History of Technology 2: How Canals Changed America

How did canals change America? We're glad you asked. No, really, we're glad you asked...otherwise, we would've spent a lot of time researching canals for nothing

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TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

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a big enough number for you then try this on for size.[cash shown]

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some of the biggest canal barges in the US could carry over 230 tons. we realize

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dollars and tons or different measurements but whatever you get the

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point, canals are a big big deal. why? well here are some of the most important ways [map shown]

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that canals changed America and other industrializing countries. first let's

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look at the supplying industry. well the big push behind canals was the need to

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move more goods farther away to supply growing industries .anyway the Industrial [man uses whiteboard for presentation]

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Revolution was in serious need of some better transportation technology if it

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ever wanted to be you know revolutionary. industries

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couldn't grow without a steady flow of raw materials, and an easy way to

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transport products ready for the consuming and the old techniques that

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well just weren't cutting it. Horses and carriages don't exactly scream welcome [carriage shown]

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to the modern world. yeah good thing too because horses

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screaming at us would be just weird. well the agricultural boom also

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increased America's need for canals. Most of America's canals connected the [farmer next to corn]

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Midwest or South with major Eastern cities like Boston New York and

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Philadelphia. that meant that Midwestern farmers could

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suddenly produce goods that were bought in cities and farms started to get [people gather in front of a barn]

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bigger and more profitable. Plus cities could get bigger without worrying about

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the rising costs of hauling in food from the rural countryside. That agricultural

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boom convinced a hefty number of people that their future was in farming the

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Midwest. And as the population grew more people emigrated westward. Wasn't Cowboys

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that settled wild Iowa, it was canals. not quite as exciting we [men sit on horses]

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know also this is wild Iowa oxymoron well anyway America's canal era

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lasted about 50 years if just like your beloved pet goldfish it was only with us

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for such a short time, transportation technology took a big leap and left [fish in a bowl]

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canals and barges in the dust .of course all techniques that we put to the test

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in building smaller canals were used a little later on in a huge projects. We're

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talking about that thing called oh yeah the Panama Canal in 1914 and the [map of panama shown]

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Suez Canal in 1869 well the Panama Canal slices straight

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across Panama and lets ships go between North and South America rather than all

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the way around the tip of Chile. well meanwhile the Suez Canal goes through

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the tippity-top of Egypt and less ships go between Europe and the Indian Ocean

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without sailing all the way around Africa. even today both of those canals

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are used constantly ,which probably has led both canals to tell their therapist. [man stands between canals]

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we feel so used. that's a good thing