Step by step man’s inventiveness had been applied to improving his living conditions; now man was by the use of machines, to multiply the power of his muscles.
Fontana’s great but relatively inefficient concentration of human and animal musle-power and the gigantic “machine” at Marly indicate the boundaries of technology at that time, when men were used far more widely than machines.
Nevertheless, early in the seventeenth century Francis Bacon began to call for a new science which should have as its object “to endow human life with new powers and inventions.” In 1627, he attempted to foresee the future, in his picture of Nova Atlantis.
Thus, Bacon envisaged entire branches of twentieth-century technology as forming an enormously extended field of human activities, including factories, ships, submarines, vehicles, aircraft, and robots. Some 250 years later, the Austrian poet Adalbert Stifter wrote: What would happen if they could transmit news with lightening speed or travel themselves rapidly to the furthest corners of the world, and transport heavy loads at the same speed? He was convinced that in time they should be able to do this. How far this progress would extend, how it would come, and how it would end, would which human intelligence cannot fathom; but it seemed certain to him that a new way of thinking and a new manner of life would come, even though all that is deepest in a man’s physical and spiritual nature remains unchanged. Since then, science and technology have largely transformed their world, but how much opposition they had to overcome before reaching this point.
As the steam engine gradually spread the revolt of the workmen- the first industrial revolution in history started principally in England, which thanks to the fortunate concurrence of several factors-had at that time a leading place.