The technology of modern America differs greatly from that of early America, and a major shift occurred in the middle of the nineteenth century as many new inventions were produced and new technologies developed for transportation, communication, manufacturing, and other areas. Changes in technology began in many of these areas before 1850, but, after that date, the rate of change increased greatly, and expansion brought technological change to the entire country. Technology in early America was more personally oriented, with tools for individual use on farms and in small industries, transportation geared more to individuals and families, and incremental changes in earlier technologies.
The shift in technology included bringing new means of transportation of both persons and goods to the whole country through the development of the railroads, with communications improved to draw the country together with the telegraph and then the telephone, with medical advances, and with a variety of technological developments at a more rapid pace to bring to the world new technologies such as the automobile, radio, television, the computer, and important new medical fields.
America was innovative from the beginning, and, in the political realm, this was seen in the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Technological innovation involves both the hardware that is created and the systems developed for that purpose, meaning that it involves the reorganization of people as well as materials:
The development of massive systems for producing and using automobiles and for generating and utilizing electric power, the making of telephone and wireless networks, and the organization of complex systems for making war reveal the creative drive of inventors, engineers, industrial scientists, managers, and entrepreneurs possessed of the system builder's instincts and mentality (Hughes 3).
The development of the rai...