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The Ongoing Technological System by Smaïl Aït-El-Hadjait

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3The Contemporary Technological System Emerges from the Previous One or the Third Technological Revolution

3.1. The second industrial technological system

The second Industrial Revolution, whose initial developments originated between the 1870s and the 1890s, has only recently been identified as a major moment of technological advancement [LAN 75]. It was a period of change, transition and development of a wave of new generic technologies, generating new industries initially creating a whole range of new products that we refer to as the “mechanical-electro-chemical” system, or second technological industrial system, and which would last until the end of the 1970s.

3.1.1. The new generic technologies at the origin of this second system

The new technological universe that emerged at the end of the 19th Century was structured by four currents of new generic technologies: a current of new materials initially centered on metallurgy, a revolution in mechanics, the birth of chemistry, as well as new forms of energy including the very transformative electric power.

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Figure 3.1. General diagram of the second techno-industrial system, 1873–1975

3.1.1.1. The new materials

“If the most important feature of technical activity in the last third of the 19th Century had to be identified, it would be the substitution of iron by steel and the concomitant increase in the consumption of this ...

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