Did you read the post?
Although this is a condescending question, I will answer it: yes, I did. A question like this presupposes that I either
- post carelessly and mindlessly, without reading first what I am posting about, or
- I did read, but wasn't capable of grasping the point that you so obviously stated
So, once again, the question is: what is the point of of compering 19th century technology with 21st one? To show the superiority (in terms of its human aspect) of the latter? Well, duh! That Japanese managerial and engineering philosophy of the 20th and 21st century is superior to their (and our) 19th century one? Well, duh!
The beauty and significance of the 19th and early 20th century engineering is to be seen within their respective centuries' ethos, not today standards. Compared with 18th century and earlier, it was a magnificent progress for the humanity, even with its child labor and 16-hour workdays. It was a historic step that enabled us to have the politically correct engineering of today.
So, yes, depending whether you see a glass as half-full or half-empty, you can see such machinery as a symbol of child labor or a symbol of humanity's historic progress. Or both, as most sensible people do, depending on context.
Not to mention that, with a keen and discerning eye, you can see beauty in almost anything.