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The March of the Intellect. Etching. This print satirizes the social effects of steam power. Both technological innovation and modern architecture are ridiculed. Steam power is blamed for the breakdown of distinctions between the social classes. This is illustrated in the central scene by a dustman eating a pineapple which used to be a luxury fruit, and his companion an ice cream. Steamboat services for passengers were introduced on the Thames in 1815. Steamboats were faster and more reliable than sailing vessels. As services developed, competition between rival companies became fierce, and the river was at times dangerously congested. Accommodation on board offered high standards of comfort, with handsome sofas, mahogany tables and large mirrors. Food and drink were served in the saloons and passengers were provided with playing cards and draughtboards. On-board entertainment was also supplied by a musical band or orchestra.
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