The 19th and 20th centuries witnessed great technological changes at rates unseen in previous centuries. This brings about a very interesting question in my mind: Who lived through the most changes: My main character in Angel of Mercy or her great-grandmother, the subject of a future novel?
You decide. Let’s compare the changes these women would have seen in their lifetimes.
Great-grandmother (1810-1892) saw:
- Shipping transform from wooden ships with sails to metal ships with motors.
- The invention of the locomotive and the building of the transcontinental railroad.
- Indoor plumbing replace the privy. With it, comes the invention of toilet paper.
- The invention of the sewing machine and the safety pin.
- Science discovers bacteria and viruses cause disease.
- The invention of the elevator and the escalator.
- Vaccines are developed for a number of diseases including typhoid.
- The invention of the typewriter, telegraph, phonograph and telephone as well as the cash register, plastic, the dishwasher, safety matches.
- The invention of the internal combustion engine.
- The invention of the incandescent lightbulb and the electrification of cities.
- The invention of photography and the motion picture.
- The invention of the automobile and motorcycle.
- Dry cell and alkaline batteries are developed.
- Basketball is invented.
- Kindergartens are first established.
- The fountain pen replaces the quill.
- Anesthesia is developed.
- The theory of evolution and natural selection.
Angel of Mercy (1892-1972) saw:
- Aspirin is patented.
- More vaccines and antitoxins are developed.
- Bicycles become a popular mode of transportation and liberate women in the process.
- The invention of the radio, flashlight, air conditioner, assembly line, zipper, toaster, hair dryer, traffic light, television, computer, microwave, calculator, vacuum cleaner, crayons, crossword puzzles, windshield wipers and copy machines.
- The x-ray is invented and radioactivity is studied. So is radar.
- The dirigible and the airplane take to the skies.
- The roller point pen replaces the fountain pen.
- Two world wars, a cold war, the Great Depression and the summer of love.
- Antibiotics and insulin are developed.
- Pluto is discovered. The Big Bang theory is introduced. Hubble discovers the universe is expanding.
- The atom and DNA are discovered.
- The theory of relativity.
- Humans land on the moon.
Who do you think lived through the most changes in her lifetime? Leave a comment below.
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