Rise of the Machines
The revolution in industrial mechanization that began in the mid-1700's progressed at an astounding pace throughout the 19th century, spurred in part by technological improvements in machining tools, steam engines, and iron forging. "Self-acting" machines, powered by steam or electricity, appeared to move of their own volition, accomplishing tasks once done only by human hands. Literary fiction of the time reflected this new industrial paradigm, speculating on the future and inventing wonders like steam-powered mechanical men. If machines could do human work, what more could they accomplish?