I have this book on my shelf: Editor T. White, "Our Wonderful Progress, The World's Triumphant Knowledge and Works," (1902). 768 pages.
It turns out the complete text is now available at Google books: https://books.google.com/books?id=ixgBoRvrwmoC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false Have a look. You will see how the public viewed technology and progress in 1902. I think this was a popular book, because printed copies are widely available today from used bookstores for around $50. You will see the extent to which ordinary people understood technology and basic science. This was an optimistic era, as described by Walter Lord: The spirit of an era can’t be blocked out and measured, but it is there nonetheless. And in these brief, buoyant years it was a spark that somehow gave extra promise to life. By the light of this spark, men and women saw themselves as heroes shaping the world, rather than victims struggling through it. (Quoted by me: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJcomparison.pdf) This world fell apart in 1914. As British Foreign Sec. Edward Grey said then: "The lamps are going out all over Europe: we shall not see them lit again in our life-time." He was right. We have never recovered, and perhaps we never will. I doubt that mankind will ever be so blithely optimistic again, or so willing to trust in science, technology and progress. Perhaps that is a good thing. - Jed