I read that canned food was available during the Victorian era...sealed with lead of course, but available.

Kathrynn Dennis
DARK RIDER, Sept 2007

Susan Macatee said...

Yeah, Kathrynn, and I also read that the can opener didn't come into existence until after cannned food was available.

Must have been hard work getting those cans opened.

Christine Koehler said...

Kathrynn you got me curious about canning, and I looked it up. According to FoodReference.com, it was actually thanks to Napoleon's army's need (they used old wine bottles) then "Peter Durand [possible Durance according to the DelMonte site]...developed a method of sealing food into unbreakable tin containers, which was perfected by Bryan Dorkin and John Hall, who set up the first commercial canning factory in England in 1813." (www.foodreference.com/html/artcanninghistory.html) (http://www.delmonte.com/news/cans1/body.htm)