Inventions in the late nineteenth century marked the beginning of rapid and all-encompassing changes in communications, transportation, and in the daily work and home lives of Americans.
1. Can you think of other inventions of the late nineteenth century that dramatically changed the way Americans lived and worked?
2. How would you construct a timeline of important inventors and inventions for other periods of American history, including important changes in your own lifetime, such as the silicon chip and the Internet?
3. Is "inventive genius" an important component of the American character? Or are Americans no different in this respect from people in other nations?
4. What forces in a society encourage invention?
5. Is there a relationship between wars and the increase of new inventions and new technology?
6. How does today's "digital revolution" build upon and alter the inventions of the nineteenth century, such as the use of electricity, photography, the telephone, the phonograph, and the typewriter?