Charles Ruskin, "The Cestus of Aglaia", 1865:
"Here is one, for instance, lying at the base of all the rest -- namely, what may be the real dignity of mechanical Art itself? I cannot express the amazed awe, the crushed humility, with which I sometimes watch a locomotive take its breath at a railway station, and think what work there is in its bars and wheels, and what manner of men they must be who dig brown iron-stone out of the ground,and forge it into THAT! What assemblage of accurate and mighty faculties in them; more than fleshly power over melting crag and coiling fire, fettered, and finessed at last into the precision of watchmaking; Titanian hammer strokes beating...these glittering cylinders and timely-respondent valves, and fine ribbed rods, which touch each other as a serpent writhes, in noiseless gliding, and omnipotence of grasp; infinitely complex anatomy of active steel, compared with which the skeleton of a living creature would seem, to a careless observer, clumsy and vile -- a mere morbid secretion and phosphatous prop of flesh! What would the men who thought out this -- who beat it out, who touched it into its polished calm of power, who set it to its appointed task, and triumphantly saw it fulfill this task to the utmost of their will -- feel or think about this weak hand of mine, timidly leading a little stain of water-colour, which I cannot manage, into an imperfect shadow of something else -- mere failure in every motion, and endless disappointment; what, I repeat, would these Iron-dominant Genii think of me? And what ought I to think of them?"
Rudyard Kipling, "Letters":
"The way collisions at sea come about is this... the iron in the mine and under the hammer, and in the plates and engine-room, has a sort of blind lust beaten into it, for to meet and I suppose nautically to copulate with other iron and steel being linked into the frame of another ship. All the seven seas over, the ship yearns for its mate, tearing along under moon and cloud...rusting in dock; and so forth. At last comes the bridal night ‹ wind, current, and set of the sea aiding, while the eyes of men are held, and steamer meets steamer in a big kiss, and sink down to cool off in the waterbeds."
Samuel Butler, "Life and Habit":
"Machines are to be regarded as the mode of development by which the human organism is now especially advancing, every past invention being an addition to the resources of the human body. Even community of limbs is thus rendered possible to those who have so much community of soul as to own money enough to pay a railway fare; for a train is only a seven-leagued foot that five hundred may own at once."
H.G. Wells, "Certain Personal Matters," 1901:
"Man does now by wit and machinery and verbal agreement what he once did by bodily toil; for once he had to catch his dinner, capture his wife, run away from his enemies, and continually exercise himself, for love of himself, to perform these duties well. But now all this is changed. Cabs, trains, trams, render speed unnecessary... Athleticism takes up time and cripples a man in his competitive examinations, and in business. So is your fleshly man handicapped against his subtler brother He is unsuccessful in life, does not marry. The better adapted survive."
H. G. Wells, "The War of the Worlds":
"The perfection of mechanical appliances must ultimately supersede limbs... The tendency of natural selection would lie in the direction of their steady diminution through the coming ages... We men, with our bicycles and road-skates, our Lilienthal soaring-machines, our guns and sticks and so forth, are just in the beginning of the evolution that the Martians have worked out. They have become practically mere brains, wearing different bodies according to their needs just as men wear suits of clothes and take a bicycle in a hurry or an umbrella in the wet."