England the most powerful nation on earth both in military might and economic wealth. Morals highly questionable. Inventions, Inventions, Inventions. The Victorian Period
The bright side
- 150 years ago the English Queen, Victoria was ruling over the biggest empire that has ever existed
- 150 years ago London was the biggest city in the world.
- 150 years ago England was the biggest trading nation in the world
- 150 years ago England had the largest navy in the world.
- 150 years ago England produced more steel than the rest of the world put together.
- 150 years ago cars had not been invented, the main form of transport was still the horse although steam engine driven trains running on steel rails (invented in England) were rapidly taking over long distance travel.
The dark side
- 150 years ago Charles Dickens wrote about the scenes of the day, perhaps a long way from the vision of England and the British Empire as portrayed in the image of the “Victorian period”. His famous book Oliver Twist was in part autobiographical.
- 150 years ago Queen Victoria fled from London (Buckingham Palace) for safety in her home in the Isle of Wight (Osborne) due to a republican uprising (Chartists), quelled by parliament.
- 150 years ago the life expectancy of a Londoner was only 20 years. (London was so dirty diseases were rampant particularly cholera.)
- 150 years ago the English who also ruled Ireland, deliberately caused the death by starvation of some one million people in Ireland and caused another 1 million Irish to emigrate to America. (The potato famine).
- 150 years ago the English were sending men who were in overfull London jails (Convicts) as far away as possible notably to the state of Virginia in America and to Australia.
- 150 years ago Divorce (the legal cessation of marriage) was permitted for the first time largely due to the tireless work of the female writer George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880) who was married but lived with her lover and as such was a social outcast.
- 150 years ago a Puritan Christian evangelical movement started as a result of the free sexual behaviour of some of the middle classes who indulged in wife swapping parties and group sex.
- 150 years ago the Camera was invented and was soon used in this period for the production of pornographic pictures for which there was a great demand.
- 150 years ago many current US state capitals did not exist. Example, Des Moines capital city of the US state of Iowa did not exist indeed it was an Army Fort trying to keep Native Americans (Red Indians) away from the white man's farms. (Certainly taken from the poor Red Indian in the first place)
- 150 years ago notorious gangsters like “Billy the Kid” were on a killing trails. (Billy the Kid in New Mexico USA.) His and other “gun slingers” used the Colt six shooting revolver (actually 5 shot) invented in the US by Samuel Colt (1835)
- 150 years ago was the American Civil War (1861-1865). North versus South. The North won and abolished slavery in the South.
The industrial revolution and scientific inventions
150 years ago the Industrial Revolution, which started in England, and had been going about 100 years and was spreading to Europe and the USA. The industrial Revolution was the name given to the first factory automation initially in the manufacture of Textiles. This brought people from cottage industries in villages into the squalor, filth and disease generated by big cities.
150 years ago the “Steam Train” was invented by Stevenson in the north of England. (1829)
150 years ago the forerunner of the petrol engine was invented. (Germans; Herr Otto and Herr Daimler) (1875)
150 years ago saw a prolific range of inventions around electricity, culminating in the inventions of the electric light bulb and the electric motor.
Inventors in this field at this time were; Frenchmen Volta (1800 the Volt) and then Ampere (the Amp) followed by Oersted, Faraday and Maxwell. (All well known names to Physics pupils at school age.)
These inventors in Europe were followed by the American Edison probably the most prolific inventor of all time (1847-1931) who produced the electric light bulb, the first public supply of electricity, the gramophone, the movies and the thermionic valve-later the triode. (The latter was made obsolete by the transistor and the silicon chip).
English physicist Sir Joseph Wilson Swan also independently invented the electric light bulb (1860). He also invented Bromide paper (1879) still used today for photographic prints.
150 years ago telephone technology was invented. Initially the transmission of coded text messages (long on, short on and off) over copper wire between England and France by Morse Code and then in the US Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone to carry voice over the same wires (1875).
Englishman Charles Darwin publishes his theory of “Origin of Species by means of natural selection” (Now of course supported by genetics. Then dangerous and revolutionary thinking flying in the face of the accepted “Creation” in the Bible.)