My undergraduate work was in sociology, specifically surrounding unique American social myths (I had a think for cowboys and the stories of the west). I still think it would be fun to do further education in that field, and my interest in sociology is integral to the way that I think theologically. I have my notes on it packed away, and it will be a project for further research, but I think that the modern idea of an apocalypse is an example of a broad sociological shift starting the mid 1850's.
Google Ngram is part of the Google books project. It allows you to search keywords throughout the digitized library and it creates a graph noting when the word had the most usage in its library. I played around with it this weekend, and came up with a few interesting graphs. Here is one of them.
The three words have interesting information. Blue (notating the use of the term antichrist) has a huge spike from the range of 1805 to 1870, peaking in around 1820. This is roughly the same time as a major American fascination with eschatology begun...the premillennial dispensationalism theology was just one of the new movements at this time. A good resource to understand this period is Discovering an Evangelical Heritage
Both Apocalypse (Red) and Eschatology (Green) are almost dormant during this time. They start to rise around 1860. I would imagine this can be credited to the societal turmoil at the beginning of the American Civil War. This was a very tumultuous time in American Christianity due to the ideas of utopianism, evangelism, and religious fanaticism that are characterized in this era. We also see another spike in around 1915, at the point of World War I. Around 1941-1942 we see all three categories start to rise considerably. What is interesting is the red and green peak in the late 1990's along with blue starting to take a steady rise upwards.
Some of the data surrounding the term apocalypse could be skewed, because that word has shifted from a primary theological role and more into a cultural idea, but that is part of the data that makes it interesting.
This is really basic data, and its trustworthiness is subject to some questions, but it at least shows a basic drift of when some keywords surrounding the idea of "end" were popular in American literature. This was a quick look I took as I continue to research and think about how the West thinks about the end of times. I hope that I can spend more time working on this type of thought in the next few months.