STS331 Lecture Notes #6

STS331 Lecture Notes #6 - 02/11/2008 James Carey with...

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02/11/2008 James Carey with “Time, Space, and the Telegraph.” Telegraph and society Why was the telegraph central to the growth of the railroad industry in the nineteenth century? (All of the readings that we are reading is saying that these technologies, in a social context, emerged upon a culture of business, culture, etc. These technologies needed backing. The telegraph did something for the railroad industry that needed something helped establish the time zone system since there was not an established. Tie with: print standardized languages in that everyone reading that language… With the telegraph, the railroad industry was a big capitalist player in technology. The railroad industry had a major crisis of control: As America was becoming really industrial, people depended on the railroad industry to transport goods. However you could not transport goods that were very efficient along this vast land. A lot of times, tracks were single track and railroads would collide. To stop this, men rode on horses from one station to another to say that trains were on the track—this was the separation of communication from transportation. The fastest means of transportation, the horse, could take the messages there. Horse example: You had to have a method to get from one station to another in a VERY fast manner. The best way to do this in an efficient way was to standardize time, so, the invention of the time zone. The time zone was a development of the telegraph and the railroad system. There were telegraph lines that went along with the railroad lines. Standardization of time is very important for the telegraph in the way it separated time and communication. This also let the railroad grow at a very rapid pace. Telegraph made it possible for them to have speed, control for communication, etc. Railroads were dependent on the development of the telegraph. Telegraph was new invention with a real big boost, a big kind of support from a big industry like the railroad. How did the growth of railroads and telegraph change notions of time and space? This is an article that served as a catalyst to the Information Age. This also makes geographical knowledge very valuable now—you are not working in local communities and local markets now. In the past, my local was exclusively tied to my physical space. From the film, remember the story of how most people didn’t travel more than seven miles throughout their whole lives. With the telegraph, people still aren’t traveling much farther, but this is still a change. People now are not living in localities that are not contained by their minds. Telegraph is giving someone a sense of simultaneity—this is not the exact same time, but we are actually almost at the same time with telegraph. This is changing the way that people are imagining their worlds—separate transportation and communication—it’s instantaneous since it is electronic. How did the telegraph change the relationship between communication and
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course STS 331 taught by Professor Toprac during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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STS331 Lecture Notes #6 - 02/11/2008 James Carey with...

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