History of Technology 2: Why Were Cars Such a Big Deal?

Why were cars such a big deal? Easy. They got us to Big Macs faster. ...Okay, and they did some other things. Check out this video to find out more.

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TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

00:26

surprising after all humans have addictive personalities when it comes to

00:30

technology. Raleigh salivating over the next big

00:33

thing. and back then that was the car. so what did cars do that was such a big

00:38

deal? well for one thing they changed where we lived and how we lived. before

00:43

the age of cheap personal transportation most people lived near where they work.

00:48

if people had fancy business jobs in the city well they pretty much had to live [man walks donkey through a shopping street]

00:52

in the city. it was that or a long hike to work and businessmen didn't want to

00:57

ignore their shoes. if people lived in the country their job options were

01:02

pretty much well farming or farming or farming. people didn't commute to work

01:10

except a few folks who were starting to use electric trolleys or short line

01:14

trains, but if they had a car they can live 15 miles outside of town and still

01:19

have all the job opportunities of living in the city.

01:22

and it turned out that people liked the idea of moving out of town. they wanted a

01:27

whole home and yard to themselves rather than a cramped apartment where the

01:31

kitchen doubled as a bathroom. yeah bonus of having home finally having a place to

01:36

put those garden gnomes. well Levittown New York became the first official [man surrounded by junk]

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suburb in 1947. it was a series of nearly identical homes built in neat rows and

01:47

they were sold to upper middle-class white folk who worked in the city. yep it

01:51

was the birth of the burbs. the automobile boom also made other

01:55

industries boom too. take oil and rubber companies for instance for car robbers

02:01

neither would be what they are today without the automobile. and what do cars

02:05

need to run? well gasoline. yeah the oil and automobile industries were totally

02:10

BFFs forever. and mention electric cars all right well.

02:15

as cars got more popular more average Joe consumers needed gas and oil so the

02:20

oil industry exploded. not literally. that would be terrifying. but the figurative

02:25

explosion made some people very very rich like john d rockefeller the man [oil well pulls up money out of the ground]

02:29

behind Standard Oil and one of the richest guys ever. seriously it was like

02:33

money spewed from those oil wells. cars also made the rubber industry huge

02:39

because of the need for tires. just imagine trying to drive a car without

02:43

rubber wheels. what else would wheels be made of wood?

02:46

and they last maybe a day tops steel like riding inside of a rock tumbler. no

02:53

rubber wheels absorb shock and we're the only way to go. here's a funny thing

02:59

about rubber, it grows on trees no seriously it does. the British

03:04

transplanted rubber trees from South America to plantations in South Asia and [truck hauls trees]

03:08

West Africa. the plantations were pretty awful like chopping off the hands of

03:13

workers and causing genocide kind of awful. luckily in 1931 someone invented

03:19

synthetic rubber made from petroleum products. though the torture factory

03:24

rubber plantations more or less disappeared and in slightly happier

03:28

things cars also helped create the fast-food industry, national campgrounds

03:33

and a new kind of an American identity. so the next time we eat a big mac while

03:38

camping we have cars to thank. so if we're eating a Big Mac while camping and

03:42

we may have somehow missed the point there. [family in front of tent]