In the sense of chronological order, since the time of human evolution dating back to time between 3000B.C. and 1450A.D which is considered as the rise of pre-mechanical age, humans learnt to communicate through a language by drawing pictures essentially carving them on rocks.
This was called the Petroglyths 1.when more people started writing, the use of pens and paper came in to existence. In due course of time, more and more people starting writing, a lot of information needed to be kept in storage which lead to early scrolls and libraries. Also during this period were the first numbering systems. While the numbers were created, our ancestors wanted stuff to do with them so they created calculators. A calculator was the very first sign of an information processor. The popular model of that time was the abacus. This is when the rise of Mechanical age2 connecting the relation between current technology and our ancestors. It is during the early 20th century a famous American historian of technology Thomas Parke Hughes (Lorkowski, Nina Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2018)4 who influenced the science and technology studies (STS)3 by determining a term called as the Technological Momentum (Hughes).It is a relation between technology determinism and social constructivism manifested by and for the human race. The social, historical, economic, geographic contingencies with evidence of timely essence unifying factors like influences the very existence of technology momentum as quoted by Hughes in theory. In other words, Hughes’s says that the relationship between technology and society always starts with a social determinism model, but evolves into a form of technological determinism over time and as its use becomes more prevalent and important4 .In other words, both the actors are reciprocal and time dependent but constantly continue to influence each other. A rigid antinomy of utopian ideology and technological manifestation itself leads to the politicization of technical culture. I will be further in my essay discussing this through empirical case studies in order to identify what instruments certain in determination of technology in the society, and further discuss the essential of that particular technology. In the course of this essay, we are going to look into homogenous state of affairs in introducing railroads in America. Which essentially led them to be a nation of super power. In the first part of the following paragraph, a brief history of the history of the greatest American railroad will be briefed. Followed to which a discussion of actors and institutions that led to both for and against of the ideology of the railroads. Finally what determined the success of the American Rail system?
One of mankind best invention would be railroads. Many great battles were fought and won and many industries were born and established. Trade and commerce developed crossed nations. As early as the 1720: A railroad is reportedly used in the construction of the French fortress at Louisburg, Nova Scotia. (Brown, Robert R. October 1949). At the end of French and Indian War during 1764, British military engineers build a mechanized tramp alongside Niagara River waterfalls escarpment, New York which was mainly performed by manual labors before the conquest of the British. It was only in the 1763 a British military engineer and cartographer named Captain John montresor designed the first mechanical tramp without manual labor, which led to first labor rebellion. This in my opinion is the first technological determinism towards social constructivism. Going on to the next century, during the 1800s was what called as the social and economic growth of America. They invented and deigned gravity railroad in order to move the excavated material from hilly areas to marshy areas to level lands in order to develop new estates and business. In the 1820s and 1830s many railroad companies emerged in by private industrial sectors like granite, coal and cotton industries in order to profited their establishments.
The below table describes the transition:-
Date Rail Company name Characteristics Instrumentalism & Essentialism Characters.
1826 The Granite Railway Often called the first commercial railroad Demand for public transport, hence it was first to evolve as a common career.
1826 Mohawk and Hudson Railroad First railroad powered by locomotive engine It was conceived as a quick passage for Erie Canal passengers to quickly bypass the circuitous Cohoes Falls via steam powered trains.
1827 Summit Hill and Mauch Chunk Railroad First anthracite career Time efficiency in hauling coal and revenue through tourist attraction
1829 Delaware and Hudson Canal Company Gravity Railroad To haul coal to canal boats Efficient logistics to economic growth in coal mining
1829 The South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company Steam driven railroad. The prime reasons for the advancement of cotton industries from south Carolina to Columbia, Camden and Hamburg
While we have seen some of the advancements of the progress of the private railroad who choose to their jobs and customers, there was parallel Common Carriers(Encyclopedia Britannica CD 2000) who charged fair rates to all customers due to various factors such as geographic,logistic,social and economic feasibilities, government legislation and policies.
In the present world, in order to study about the heterogeneous advancement of the railways or rail road which was then considered as the emerging technology. One need to also study about such explosive effects of one technology which lead nation to be so techno-culturally powerful. This goes to say that the innovation of railroads and further advancement of it had a direct impact on the economic growth of United States. This also meant American industrialization economic magnification was directly influenced by railroad .This particular helped to decrease transportation costs, transport new products and goods to commercial markets, and generally widen the market. According to Take-off Thesis, Walt W. Rostow railways introduced new markets and generated investors which increase the financial market of United States. (Rostow, 1960, 55)In appositive approach to a country development, we have seen the homogenous state of affairs of the economic growth of a nation through the technology of the history of rail roads and its advancements.
However, there always stood an opposition. I would like to emphasize the essentialist point of view how the the railroad technology didnt impact or rather was indispensable to the economic development of the nation. However in reference to analogical reason, one can assume that the development of other transport and roads would have lessened the importance of the railroads.it can further argued that invention of certain technology will only crave the want and progress it making the niche. Although the successful invention of railroads, in attempts to invite foreign investors to finance new one originally failed. This was due to opposition was mounted by turnpike operators, canal companies, stagecoach companies and those who drove wagons. Opposition was mounted, in many cases, by tavern owners and innkeepers whose businesses were threatened. Sometimes opposition turned to violence. Religious leaders decried trains as sacrilegious. (US History, chapter 25) But the economic benefits of the railroad soon won over the skeptics.
As we identify the two approaches to an invention, we determine that the influence of technology over society and society over technology will have a continuous impact .Together these behaviors will magnify the study of railroad technology in both ontology as well as epistemology. In other words, the key essential factor of the certain invention is the actants instrumenting to determine the birth of a certain invention itself. Which further improvises the invention to suit and adapt to the all the factors determined.
In fact this win determined the change and acceptance of technological culture.
In a pragmatic approach of essentialism(such a technology) and instrumentalism(such as conventional humanistic approach).there is undermining factor such as culture ,regions n science to determine here with a standard approach of technology and the society, and a more constructive approach of technology and society or the societal reforms. Which means all the research and development of science and technology cannot be determined by just SCOT, LTS and ANT (Hughes 1998, 2004; Hughes, Hughes, Allen, and Hecht 2001; Latour 2005; Law and Hassard 1999) but the social shaping of technology too (MacKenzie and Wajcman 1985).
Instrumentalism .there is undermining factor such as science to determine here whether technology drives the society, or the societal reforms and extremes of science develops technology. Further to this discussion level of tansformatiobe will be based on the technical design.
If we wish to trans form the world, the problem for all such post human approaches is of course that there is no ontology without epistemology.