Brahms witnessed a period of staggering scientific and technological advances throughout Europe and the burgeoning USA. The nineteenth century offered new modes of transportation: musicians could now travel to distant cities to perform. With this mobility came the need for standardisation, both of technological devices as well as musical parameters, such as concert pitch, which varied considerably among cities. Brahms was both interested in, and delighted by, advances which related to music and its performance, from train travel to new research in the natural sciences. Indeed, he became an interlocutor with a number of leading natural scientists of the period.
By the 1830s, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing in Britain, and German cities were slowly experiencing the effects of mechanisation. A crucial development in both production and communications was the steam engine, which powered factory machinery, facilitating mass production.