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K. McCoskey EG101 - Tools that Changed Society

Topic Ideas

The following is a list of POSSIBLE topics, but you are by no means limited to what you see here. The keywords are meant to help you start searching for articles about your topics, but it is possible that there are more you could come across during your search.


  • Letter writing

    • keywords: snail mail, letters, writing letters

  • Pony Express and other methods of cross-country mail delivery before our current system

    • keywords: Pony Express, mail, sending letters

  • fax

    • keywords: fax machine, "Electric Printing Telegraph", telecopying, telefax

  • photocopying

    • keywords: photocopier, copier, copy machine, Xerox Machine

  • telegraph

    • keywords: optical telegraph, electric telegraph, Morse code, heliograph

  • teleprinter

    • keywords: TTY, teletype, teletypewriter

  • telephone

    • keywords: phone, switchboard, landline, rotary phones, "the horn"

  • newspapers

    • keywords: periodicals, newsstands, Benjamin Harris, press


  • bicycles

    • keywords: bike, cycle, cyclist, bicyclist, bicycle racing, carrier service

  • trains

    • keywords: rail transport, railroad, railway track, passenger train, AMTRAK

  • automobiles

    • keywords: cars, motor vehicle, steam-powered vehicles, locomotives

  • airplanes

    • keywords: aeroplane, aviation, aircraft, Amelia Earheart, jet airliner

  • U.S. highway system

    • keywords: United States numbered highway system, federal highways, auto trail organizations

  • steamboats

    • keywords: steam engines, John Fitch, paddle steamers

  • trolley cars

    • keywords: trams, streetcars, electric tramway, coal trams

  • subways
    • keywords: rapid transit, mass rapid transit, heavy rail, metro, 
  • elevated trains
    • keywords: El train, viaduct, Liverpool Overhead Railway


  • T.V.

    • keywords: television, Charles Francis Jenkins, cameras, color television, black and white

  • Radio

    • keywords: radio waves, Heinrich Hertz, radio broadcasting

  • Film

    • keywords: movie, motion picture, moving picture

  • Photography

    • keywords: images, photographic film, prints

  • Phonograph (and other non-digital forms of music hearing:  CDs, cassette tapes, walkmans, etc)

    • keywords: CDs, cassette tapes, walkmans, gramophone, record player

Other -- significant inventions that have made life more convenient.

  • Microwave
    • keywords: communication, radar, heating and power, spectroscopy (There are many uses for microwaves besides heating your food!) 
  • Dishwasher
    • keywords: Joel Houghton, Josephine Cochrane
  • Laundry machines
    • keywords: washing machine, clothes washer, washer
  • Field-specific tools (construction, health sciences, etc.)
  • transatlantic cable
    • keywords: undersea cables, submarine cables
  • electricity
    • keywords: electric charge, electromagnetism, electric power, electronics
  • dams
    • keywords: reservoirs, hydropower, Roman dams
  • canals
    • keywords: Panama Canal, Suez Canal, artificial waterway