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The Men Who Built Weird America

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  • The Men Who Built Weird America

    So, I was watching the History Channel multi-part documentary, "The Men Who Built America." It details in a dramatized faction the lives and businesses of Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, JP Morgan, and Ford as they built their fortunes in Rail, Oil, Steel, Electricity and Automobiles, and how the world was changed by it. However, I couldn't help but think about how things would be different if we were watching this series in the Deadlands Setting.

    Surely Hellstromme would be in the documentary as well, but it comes to mind the question of how things would be different in this setting. How would the history of these people change, what differences in the way they do things would happen? I'd like to discuss this with people and see what others think. Please give some feedback. how are these individuals' lives change. I doubt they would just give up, as each one pursued their avenues of business like a hungry dog pursuing a raw steak. So please. Discuss.

  • #2
    For Deadlands, it should be The Men and Women Who Built Weird America.

    Comment


    • #3
      Rail is easy, look at the history of the Rail Wars.
      I am not sure oil ever really took off. Sure there is some usage but with the discovery of spook juice (see Hell on Earth) oil would have been relegated to plastics and other derivatives.
      Steel, or more specifically Ghost Steel, would probably have had mostly the same history. There would have been some changes as a result of the Rail Wars and the division between North and South. In the long run though I think it would have been close to our history.
      Electricity. Hmm... This one is a bit harder. With all the weird science stuff out there Tesla may get the credit he deserves. As a result the fight for "Power Barron" would be a lot more convoluted.
      Automobiles would, I think, progress in much the same way as Steel. The only added 'complication' would be the more about North/South instead of USA/Europe/Japan.

      At least that is my take on things.
      I have way too much time but do not always edit myself properly. Please do not take offense.

      Comment


      • ValhallaGH
        ValhallaGH commented
        Editing a comment
        Deadlands Noir provides a surprising amount of information about the industrial outcomes of the early 20th century.

    • #4
      I wasn't just looking for "go here and reference this book." I wanted to create an actual discussion about the subject. After all the history of a setting is just as important the adventures.

      As an example, according to Hell on Earth, Spook Juice and the ghost rock liquidation process wasn't invented until the 1976 oil crisis. Up until that point automobiles used conventional petroleum gasoline or were holdovers from the days of steam-driven horseless carriages. As for oil-based derivatives, that includes asphalt, paraffin, lubricating oil, grease, diesel, heating oil, cooking oil, plastics, and kerosene. That last product is of great importance, as most places were lit by kerosene lanterns until the use of electricity became widespread.

      This tells us a lot. During the 1770s-1780s (the setting for the Weird West), kerosene was still king in the area of lighting. Ghost rock science may have introduced readily available electricity earlier, but the volatile nature of ghost rock means that electricity was still a luxury item until Edison was released from his contracts in Fort 51. This fact means that JP Morgan may not have contacted him until much later or may not have even been a contributing factor in the creation of Edison Electric (in our world later renamed to General Electric, or GE).

      Ghost rock inventions would also increase the sales of lubricating and hydraulic oils, increasing the need refinement. So I think it's safe to say that oil refining (the wheelhouse of Rockefeller) would be a safe and profitable business, potentially even more so since lubricating and hydraulic oils would be more of a thing.

      But as I said, I wanted to start a discussion and get people talking about this. So by all means, I would like to hear more discussions on the subject. Theorizing and brainstorming is one of the best parts of setting building.

      Please, let us discuss more.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by jesternario View Post
        I wasn't just looking for "go here and reference this book." I wanted to create an actual discussion about the subject.
        Okay. Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, JP Morgan, and Ford are all either nobodies, dead, or never born by the time of Deadlands: Noir (the 1930's).
        Those gentlemen came to wealth and power in the chaos, rebuilding, and technological revolution following the U.S. Civil War. Those factors are completely different in the Deadlands history.

        In their stead are the various heirs to the Great Rail Wars.

        "Baron" Simon LaCroix and Bayou Vermilion were in and around the oil fields of Louisiana and Texas; I don't care how ruthless Rockefeller was considered to be, he won't hold up to a swarm or battle-hardened walkin' dead.

        The mogul with the skills and resources to challenge Bayou Vermilion was former head of Black River, Mina Devlin. I say former because Black River was dissolved by the end of the GRW and led to the creation of Pentacorp (Black River Industries, Hexaco Oil Company, Thayer Pharmaceuticals, Black Investment Group, and Genetech). Mina Devlin, and her heirs, was a major player in transportation, oil, drugs, banking, and biological research and development. The Devlins were a major power for years, until the whole black magic scandal resulted in a posse of angry Rangers to clear out the Coven. Until the fall of the house of Devlin (around 2000), competing against Pentacorp was not for the mundane - by the time of the Last War only Wassatch Industries (still led by Darius himself) competed with them for international influence and political power.

        Darius Hellstromme. Enough said, in my opinion.

        Kang. Warlord, pirate, enlightened martial artist, founder and CEO of Iron Dragon, dark wizard, and would be nation-builder. While losing the GRW, and the lucrative contracts it provided, prevents him from raising "new nation" money, he still has the resources to build an industrial empire. International shipping, trade and mining in and around the Sioux Nations, exploration and exploitation of the Great Maze, and all the illicit businesses associated with asian criminal organizations (human trafficking, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, etc.).

        Originally posted by jesternario View Post
        During the 1770s-1780s (the setting for the Weird West),
        Did you mean the 1870's? Because that's a century of difference.
        I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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        • #6
          I'd like to think that Buckminster Fuller had a hand in the development of the Junkyard Skydome. IIRC in the real world he actually proposed such a construct for Manhattan.
          You're rational, sir. It's only us crazy people who get to swap out realities on a whim.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by ValhallaGH View Post
            Okay. Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, JP Morgan, and Ford are all either nobodies, dead, or never born by the time of Deadlands: Noir (the 1930's).
            Those gentlemen came to wealth and power in the chaos, rebuilding, and technological revolution following the U.S. Civil War. Those factors are completely different in the Deadlands history.

            In their stead are the various heirs to the Great Rail Wars.

            "Baron" Simon LaCroix and Bayou Vermilion were in and around the oil fields of Louisiana and Texas; I don't care how ruthless Rockefeller was considered to be, he won't hold up to a swarm or battle-hardened walkin' dead.

            The mogul with the skills and resources to challenge Bayou Vermilion was former head of Black River, Mina Devlin. I say former because Black River was dissolved by the end of the GRW and led to the creation of Pentacorp (Black River Industries, Hexaco Oil Company, Thayer Pharmaceuticals, Black Investment Group, and Genetech). Mina Devlin, and her heirs were a major player in transportation, oil, drugs, banking, and biological research and development. The Devlins were a major power for years, until the whole black magic scandal resulted in a posse of angry Rangers to clear out the Coven. Until the fall of the house of Devlin (around 2000), competing against Pentacorp was not for the mundane - by the time of the Last War only Wassatch Industries (still led by Darius himself) competed with them for international influence and political power.

            Darius Hellstromme. Enough said, in my opinion.

            Kang. Warlord, pirate, enlightened martial artist, founder and CEO of Iron Dragon, dark wizard, and would be nation-builder. While losing the GRW, and the lucrative contracts it provided, prevents him from raising "new nation" money, he still has the resources to build an industrial empire. International shipping, trade and mining in and around the Sioux Nations, exploration and exploitation of the Great Maze, and all the illicit businesses associated with asian criminal organizations (human trafficking, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, etc.).


            Did you mean the 1870's? Because that's a century of difference.
            I disagree with this a bit. I'm sure that Vanderbilt obviously didn't have a monopoly on rail around New York (or may have, they don't really go into the east all that much, he could've still built Grand Central Station), but to say he was a nobody doesn't fit. If someone else built Grand Central, I'll agree he didn't exist.

            Rockefeller and Carnegie weren't rail barons. Their money was made in oil refining and steel production, respectively. So I still think they'd have a hand in those industries. I'm pretty sure that Carnegie would've been a major manufacturer of ghost steel, allowing him to be of great importance to Hellstromme at the very least, since he insisted on using ghost steel for his rail-lines, and I don't think the man would have a problem with outsourcing to a company that would have a higher output. Historically, J.P. Morgan eventually bought out Carnegie Steel. I think Hellstromme would do that eventually instead.

            Rockefeller, on the other hand would probably still be a wealthy man thanks to oil refining, which at the time would make kerosene, lubricating, and hydraulic oil, which were big business. The fact that oil-based products would still be a thing well into the 2070s is in little doubt, in my opinion. This tells me that in all likelihood, Hexeco most likely is a competitor to Standard Oil and its subsidaries, or may have eventually bought them out. Though Hexeco is an obvious analog to our world's Texaco, which is a competitor to Chevron, which came from Standard Oil's dissolution after the anti-trust suit against that company, so I'm guessing the competitor to Standard Oil is more likely.

            As for Ford, he still invents the model T. That model is mentioned by name in the equipment section of Deadlands Noir.

            I DID mean 1870-1880. Thank you for catching that. And thank you for giving me your input. It has given me some new thoughts and allowed my own though processes to continue in new directions I hadn't considered.

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