From David Nye’s American Technological Sublime:
“Writing of the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876, Walt Whitman proclaimed:
Mightier than Egypt’s tombs,
Fairer than Grecia’s, Roma’s temples.
Prouder than Milan’s statued, spired cathedral,
More picturesque than Rhenish castle-keeps,
We plan even not to raise, beyond them all,
The great cathedral sacred industry, no tomb,
A keep for life of practical invention*.
‘Sacred industry’ rivaled the religious architecture of antiquity; in America technological achievements became measures of cultural value.”
* “Practical invention” was one of several phrases then commonly used to designate what we would today call “technology.”