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The Neotechnic Phase Amish Shah Lara Owens Jennifer Holzhauser Time Period 1830-1930 Third developmental stage of the Machine The Neotechnic phase is an evolution from the Eotechnic and Paleotechnic phases, but a large gap exists between the neo- and paleo- phases.

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the neotechnic phase

The Neotechnic Phase

Amish Shah

Lara Owens

Jennifer Holzhauser

time period
Time Period
  • 1830-1930
  • Third developmental stage of the Machine
  • The Neotechnic phase is an evolution from the Eotechnic and Paleotechnic phases, but a large gap exists between the neo- and paleo- phases.
  • However, evidence of the Eotechnic and Paleotechnic phase are still present.
  • Characterized by the refinement or perfection of the machine which impacted humanity on more levels than the previous phases.
neotechnics new ideals new trends
Neotechnics: New Ideals – New Trends
  • Shift from production based to consumer based economy.
  • Inventions were created to better society and focused towards individual needs and comforts
  • Separate inventions were culminated into a common goal of advancement
  • Focus on efficiency and refinement: age of electricity and specialization
neotechnic revolutions in
Neotechnic Revolutions in:





-Development of the modern perspective and refinement

the new wheel of consumption
The New Wheel of Consumption

needs → science → inventions → transportaion → communication → person →

backbone developments of neotechnic phase
Backbone developments of Neotechnic Phase
  • Water turbine in 1832
    • Increased power availability
  • Faraday’s work with electromagnetic currents 1831
  • The Powerplant
  • Inventions: The dynamo, the electric motor, combustion engine, the electric lamp, telephone, the radio telegraph, the phonograph, movie picture, and the air plane
scientific evolution
Scientific Evolution
  • Pure science was morphed into technical science. Theory (scientists) vs. Practice (engineers)
  • Science was now propelled by social needs, not just the desire to search for truth.
scientific evolution8
Scientific Evolution
  • Deliberate and systematic inventions

“Here is a new material: problem- find a new use for it. Or here was a necessary utility: problem- find the theoretic formula which would permit it to be produced.” (p 218)

Examples: rubber, nylon, personal transportation

age of electricity
Age of Electricity
  • Electricity became commercially available between 1880 and 1920.
  • Broke the dependence on coal
  • Can be made from larger number or sources
  • Easier to transmit
  • Readily convertible into different forms
  • After 1910, remarkable increases in productivity lead to “new formations of both capital and labor”
    • But was it an “-ism”???
you say you want an industrial revolution
You say you want an “Industrial” Revolution….
  • Electric motor transformed the plant
  • Layout of plant no longer focused around the production of energy to run machines
  • Small plants are able to compete in the same market as large powerful plants
  • The Assembly Line: parts of the whole made elsewhere and then put together in the end – distributed jobs
  • Paleotechnic worker had to be an overall mechanic, rather than specialized craftsman or hand
  • Induction of the engineer-manager
doctrines of efficiency
Doctrines of Efficiency
  • Frederick Winslow Taylor and his stop-watch
    • Known for imposing “machine logic or scientific management on human movements” – Nye p136
  • Worked within age of steam and saw machines as extensions of human muscle power
  • Specialized work routines and tools
  • Retrained workers to increase the efficiency of their every movement
doctrines of efficiency12
Doctrines of Efficiency
  • Henry Ford and his subdivision of labor
    • Known for revolutionizing the assembly line by carefully timing each job so that it could be subdivided into many small operations of equal duration
  • Worked within the age of the electrical age, when “machines began to do things that no quantity of men could do, becoming not only extensions of the finer muscles, but of the eye, ear and even brain itself.” Nye p139
  • Assembly line characterized by:
    • interchangeable parts
    • single-function machines
    • sequential ordering of machines
    • moving belt ….all of course made possible with electricity.
you say you want an industrial revolution13
You say you want an “Industrial” Revolution….

“With the use of electricity, as Henry Ford has pointed out, small units of production can nevertheless be utilized by large units of administration, for efficient administration depends on record-keeping, charting, routing, and communication, and not necessarily upon a local overseership. In a work, the size of the productive unit is no longer determined by the local requirements of either the steam engine or the managerial staff: it is a function of the operation itself.”


its not the size of the ship but the motion in the ocean new standards of efficiency
Its not the size of the ship, but the motion in the ocean: New standards of Efficiency
  • “Bigger isn’t always better”
  • Less waste = more product = lower overhead = higher wages
  • Increased flexibility of power unit
  • Closer adaptation of means to ends
  • Better timing of operation: single limiting processes no longer slowed down the rate of the entire production
displacement of the proletarian blue collar worker
Displacement of the Proletarian (blue collar worker)
  • Improvements in automation

“The electric power plant is not merely the driving force in the new technology, it is likewise perhaps one of the most characteristic end-products, for it is in itself an exhibition of that complete automation to which..our modern system tends.” Mumford p227

  • Machine replaced man as both workhorse and craftsman
  • Decreased number or jobs available
    • 2 million workers cast out of the job from 1919-1929
chemical industry
Chemical Industry
  • Truly a modern industry
    • Exhibited Neotechnic characteristics before mechanical industry
    • Invention of alloys and synthetics for their improved capabilities
    • strength, conduction, weight
  • Use of electricity in material manufacturing
chemical industry17
Chemical Industry
  • Aluminum and Steel
    • New improved materials replaced iron machines and parts of the Paleotechnic
    • Rustless
  • Utilization of rare earths to improve quality of material

….came from where???

introduction of world commodity flow
Introduction of ‘World Commodity Flow’
  • Production of these new materials meant dependence on other countries for the first time
  • South America : copper – Chile; iron and bauxite-Venizuela and Brazil; gold and silver - everywhere
  • South African : source of benzene to make rubber
  • How did our demands effect the countries we were mining from?
  • Internal combustion engine was 2nd most important change next to electricity
  • 18th century: gas engine was experimented with (1876, Otto perfected)
  • Fuel for combustion engine was light and transportable
planes trains and automobiles
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • Consequences of the automobile included the number of unanticipated deaths and injuries
planes trains and automobiles21
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • Out of the transportation expansion developed a Neotechnic weakness: geologic distribution of population
    • allowed people to move further apart
    • traveling via train or airplane meant traveling into the cities to use mass transportation.
  • The desire for human contact still existed
  • New forms of contact or communication needed to arise to compensate for geographic separation
the paradox of communication
The Paradox of Communication
  • Painting, drawing, letters and numerals widened the scope of humans
  • Neotechnic machines: Telegraph, Telephone, Wireless communications, television
the paradox of communication23
The Paradox of Communication
  • “As a result, communication is now on the point of returning, with the aid of mechanical devices, to that instantaneous reaction of person to person with which it began.” (Mumford, pg 239)
  • Effects:
  • More contacts
  • More demands on attention and time
  • Writing, reading, and drawing would be less important
paradox of communication
Paradox of Communication
  • Communications Over Longer Distances (Radio, Telegraph, Telephone and Television, Late 1800s – 1930s)
  • Give humans more capabilities, not replace him
  • Provide a means for a leader to contact his citizens
the new permanent record
The New Permanent Record
  • Scientific experiments rely on repeatability
  • …But some experiments/events will never be seen again

A + B  C + D

(must always be true)

  • Ben Franklin and

the kite experiment

to record events in history
To record events in history:

2003 Super bowl


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Columbia Shuttle Landing Dec 7, 1996


to view places that may be inaccessible
To view places that may be inaccessible:

forms of record
Forms of Record
  • Books, magazines, journals, literature
  • Textbooks
  • News
  • Movies
  • Songs
  • Others
these machines led to the creation of the museum
These machines led to the creation of the museum:
  • Pictures and Sounds
  • Comparing the past and present
  • Recreated environments

Say Cheese!

Volunteer Fire Company: Lafayette, OR (1916)

lost elements
Lost Elements:
  • The photograph, motion picture, and phonograph do not incorporate an entire experience:
  • Lost personal stories passed down by word-of-mouth
  • Feeling of joy, fear, anger, excitement, pressure
problems with technology
Problems with technology:
  • Altering of images
  • Video and sound clips
  • Using technology when not needed
light and life
Light and Life
  • Light bulb
  • Microscope (practical use of)
  • Spectroscope
  • Electromagnetic Waves
  • X-Ray
  • Quantum theory
  • UV and IR light
use of light
Use of Light:
  • Exposure of body to sunlight prevented rickets and helped to cure tuberculosis
  • Sunlight also sanitized water and reduced certain bacteria
  • The mine was ruining lives!
prevention vs repair
Prevention vs. Repair
  • Removal of Paleotechnic Environment
    • crowded living conditions
    • pollute air
    • dehumanized factory
    • starvation of senses
  • Surgical cleanliness
  • X-Ray instead of invasive surgery
  • “… and efforts to increase mechanical performance must cease when the balance of the whole man is threatened.” (pg 250)
development of the modern perspective and refinement
Development of the Modern Perspective and Refinement
  • Influence of biology
  • The beginnings of conservation
  • Population planning
  • The present psuedomorph
influence of biology
Influence of Biology
  • New possibilities and development
  • The importance of shape
  • Example: Orville and Wilbur Wright, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
importance of shape
Importance of Shape
  • More power means greater size?
  • page 253
  • Beauty vs. Practicality “that the necessary can never divorce itself from the superstructure of the beautiful.” page 254
  • Superficiality
minute quantities
Minute Quantities
  • Neotechnics were not all about bulk!
  • Examples: hormones, precious metals, vitamins, bacteria, viruses, and tiny quantities of energy
  • “In a word, the quantative and the mechanical have at last become life-sensitive.”
food for thought
Food for thought:
  • Mumford talks about the organic production of electricity.
  • Predecessor to “economic high powered electric cells.”
  • We don’t see them today.
  • Why/reasons?
from destruction to conservation
From Destruction to Conservation
  • The Paleotechnic phase paid no heed to the environmental consequences of their destructive actions.
  • The Neotechnic- replaces recklessness with better habits and knowledge.
  • Thrifty and Conservative?
  • The web of life was discovered- one action had several consequences.
futurism style of artistry
Futurism Style of Artistry
  • Umberto Boccioni: 1882-1916 said of the picture: ``all life and the noises of the street rush in at the same time as the movement and the reality of the objects outside.'' The surging incoherence of the forms is both chaotic and ordered.
  • Street Noises Invade the House
  • Machine and Motion emphasis
examples of conservation
Examples of Conservation
  • Soil conservation changes industrialized agriculture.
  • Fixation of nitrogen though the Haber process solved the fertilization problem after the Chilean nitrate beds were exploited to the point of exhaustion.
  • Hot houses
the human condition
The Human Condition
  • Social Health Conscience
  • Fear death, disease, and old age
  • The sales of beauty and health products were directed at the average person, not just the rich.
the planning of population
The Planning of Population
  • Birth control
  • Separation between lust love and marriage/ children love
  • Prolonged romantic love
  • The size of population in any area can now theoretically be related to the permanent resources for supporting life that it provides.
  • Change from quantative to qualitative.
the present pseudomorph
The Present Pseudomorph
  • In the midst of transition
  • Paleo machines made over in Neotechnic phase.
  • “new inventions and devices have been frequently used to maintain, renew, and stabilize the structure of the old order.” page 266
  • Paleotechnic purposes with Neotechnic means.
psuedomorph con t
Psuedomorph Con’t
  • Page 265
  • The irony of human development…
  • Has the human race really changed very much?
  • Technology and communication have created a fear between nations.
have we really changed
Have we really changed?
  • Boat
  • Bomb
  • Airplane
  • Defense
  • Warfare
  • Mass Production
  • Paleotechnic Factories
  • Energy and Power
  • How else has war changed society?
energy production
Energy Production
  • Dependence on Oil
  • Energy Surplus
  • Economic = Political control

Will it take another revolution to break the cycle and introduce a new globalized source of energy production?

Iraqi oil fires ~National Geographic

bringing it full circle
Bringing it Full Circle

needs → science → inventions → transportation → communication → person →