Object: telegraph
Telegraph receiver with clockwork mechanism, early 20th century. A telegraph network allowed Morse code (small dots and long dashes) to be recorded at a receiving station on strips of paper.
Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek Leipzig, Fotografie: Michael Setzpfandt


The A-Z of industrialisation

The subjugation of the forces of nature, the invention of machinery, the application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steamships, railways, electric telegraphs, the clearing of whole continents for cultivation, the making of navigable waterways, huge populations springing up as if by magic out of the earth what earlier generations had the remotest inkling that such productive powers slumbered within the womb of associated labour.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1848

Networks consist of nodes that are connected to one another. Railway lines that run between two railway intersections make it possible to transport trading goods (Trade) or people (Travelling); telegraph lines allow news and information to be transmitted, and pipelines enable the transport of liquids and gases (Energy). Semantic networks come into being via cross references in encyclopaedias (Education) or other knowledge systems (Science).

Networks as forms of social organsation also played a decisive role in the industrialisation process. Alongside industry-based networks, which were often interregional in scope, kinship and family-based networks – within a “kinship economy” (Adelheid von Saldern) – stood as indispensable factors in successful commerce, both in the book industry and in other sectors.