Expertly restored from the original lithographs, prints like this are truly a gateway to the past. This beautiful representation of United States engineering progress by Currier & Ives will bring you back to a time when new technology meant great changes for everyone.
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Title: The progress of the century - the lightning steam press, the electric telegraph, the locomotive, [and] the steamboat.
Medium: 10.2 mil, 210 g/m² Super Heavyweight Plus Matte
| Continued from above... Heavyweight Plus Matte |
Creator: Currier & Ives.
Date Created/Published: New York : Published by Currier & Ives, c1876.
Original Medium: Lithograph.
Summary: Man using telegraph in foreground; in background are people using steam press, steamboat, and locomotive.
Peter Cooper, a self-taught mechanic, first built a steam locomotive to pull train cars or carriages. His steam engine could travel 18 miles per hour. This was three times faster than the horse-drawn ones Americans were using. Making a railroad was cheaper than digging canals and rails did not freeze in the winter. The railroad era in America began, and people and goods were now moving across the country faster than ever.
The first steam locomotive in the Northwest, a balloon-stack American built by Smith & Jackson at Paterson, NJ, arrived in St. Paul, MN in 1861 -- on a Mississippi River steamboat. It wasn't until the following June 28 that the little William Crooks chuffed out of St. Paul on its initial passenger run to the village of St. Anthony, now Minneapolis, signaling the completion of the first 10 miles of railroad in Minnesota. The railroad was the St. Paul & Pacific, Great Northern original predecessor line, and locomotive No. 1 carried the name of its chief engineer, Colonel William Crooks.
A century later, on June 28, 1962, Great Northern fittingly commemorated its Centennial of service by presenting the William Crooks to the Minnesota Historical Society. The famous pioneer locomotive can be seen on permanent display in the St. Paul Union Depot. This classic 4-4-0, with tender, weighs 40 tons. Overall length is 51 feet. Diameter of driving wheels: 63 inches
Many pioneers preferred to use the rivers as a means of transportation over rail. Moving goods and people along river routes was cheaper and much quicker. Some pioneers traveled on rafts or flatboats. These flatboats were also used to move crops down the Mississippi River. The problem was that these boats could only go one way. John Fulton, a man who started out as a painter, was the inventor of the amazing new steamboat. The boat, called "The Clermont", got its power from a steam engine Fulton created to make it move. By the 1820s steamboats were carrying passengers and goods up and down eastern and western rivers. For the farmers in the South, these boats could pick up the goods they made and take them to new markets in the North.
When the steamboat transported people and goods upstream, it made a new economy, new towns, and brought unimagined luxury to the settlers. Before the steamboat, settlers on the other side of the Appalachian Mountains slowly floated their goods on flatboats and keelboats down the Mississippi River and only at great cost poled them up. Therefore, the spread of products and information was almost completely a one-way route, governed by the currents of the vast river. Now everything changed.
A flood of scientific inventions and discoveries in the beginning of the 19th century led the human evolution to attain new heights. The invention of electro-magnets was a boost to the telegraphic concept to be used later on. Their invention gave a new direction to electronic communication. The idea of a telegraphic system struck Samuel Morse on a ship journey from Europe to America. Joseph Henry from Princeton College, a leading researcher in this field, had already demonstrated the idea of telegraphy. He had made a bell ring from a distance by using an electric circuit. He was a guiding figure, who helped Morse in his attempts at improvising the telegraphic system.
In December 1837, Morse had successfully tried his experiments and applied for a grant with the federal government and even demonstrated his work in New York and Washington. But the process was delayed due to a recession in the economy. At the same time, Charles Wheatstone, a British physicist, along with William Cooke, patented a telegraph system in Europe. But the Morse model was efficient and much simpler to use than the British system. By 1843, he was successful in getting the required grant and the first telegraph line of and entire 40 miles was constructed from Washington DC to Baltimore, MD. The line ran from the Supreme Court in the Capitol complex to the Baltimore railroad station. The first system made use of the Morse code, which was later accepted as a global standard for deciphering text.
Gradually, the system became popular throughout America and spread rapidly across Europe. The telegraph system dominated the entire communication system until 1877. The system faded away gradually, after the arrival of the telephone.