While some say that recent advances in technology are indicators that we are in the golden age of innovation, others say that this is simply a depressing era due to multiple factors -- many economic. New York Times staffer Neil Irwin gives you a short tour of America in 1870, 1920, 1970, and the present day to see which era was/is the height of innovation.

Here is some of the innovation that was seen during 1870:

The most fundamental shift over those decades was that the American home became, in Mr. Gordon’s word, “networked.” Houses that were once dark and isolated were becoming intertwined. They were starting to be connected to electric grids, providing clean, bright light without emitting smoke. Urban water networks supplied clean water, and sewer systems removed waste without the pungent odors of chamber pots and outhouses.

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