chapter  6
The Concept of Mass Society as a Contribution of Sociology to Media Studies
Pages 14

What are we referring to here? The airplane? Computers? Atomic energy? Satellites? The Internet? None of those. It was the steam engine! (Its origins and applications to printing were discussed in Chapter 1.) Although its principles had been understood for many years, an essential technological component (condenser to cool the used steam, making it suitable for industrial applications) was developed and patented by James Watt in 1769. By the late 1700s, it was beginning to be used in Great Britain to pump out mines and run machinery in factories. Early in the 1800s, it was already driving the wheels of industry in many places-replacing animals, water wheels, and windmills as energy sources-and providing the first steps in the development of what would become a totally new kind of society.