STS150 - Review Concepts - Exam 3                      pgs. 143-231 (Chapters 7-9, 10 about Edison)

Exam 3: Thursday, May 5 at 1:35 pm

Office Hours: Wednesday, May 4,  I will be in my office in 213 Frable Bldg from 2-4pm

For each question/issue, be able to support your statements with examples from class, and the course text.


You will be permitted a hand-written “cheat sheet”: one side of an 8.5x11” sheet of paper which you will turn in with your exam.

These review questions are smaller and more general than the questions you will see on the exam. Several may be combined together into 4-6 more specific questions on the exam, of which you will need to answer 2 questions in 60 minutes. 

1)      What are the advantages and disadvantages of using charcoal to smelt iron? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using coal to smelt iron? What is “coke”? Why was there an energy crisis in the 1500’s? (Abraham Darby, 1709, Coalbrookdale, Henry VIII, 1556, Royal Navy)


2)      What was revolutionary about Thomas Newcomen’s invention in 1712? How was it used? Why was it needed? In what way was Watt’s version an improvement?



3)      What are the advantages and disadvantages of canals? How did they contribute to the Industrial Revolution in Britain? In America?


4)      How did Trevethic improve the steam engine in the early 1800’s? How did these modifications contribute to the first “long distance” railway in Britian in 1825?



5)      What are the advantages and disadvantages of railroads? How did they revolutionize industry? How did they affect the lives of middle class families? Why was the impact of railroads greater than the impact of canals in America?


6)      How were American social values different from those in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries? What were the reasons for these differences? How did this affect the American version of the Industrial Revolution?



7)      How was the availability of raw materials different between America and Britian in the 18th and 19th centuries? How did this affect the American version of the Industrial Revolution?


8)      How did the demand for manufactured goods vary between America and Britian in the 18th and 19th centuries? How did this affect the American version of the Industrial Revolution? (Slater, Lowell)



9)      How was the availability of skilled and unskilled labor different between America and Britian in the 18th and 19th centuries? How did this affect the American version of the Industrial Revolution? (Evans, Eli Whitney)


10)  How was the threat of military invasion different between America and Britian in the 19th centuries? How did this affect the American version of the Industrial Revolution? (Pax Britannia, Napoleonic Wars, Civil War, World War 1, Eli Whitney)


11)  What features made Pittsburgh an attractive production center during the American Industrial Revolution? Why was Bessemer’s (& Kelley’s) invention important? How did Carnegie use it to make millions?



12)  Why was Edwin Drake’s discovery important? How did Rockefeller exploit this discovery? What were the threats to Rockefeller’s business? What technological developments increased the demand for Rockefeller’s services? Why is the internal combustion engine more efficient (smaller and more powerful) than a steam engine?


13)  What innovations did Henry Ford introduce to American industry?  Although costly, how did Ford justify these improvements?



14)  American industry is characterized by a continual drive to lower production costs to make products affordable to more customers (“democratize” their products). How does this practice compare to industrial practices in Britain? Although the process of “democratization” makes goods more affordable to American consumers, how can it be bad for American workers? How can it encourage the abuse of laws?


15)  Why did petroleum become linked to military power during World War 1 (1914-18)? How was this development reflected in the control of petroleum resources from 1908 – 1930’s? Why did the movements to “nationalize” oil production develop in the 1930’s?



16)  From 1859-1940’s, the United States was the world’s leading consumer, producer, and exporter of petroleum. Why was the US only the leading consumer by 1960? What was the significance of ARAMCO to Saudi Arabia?


17)  Why was petroleum central to World War 2? How did the Cold War affect American relations with Iran in the 1950’s?


18)  Besides transportation and energy (heat/electricity), what are three major uses of petroleum in America today? Being almost completely reliant on inexpensive petroleum, what can America do to survive in a world of rapidly rising oil prices? (advantages and disadvantages of each: invade (military or corporate), conserve, recycle, “clean” and “dirty” alternatives)


19)  Discuss how and why American farming is dependent on petroleum. Why don’t farm-based “energy-saving” options, like using ethanol produced from corn, actually save any energy?


20)  What are the major types of plastic (thermosetting, thermoplastic, elastomer)? Why is plastic such a desirable and useful material? How can the properties of plastics be manipulated? How are plastics formed? (monomers, polymers, polymerization)

Additional Notes to the text: these are incomplete and do not include much of the info from class lectures and films:

Evolution or Revolution

Passing the Torch

From Oil to the American Dream

Polymerization and plastics

Common exam mistakes:

1) Vagueness:

As I see it, you are being tested on two different kinds of knowledge: 

- factual, such as the specific names, dates, places, events, etc.
- conceptual, such as understanding why different atomic bonds behave differently.

Facts are treacherous because they must be memorized, and end up being right or wrong ("reduction was possible by 6000 BC"). Concepts must be understood, but are perhaps easier to learn because they can often be simply deduced from common sense ("people will fight when they get overcrowded"). The questions on the exam will be about concepts, which you should support and explain by citing factual examples. The most common mistake that students make on my exams is the unsupported or unexplained statement of fact. Avoid making historical statements without explaining why you are doing it. ("black and red pottery from Catal Huyuk suggests that reduction was possible by 6000 BC”)

2) Failure to address the question asked:

Remember, you are being graded on how well you answer the questions on the exam. Occasionally, students will, instead, write about what they know best. At a minimum, you must address/answer the question that is asked on the exam… tangential/unrelated information, even if it is correct and from class, will not be worth many points, if any. An incomplete answer to an exam question is better than a complete answer to a question not on the exam. Of course, a complete answer is better than an incomplete one, so make sure you address all parts of a question as well.

3) Time Management:

Every exam, some of my best students seem to end the answer to their second question with “sorry, I just ran out of time”. This is not because they were slow writers or thinkers, but rather because they attempted to write 100% of what they knew about each question. This exam is designed to be written in 60 minutes… 30 minutes per question. I do not expect your answers to be equivalent to an essay you could write at home at your leisure. Remember, your peers are working under the same time constraints. I will announce the time every 15 minutes to help you pace yourselves.