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The Impact of Technological ChangeThe Early Steamship in Britain$
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John Armstrong and David M. Williams

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497377

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497377.001.0001

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The Steamship as an Agent of Modernisation, 1812-1840

The Steamship as an Agent of Modernisation, 1812-1840

(p.165) Chapter 8 The Steamship as an Agent of Modernisation, 1812-18401
The Impact of Technological Change

John Armstrong

David M. Williams

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the significance of the steamship as a vehicle of change and modernisation in Britain between 1812 and 1840. It builds on the previous chapter’s analysis of the nationwide diffusion of the steamship, then defines the features of modernity that the steamship exhibited - such as large scale production; specialisation; and wider market access. It then explores how these advances impacted society through the widespread recognition of modern technology; wider appreciation of the importance of time; advance of personal mobility; new forms of finance and operations; and the role of technology in the changing function of the British government. It concludes that the steamship played a vital role in British innovation, though ultimately was one factor of many in the widespread and rapidly increasing modernisation of the country.

Keywords:   Steam Power, Steamship Construction, British Social History, Nineteenth Century Britain, General Steam Navigation Company

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