Inventions: The Steam Engine and the Internet

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Despite originating more than two centuries and half a world apart, the steam engine and the Internet followed similar paths throughout their conception, development, and execution. In 1712, the first successful steam engine was built; it was bulky, inefficient, and partially hand operated. Two hundred fifty-three years later, the first major network connection was made, using slow, dedicated phone lines to carry information across the country from expensive, complicated computers in Massachusetts to their counterparts in California. Although these innovations were advanced for their time, their usefulness was limited by the scope of their execution. Fast forwarding to 1820, steam engines now used superheated, high pressure steam in order to yield more power in a smaller space, resulting in their widespread use in trains, boats, and cars. The engines operated under 13 times more pressure, using new technology to avoid explosions (CITE 3). Similarly by 1973, networking and networks had advanced at a frenzied pace. People now sent emails to people across the country and then heard the voices of those same people from terminals from universities and companies (CITE 2). The rapid pace of these improvements, coupled with their accessibility, resulted in two designs that profoundly changed the world view of people and businesses. These two designs are not only similar in their origins and historical progressions; they are also akin in the effect of their widespread use. Since their inceptions, they have both had extensive impacts on the world around them. Following the inventions of the steam engine and the Internet, the world was thrust into periods that are characterized as having “a succession of breakthrough inventions" and “a commo... ... middle of paper ... ...of steam engines in factories freed the factories to go anywhere. Previously, machines had been powered by the swift flowing water of rivers. Once freed from that constraint, factories were built in more convenient locations, nearer to consumers. Works Cited http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=25442 http://history-world.org/Industrial%20Intro.htm http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3405300236.html http://www.cottontimes.co.uk/trevithicko.htm http://www.lk.cs.ucla.edu/data/files/Kleinrock/Information%20Flow%20in%20Large%20Communication%20Nets.pdf http://www.linfo.org/packet_switching.html http://library.thinkquest.org/17658/nuc/nuchistoryht.html http://www.worldbookonline.com/advanced/article?id=ar531140&st=history+of+steam+engine http://www.zakon.org/robert/internet/timeline http://www.inventionreaction.com/famous-inventions/Steam-Engine

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