Impacts of Wars on Building Technology

Impactsof Wars on Building Technology


Impactsof wars on building technology

Theera after the American Civil War was manifested by increasing intenseand successive technological advances. For example, telegraph andtelephone, railroad, and steel. Additionally, these discoveriesfacilitated America’s expansion westward as well as economicdevelopment by joining the boundary with the financial, industrial,and political departments of the East. The Americans dependence ontechnological infrastructures such as electric, telecommunication,and railroad increased as a result of social and economic activities.The discourse contends that different wars in America especially theCivil War, WW1, and the Cold War contributed to innovations in thebuilding technology.


Devisedby Sir Henry Bessemer, the “Bessemer process,” was the firstlow-priced industrial process to be used in mass-production of,molten pig iron into steel. This method of steel manufacture led toa decrease in cost of steel, increased the speed and scale ofproduction of steel, as well as reducing the labor required duringthe steel-making process. The main principle of this method was toremove excess carbon along with other impurities by oxidation of ironprocess, and it comprised of air being blown from side to side of themolten iron (Mountjoy, 2009). In addition, a more sophisticatedprocess that was used to eliminate phosphorus from iron was developedby Sidney Gilchrist Thomas. In 1878, Thomas cousin, Percy Gilchrist,a chemist patented the process and the first organization to use thepatented process was Bolckow Vaughan and Co. in Yorkshire. The othergreat invention in steel making was discovered by Sir Charles WilliamSiemens who in 1850s developed a regenerative furnace that was ableto recover enough heat because it was able to save around 70-80% ofthe required fuel. The availability of low-priced steel enabled theAmerican people to build railroads, large ships, skyscrapers, andbridges.


Between1820- 1830, majority of the entrepreneurs and inventors started touse the steamboat technology that were emerging as engines that couldmove on land. Oliver Evans brought about the first proposal in 1813,his knowledge involved the creation of a railroad that would joinPhiladelphia, and New York, and the carriages were supposed to bemoved by steam engines. The efficiency of railway to transport bulkand large items led to decreased transportation costs for goods tothe market. However, this development undermined the work andprofitability of earlier canals and turnpikes that began to fall andfold into despair. The early railways were poorly established, andthis led to competition among different companies as they try toimprove the invention. The companies were using different gauges soas to ensure that their tracks were good enough, and this led togoods to being trans-shipped instead of being transported directly totowns (Mountjoy, 2009). The conclusion of the TranscontinentalRailway in 1869 resulted in efficiency and profit that had the effectof causing a period of extreme technological and consolidationstandardization that had the capability of lasting for more than 50years. In addition, during this period railway magnate, for example,Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jay Gould were able to acquire greatfortunes and power as a result of consolidating smaller rail linesinto State Corporation. By 1920, approximately 408,800 Km of thestandard-gauge railroad lines had been established in America, and itwas controlled and owned by seven organizations. In addition, theneed to harmonize train schedules became important because each cityhad its local schedule and this created inefficiencies. However, thisissue was settled after the railway managers introduced a standardtime schedule in 1883. Moreover, the increase in cheap steelmanufacture from the 1860s enabled more railroads to be establishedfrom steel because apart from being cheap it was also more durableand stronger than iron.


FrancisPettit Smith established the first screw propeller in 1835 after hediscovered a new method of constructing propellers by accident.Before Pettit’s discovery, propellers were screws of significantlength. When he was testing the boat that was being propelled by onescrew, the screw broke leaving behind a fragment that was shaped likethe modern boat propeller. The amazing thing was that the boat movedat a faster speed with the cracked propeller than when it was full.The first iron steamboat to travel on sea was called Aaron Manby, andHorseley Ironworks built it.


Someanalysts argue that different wars in America did not contribute tothe building technology, but instead they led to decreasedinnovations across the architecture fraternity. For example,immediately after WW11 and the Civil War, America saw decreasedinnovations in the building technology as most engineers died orembarked on designing weapons rather than designing inventions thatwould help in the building technology. Despite the fact that theimpacts of the American wars resulted in the development of positiveimpacts on building technology, some negative impacts were alsoencountered. For instance, development of railways led totransportation of fighting weapons in the battlefield, and thiscaused many deaths of innocent citizens (Mountjoy, 2009). Inaddition, invention of modern ships contributed to the wars ingreater heights, and many individuals lost their lives, as well aspollution of water, was also encountered.


Thewars in America affected the building technology greatly especiallyby offering new designs and motifs since during the wars, the countryengaged in mass production of weapons resulting to transfer ofknowledge to the building technology. The developments that Americahas experienced in some instances especially in the buildingtechnology bear identity in the successes of wars and lessons learntduring the war. However, the developments also facilitated wars, andmany people died in the process. In addition, the technologicalinnovations had resulted in massive impacts on how the war was foughtas well as how people remember it. Conclusively, majority of theinventions still play essential roles in civilians and military livesup-to-date.


Mountjoy,S. (2009). Technologyand the Civil War.New York: Chelsea House Publishers.