Article ID: CBB283815069

Speed is a Virtue: Travel in the Mid-Nineteenth Century United States (2015)


In 1830 the Lancaster, Ohio school board observed with one voice that if God had meant "his creatures" to travel at the "frightful speed of 15 miles per hour He would have foretold it through His holy prophets." Twenty-five years later English tourist Charles Weld recorded a harrowing journey he made from Cumberland, Md. to Washington, D.C. Trying to make up for time lost in delays, the conductor pressed the train faster and faster. Soon the train lurched from side to side with such violence that the cars began to come apart around the passengers. To almost no one's surprise, the train eventually jumped the track. Emerging from the wreck (lucky to be alive), Weld castigated the conductor, but to his amazement none of the other passengers joined him: indeed, most applauded the conductor's efforts to recoup the lost time. How can we reconcile these two stories?

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Authors & Contributors
Reutter, Mark
Angevine, Robert G.
Hyde, Charles K.
Channon, Geoffrey
Herr, Kincaid A.
Beverley Cole
Railroad History
Technology and Culture
Technology's Stories
Georgia Historical Quarterly
Social Science History
Kentucky, University of
Könemann/Tandem Verlag GmbH
Kent State University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
New York University Press
Velocity; speed
Land transportation
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
United States
Ohio (U.S.)
Wisconsin (U.S.)
Michigan (U.S.)
Great Britain
Pennsylvania (U.S.)
United States. Army
Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village (Michigan)
Pennsylvania Railroad
New York Central Railroad Company

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