8 Groundbreaking Inventions from the Second Industrial Revolution

8 Groundbreaking Inventions from the Second Industrial Revolution

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The Second Industrial Revolution, which lasted from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, saw a surge of new technology and inventions that led to dramatic changes in the economy and how people lived and worked in Europe, Great Britain and especially the United States.

Steel mills, chemical plants and massive factories pumped out vast quantities of consumer goods, electric light and power advanced and new forms of transportation and communication connected people more than ever before. Mechanized farm equipment changed how food was produced, and transformed agriculture into a big industry.

It also was a period when innovators dared to dream big and take great risks, either by devising new inventions or finding ways to make existing products more efficiently. As a result, some made enormous fortunes.

“One of the reasons for this period of great inventiveness from the 1870s-1920s, was the growing complexity and interdependence of production processes, which allowed designers and engineers to identify key bottlenecks and points of inefficiency that slowed or blocked progress,” explains Philip Scranton, emeritus professor of the history of industry and technology at Rutgers University, and author of Endless Novelty: Specialty Production and American Industrialization, 1865-1925. “Tackling those challenges successfully could yield patents and profits, serious incentives for taking a shot at a solution.”

Here are eight significant inventions from the Second Industrial Revolution.

The Air Brake

Trains were invented before the Second Industrial Revolution, but there were frequent accidents because slowing and stopping them was a cumbersome process. Then came George Westinghouse, a largely self-taught engineer who dropped out of college after three months because he was too busy inventing things. In 1872, he obtained a patent for an ingenious system that used air pressure to keep train brakes off; when the train’s engineer reduced the pressure, the brakes slowed the wheels and the train came to a precise stop. Westinghouse’s air brakes helped make possible the rapid growth of railroads as a safe, reliable means to transport people and goods across the country.

WATCH: Modern Marvels on HISTORY Vault

The Light Bulb

Thomas Edison, perhaps the most famous inventor in American history, created many of his numerous innovations, from the phonograph and the movie camera to the alkaline storage battery, during the Second Industrial Revolution. But perhaps his most influential breakthrough was his invention and marketing of the first incandescent light bulb that was long-lasting and practical for wide use.

Edison came up with the idea of putting a carbonized bamboo filament inside a vacuum bulb, and then heating it to produce light. He kept tinkering with his creation and eventually improved his bulbs so much that they could last for 1,200 hours. Edison’s “electric lamp,” for which he obtained a patent in January 1880, illuminated homes and businesses across the nation, and helped create an indoor culture that defined its days by the clock rather than by sunrise and sundown.

READ MORE: When Thomas Edison Turned Night Into Day

Petroleum Refining

In the early 1900s, William Burton, a chemist and executive for the Standard Oil Co. in Indiana, developed a process in which crude oil was placed inside a container and heated until it reached a temperature of over 700 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the oil broke down into simpler, more useful byproducts. Burton “gave us the array of distillates that runs from fuel oil to gasoline to petrochemical basics,” explains Scranton. “No cracking, no interstate highways.”

The QWERTY Typewriter Keyboard

Like many modern inventions, the typewriter wasn’t the result of a single genius, but was gradually developed by a succession of visionaries starting in the mid-1700s. But it wasn’t until the 1870s that the first really practical typewriters went on sale. In 1878, typing visionary Christopher Latham Sholes, a former journalist and customs inspector, came up with the idea of equipping a typewriter with a QWERTY keyboard, whose arrangement of letters was designed to slow typists’ fingers slightly and prevent typewriters from jamming.

The QWERTY keyboard triumphed over other arrangements of keys, and became the popular system of choice. Mark Twain used the system to type his 1883 novel Life on the Mississippi, which may have been the first literary work composed on a typewriter.

READ MORE: How the Second Industrial Revolution Changed People's Lives

The Skyscraper

Chicago’s Home Insurance Building, completed in 1885, was the first modern skyscraper with a metal frame, which allowed for a taller building without the enormous weight of traditional brickwork. Engineer and architect William Le Baron Jenney devised the design, which utilized steel I-beams rolled at the Carnegie mill in Pittsburgh.

It was the first use of steel in a building in the United States, and marked the start of an age in which tall office buildings and office towers would rise in urban downtowns across the nation. This shift dramatically altered the look of cities and made it possible for much larger numbers of people to live and work in them.

READ MORE: 10 Surprising Facts About the Empire State Building

The Tractor

Before the advent of mechanized agriculture, farmers had to devote a portion of their acreage to raising grain to feed horses and mules since these animals helped them to work the land. By the 1890s, farmers were already using steam-powered machines, but the machines were cumbersome and dangerous, since a spark from the boiler could set fire to a field.

But an Iowa inventor named John Froelich devised a solution. With the help of his mechanic, Will Mann, Froelich replaced the steam apparatus with a single-cylinder gasoline-powered engine. After trying out the modified machine in South Dakota’s big fields, he showed it to some Iowa businessmen, who formed the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company. The business took a while to get in gear, but by 1914, its Model R Waterloo Boy Tractor became a big seller, according to the Froelich Tractor Museum. Gas-powered tractors proved pivotal in boosting agricultural productivity and enabling American farmers to feed a growing population.

The Safety Razor

Back in the days when men’s only choice for shaving was a straight razor that had to be regularly sharpened with a strap, it was safer and more convenient just to grow a beard.

But in 1895, a traveling salesman named King Gillette got the idea for a razor with a handle that used a tiny, disposable metal blade that could be discarded in the trash and replaced when it eventually got dull. Initially, metallurgists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told him the idea wouldn’t work, but eventually, he found an engineer trained at the same university, William Emery, who was able to create the blade. In 1901, Gillette and Nickerson formed the American Safety Razor Company, and Gillette obtained a patent for the safety razor with disposable blades in 1904.

The Wireless

The invention of the telegraph in 1844 made it possible for people to communicate for the first time instantaneously over long distances, but they still were limited by the need to have miles of wires installed to connect the sender and the receiver.

But starting in the mid-1890s, an Italian inventor named Guglielmo Marconi developed a better method—transmitting messages through radio waves. Marconi didn’t get a lot of encouragement in his own country, so he moved to England and formed a wireless telegraph company. By 1899, Marconi’s technology was capable of sending messages across the English channel and from ships.

In 1901, he achieved another, even more spectacular success, when a wireless telegraph station in Cornwall, England successfully transmitted a message across the Atlantic Ocean to another of his stations in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Marconi’s breakthrough was the start of global communications that led to the modern world’s mobile phones and the Internet connecting billions of people.

Significant Inventions During the Technological Revolution

Transportation Revolution

It was one of the significant revolutions that took place during this time. It transformed the way people lived, traveled and worked. Invention of steam engine and internal combustion engine in the 19th century radically modified the transfer of goods and passengers. Adding to it, the advent of automobile and airplanes in the 20th century caused exponential growth in transportation and further revolutionized it.

Automobile: In 1885, Karl Benz’s Motorwagen, powered by internal combustion engine was the first automobile that was invented. It was improvised by Henry Ford and with his marketing skills, the automobile was not far from the reach of people. The automobile’s effect was huge among the people and everybody started to buy it. Also, the automobile industry contributed significant amount to the country’s economic growth.

Transcontinental Railroads: During 1869, transcontinental railroad was built in the United States of America by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific Railroad. It links the United States from east to west.

Model T Ford: Model T is an automobile built in 1908, by Ford motor company. The car was very popular during those times and it was affordable to middle class people also. The assembly line innovation of the Ford company made the car very popular among Americans.

Airplane: Humankind has always dreamed of taking to the sky with inspirations from Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine and mythical wax wings of Daedalus and Icarus. In 1903, two American brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright converted the dreams into reality by building the first real flying machine called ‘Airplane’. Their attempt zapped the people and the 20th century witnessed the most influential growth in transportation.

Communication Revolution

During the 19th century, a series of technological innovations dramatically altered the way of communication, trade, business and exchanging ideas in the world.

Telephone: In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, invented a device called Telephone. His experiments with sound, in order to make the deaf communicate, lead to the invention of telephone. Telephone plays an indispensable role in our lives. Even though, cell phones try to replace telephone these days, the revolutionist Alexander Graham Bell of the 19th century was the pioneer and the revolution he made, took the world to an unimaginable phase.

Transatlantic Signal: In 1901, Marconi demonstrated the first transatlantic signal using Morse Code and Wireless Telegraphy. Wireless telegraphy was invented and widely used in ships for communication, by sending and receiving signals. During 1912, Titanic ship sent distress calls for its rescue to the nearby ships using transatlantic signals from the sea. In 1906, the first human voice signal was transmitted through radio transmissions using the airwaves by Marconi.

Phonograph: In 1877, Thomas Alva Edison invented Phonograph. It is a machine in which rotating records cause a stylus to vibrate and the vibrations are amplified acoustically and electronically.

Military Revolution

Gatling Gun: Richard Gatling, an American inventor invented the Gatling Gun in 1862. This was the first automated machine gun. It spawned a new range of automatic weapons that would go on to become one of the most important in several battles, including the American Civil War and the World Wars.

Torpedo: In 1866, Robert Whitehead, an English engineer, produced the first self-propelled underwater missile. Since then, torpedoes haven’t deviated much from the original design made by Whitehead.

Steel Revolution

In 1850s, a process called ‘Bessemer process’ was developed for the production of steel. The key principle of this process is, removal of impurities from iron by oxidation, in a furnace. The process was widely used in industries and the cost of steel decreased to lower numbers. Mostly iron was used to construct buildings, ships and bridges. But after the revolution, manufacturers and constructors moved to steel.

Electric Power Revolution

In 1870, carbon filament lamp was developed by Sir Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison. This bulb is similar to the electric bulb which we use today. These two scientists combined together and formed a joint company called Swan and Edison. This company produced the first electric bulb. Using Faraday’s principle, electric motor was constructed in 1870. From then, electric motor was accepted as a driving force in transportation industries. Later in 1888, induction electric motor was invented by Nikola Tesla.

The innovations and inventions of the technological revolution are the contributory factors for the modern life that we live today. The scientists and people who made those revolutions are well-thought-of even now, for their altruistic dispositions and intelligence. The technological revolution has increased the standard of our living and still continues to drive our economy.

Modern Management

The mechanization of the manufacturing process allowed workers to be more productive in less time and factories to operate more efficiently.

Learning Objectives

Describe the rise of modern management practices

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Many of the new workers were unskilled laborers who performed simple, repetitive tasks.
  • New systems of management with clear chains of command and complex bureaucratic systems began with railroad companies and spread throughout American businesses.
  • Many new blue-collar jobs appeared in manufacturing, as well as white-collar jobs for managers.
  • By the beginning of the 1900s, the United States had the highest per capita income and industrial production in the world, with per capita incomes double those of Germany and France, and 50 percent higher than those of Britain.

Key Terms

  • mechanization: The use of machinery to replace human or animal labor, especially in agriculture and industry.
  • management: Administration the process or practice of running an organization.
  • efficiency: The extent to which time is well used for the intended task.


Frederick Winslow Taylor: Frederick Winslow Taylor, a mechanical engineer by training, is often credited with inventing scientific management and improving industrial efficiency.

The Gilded Age was marked by increased mechanization in manufacturing. Businesses searched for cheaper and more efficient ways to create products. Corporate officials used various techniques, such as timing their workers with stopwatches and using stop-motion photography, to study the production process and improve efficiency. Frederick Winslow Taylor observed that the use of more advanced machinery could improve efficiency in steel production by requiring workers to make fewer motions in less time. His redesign increased the speed of factory machines and the productivity of factories while undercutting the need for skilled labor. Factories became an assemblage of unskilled laborers performing simple and repetitive tasks under the direction of skilled foremen and engineers. Machine shops, comprised of highly skilled workers and engineers, grew rapidly. The number of unskilled and skilled workers increased as their wage rates grew. Engineering colleges were established to feed the enormous demand for expertise.

Railroad Companies and Management

Railroads gave rise to the development of modern management techniques, such as the use of clear chains of command, statistical reporting, and complex bureaucratic systems. Railroad companies systematized the roles of middle managers and set up explicit career tracks. They hired young men at age 18–21 and promoted them internally until a man reached the status of locomotive engineer, conductor, or station agent at age 40 or so. Career tracks were offered to skilled blue-collar workers and white-collar managers, starting in railroads and expanding into finance, manufacturing, and trade. Together with rapid growth of small business, a new middle class was rapidly growing, especially in northern cities. Extensive national networks for transportation and communication were created. The corporation became the dominant form of business organization, and a managerial revolution transformed business operations. By the beginning of the 1900s, the United States had the highest per capita income and industrial production in the world, with per capita incomes double those of Germany and France, and 50 percent higher than those of Britain.

8 Inventions that Changed Warfare and the Course of History

In prehistoric times, fighting relied on ambushing your target, this until people settled and found ways to fortify their settlements. Fortification was introduced by the sedentary farmers of the nascent civilizations who started accumulating resources beyond their bare necessities. The use of stone and mud replaced wood in building and was the foundation for fortified communities, and eventually city-states. One of the earliest evidence of fortification is found in the ancient city of Uruk, on the Euphrates 2900 BCE. Fortification inspired centuries of siege engineering.

2- The Wooden Chariot

The wooden chariots were labelled the “super weapons” of the ancient world. With two spoked wheels at the back and two or four horses at the fore, the chariot dashed with unprecedented speed creating horror within the enemies’ lines. The wooden chariot was first evident in the Levant in the 1700 BCE. It was used intensively for centuries, but its sudden demise in 1200 BCE has left historians with much to speculate.

3- The Stirrup

While the Romans excelled at siege engineering, the dynamics of warfare remained largely the same until the Middles Ages – the age of knights and horses too. The stirrup arrived in Europe in the 8 th century, giving the knight stability on the horse and rendering his blows (with the lance or sword) more efficient than ever in the battle field. This simple frame that hangs from the saddle to hold the rider’s feet has had massive effect on the use of cavalry in warfare, and probably contributed the flow of literature that revolved around knighthood.

4- The Gunpowder Revolution

This is not only an important warfare technology, it is one of the most crucial inventions in history since its use instigated changes beyond the battlefield. First, this invention devastated the entire feudal order in Europe – skilled knights and fortified castles were easily brought down by the firing of canons. A social shift took place as a result – the commoners rose by virtue of their ability to fire in battles and the nobility slowly dismantled as they lost their military supremacy. The death toll increased significantly in both land and naval warfare after gunpowder, but it its revolutionary effect did not end there. With gunpowder, ‘killing’ became an indifferent matter and an easier task. In land battles, it created a new cycle for the infantry, but one in which killing lacked the honor and courage of the previous centuries. At sea, it unleashed an era of piracy and its presence would enable air warfare a few centuries later. More importantly, gunpowder marked the beginning of ‘chemical power’ in warfare. As Alex Roland put it, “the scale of death and destruction unleashed by war through the remainder of the second millennium CE beggars the human imagination.” Gunpowder first appeared in Europe 1241 and was soon to become the weapon that empowered imperialism.

5- Tanks

Tanks were the chariots of modern warfare. By the beginning of the 20 th century, both the French and the English possessed sophisticated automobile industries and competed to invent an armored fighting vehicle.The tank was inspired by the agricultural tractors, only it was a vehicle that incorporated “armor, firepower, an all-terrain mobility.” The first tank appeared in 1915 in Britain as a ‘Landship’. The French followed shortly and in 1917, the first French tanks appearing on the scene were Renaults. Tanks were first employed in the battlefield during WWI at the battle of Flers-Courcelette, in which the Anglo-French front engaged with the Russians. The model was not mature yet and many broke down, hence initially their results were minimal. However, in the following decades the tank proved to be a forceful weapon as it crossed trenches, infiltrated barbed wire, dispersed infantry and resisted high explosive artillery.

6- The Airplane

The gift of flight altered our world forever, but with a greater opportunity to travel and explore, came equal destruction options. Air warfare first took place in WWI. At the time, these tentative crafts were used mainly for observation and an exchange of fire amongst each other, but by WWII their destruction was full-fledged. Military aircrafts were directed at key targets and resulted in significant civilian causality. Advanced aerodynamics and efforts especially devoted towards engineering more intricate fighter aircrafts have rendered the airplane, the ‘most important weapon of modern warfare since WWII’. Its development inspired other technologies x like the shortwave and long-wave radars, computer networks and long-range navigation systems for more ‘precision bombing’ into being. For historians, WWII was groundbreaking in the history of warfare as it utilized the industrial revolution like no other, and was able to bring much technological inventions to the battlefield.

7- The Nuclear Age

Finally, humans have invented what could potentially end the human community altogether and life on earth as we know it. First used in the aftermath of WWII, the repercussions of the atomic bomb proved to be detrimental, and hence it silently put a halt on interstate wars. Since WWI, the world only witnessed rebellions, insurrections and civil wars. As Alex Roland put it, “a taboo against nuclear war settled on the human community.” It was an invention that forced world peace to some extent, but we all observe anxiously and only speculate the inconceivable repercussions if the taboo were to be broken and another world war would take place.

8- Social Media

The last decade has witnessed a boost in platforms for social interaction and exchange of information. But social media quickly proved to be a double-edged sword. In some cases, it exposes injustices and in others it can result in them. Distorted information and altered footage can direct thought, feed hate and result in outbursts of violence against certain groups. The fact is that its impact is significant and has already proven its ability to mobilize masses, instigate rebellions, and even civil wars. Social media can possibly be a weapon as deadly as some of those mentioned above.

Weaponry reshaped like everything in our lives did. Technological advancements facilitated many aspects of our lives – and equally our death. Every age developed means for more efficient and indifferent killing. Warfare history is a fascinating insight into the darker parts of human ingenuousness. Our urge to control resources has taken us all the way to potentially destroy the very source of those resources and our lives along. What the world needs today are not more military inventions, but minds that can create peace and speak wisdom.

Major Inventions During the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was the result of scientific inventions that led to the mechanization of the textile industry, improved roads and railway networks, and the development of iron-making techniques. A series of inventions had begun at the start of 18th century, which triggered major developments that followed soon after. This ScienceStruck article is about some of the most important and interesting inventions made during the Industrial Revolution.

The Seed Drill

Year – 1701
Developed by – Jethro Tull

Before the invention of the seed drill, seeds were planted by hand. This process was time-consuming and also involved intensive labor. The seed drill was helpful in sowing seeds at specific positions, and covering them too. This device increased the crop yield ratio by about nine times, and also made the sowing process cheaper, as it needed less labor.

Coke Smelting

Year – 1709
Invented by – Abraham Darby I

Earlier, wood and biofuels were used to smelt iron. The use of coal in smelting process, not only helped make the process quicker, but also cheaper. It also helped in getting rid of the extra workforce that was employed for the purpose of wood-cutting, as coal was more abundantly found in most of the surrounding regions.

The Atmospheric Engine/Newcomen Steam Engine

Year – 1712
Invented by – Thomas Newcomen

The atmospheric engine worked on the principle of creating a partial vacuum by condensing steam under a piston, within a cylinder. It was largely used for pumping out water from the mines. Later on, James Watt improvised on the engine, thus, making it technically more efficient.

The Flying Shuttle

Year – 1733
Patented by – John Kay

Invention of the flying shuttle brought about a considerable change in the process of weaving. It worked by allowing the shuttle to carry the weft, that was to be passed through the warp threads, faster over wider clothes, thus, allowing the weaver to produce wider fabrics in lesser duration of time. This, in turn, helped increase the productivity of the weaver, also by reducing the labor involved.

The Lightning Rod

Year – 1749
Invented by – Benjamin Franklin

The lightning rod was aimed to protect buildings during lightning strikes. The rod had a pointed tip, and was grounded to the earth. During a thunderstorm or lightning strike, it would collect the charge and make it neutral by earthing it. Thus, it was able to protect a lot of houses, which were under frequent threat of fires from lightning. It is interesting to note that modern-day lightening rods follow the same principle, which was used by Franklin.

The Spinning Jenny

Year – 1764
Invented by – James Hargreaves

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Britain’s textile industry worked with the help of artisans who worked from home, using the spinning wheel and the hand loom. However, the traditional methods of producing yarn restricted large-scale production of goods. With the invention of the spinning jenny, artisans could spin almost 120 threads at a time, instead of only a single thread.

The Water Frame

Year – 1769
Patented by – Richard Arkwright

The water frame was a spinning frame that worked with the use of water. It provided more power to the spinning frame than manually operated ones. Hence, not only did it reduce the amount of labor required, but it also increased the spindle count, and provided a much stronger thread than the spinning jenny.

The Steam Engine

Year – 1770
Developed and Reinvented by – James Watt

Watt developed the improved version of the steam engine, more efficient than the one invented by Thomas Savery. Though mainly known for its use in running a train, the steam engine was also used to run machinery in factories and mines. The engine was powered by high pressure steam, and was able to work at places which lacked a nearby source of water. Thus, it was able to overcome the problem faced by the water frame, which could work only at places where water was available.

The Military Submarine

Year – 1775
Invented by – David Bushnell

Bushnell invented the first military submarine and named it “turtle”. Hand-powered and capable of accommodating only a single person, it was invented to perform underwater operations. Though it failed in its first mission to destroy a naval ship, this submarine still stood out as a prototype for modern-day submarine technology.

The Threshing Machine

Year – 1784
Invented by – Andrew Meikle

The threshing machine was invented to mechanically separate seeds or grain from the husks and straw. The machine brought about an end to the laborious and time-consuming manual method which had been prevalent for thousands of years. It also made the process quite easier and faster.

The Power Loom

Year – 1784
Invented by – Edmund Cartwright

The invention of the power loom was a great breakthrough in the weaving industry. It was a mechanized loom that used a rotating shaft for power transmission. The power loom used water as the source of power instead of steam, thus, making the weaving process faster, easier, and cheaper. Cartwright patented the power loom in 1785, one year after having invented it.

The Gas Turbine

Year – 1791
Patented by – John Barber

The gas turbine was used to propel horseless carriages. The basic principle of the turbine was to produce mechanical energy from a combustible fuel. This principle is used in the internal combustion engine and even for modern gas turbines, which are used to propel jets.

The Cotton Gin

Year – 1794
Patented by – Eli Whitney

The cotton gin enabled separation of cotton seeds from raw cotton fibers, which otherwise had to be done by hand. This invention facilitated large-scale production, and with lesser workforce. Whitney’s cotton gin, was capable of cleaning 23 kg of lint everyday, and proved to be of great help to the cotton industry.

The Battery/Voltaic Pile

Year – 1800
Invented by – Alessandro Volta

Based on his experiments related to electricity, Volta was able to separate the basic components in water viz., oxygen and hydrogen. Through his experiments he came to know that electricity could be made to flow through a conductor. The idea helped him produce the world’s first battery, which later came to be known as the ‘voltaic pile’. As a tribute to the great scientist, the electric potential, volt, has been named after him.

The Locomotive

Year – 1804
Invented by – Richard Trevithick

The power of steam was initially used by Richard Trevithick for running carriages on the roads. Later in 1804, he became the first person to utilize steam power to run locomotives on the rail track. Later, George Stephenson, an engineer in the mining industry, further developed more powerful locomotives and led to the establishment of the first two rail lines in England (1825 and 1830).

The Safety Lamp

Year – 1815
Invented by – Humphry Davy

The safety lamp invented by Davy was quite successful in saving the helpless workers in deep, dark mines. It was designed in order to provide illumination, prevent explosions, and inform the workers of any potential threat(s) underground. Thus, it helped save a lot of lives during the period of the Industrial Revolution.

The Electromagnet

Year – 1825
Invented by – William Sturgeon

The electromagnet, invented by Sturgeon, worked on the principle of magnetic fields. When electric current was passed through iron, the latter was magnetized, and the other iron objects were attracted towards it. The electromagnets, at that time, were used basically in telegraph sounders. Today, they have versatile uses in motors, generators, bells, transformers, and so on.

The Heliograph

Year – 1825
Invented by – Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

Niépce is credited worldwide for developing the heliograph, an apparatus used for sending telegraphic messages by using a mirror to turn the sun’s rays off and on. This helped him produce the world’s first ever photograph, which was taken by Niépce after waiting for a duration of eight long hours.

The Typographer

Year – 1829
Patented by – William Austin Burt

The invention of the typographer resulted in the development of typing, and became the most potential writing tool at that time. Most use of the typographer was in offices. Writers and business processes also started using this machine as the basic material for printing words. In the later period, this invention facilitated the development of the typewriter.

The Electric Dynamo

Year – 1831
Invented by – Michael Faraday

Faraday went on to interrelate his electromagnetic induction studies to invent the first dynamo, which is said to be the predecessor of modern-day generators and alternators. Later, the developed dynamo was able to provide power for industries and factories on a large scale.

The McCormick Reaper

Year – 1834
Patented by – Cyrus McCormick

The invention of the reaper machine made it easy for farmers to reap their crop. The reaper was able to do the work of five men alone, thus, making the process cheaper and less labor-intensive. Thus, manual work was eventually replaced by machines.

The Corn Planter

Year – 1834
Patented by – Henry Blair

Similar to a seed drill, the corn planter helped farmers plant their corn faster, and with much ease. Moreover, the machine also facilitated the reduction in manpower, which could then be used in some other productive task. The corn planter also helped in controlling weeds. During the industrial revolution, Henry Blair became the second African-American to receive a patent.

The Screw Propeller

Year – 1835
Invented by – Francis Pettit Smith

The screw propeller was designed to propel steam boats by the power generated from rotational motion in a fluid. The propeller later went on to be used in big ships and marines. Smith was also the inventor of the first screw-propelled steamship, “SS Archimedes”.

The Revolver or Revolving Gun

Year – 1835
Patented by – Samuel Colt

The revolver or the revolving gun was the predecessor of modern-day semi-automatic pistols. Though Colt never claimed to have invented the revolver, his was the first ever practical revolving gun in the world. While it was considered to be a novelty arm in the initial days, it quickly went on to become an important firearm in future wars, and was incorporated in the armed forces.

The Telegraph and Morse Code

Year – 1836
Invented By – Samuel Morse

Bettering the invention of Samuel Sommerring’s telegraph, Samuel Morse went on to develop the electric telegraph that brought about a revolution in the field of long-distance communication. Moreover, he also developed the Morse code, which was quite effective in facilitating communication. As a result, the first transatlantic cable was laid in the year 1858.

The Pedal Bicycle

Year – 1839
Invented by – Kirkpatrick Macmillan

This first pedal bicycle invented by Macmillan was propelled with the help of horizontal reciprocating movement of the rider’s feet on the pedals, which remains the basic principle even for modern-day bicycles. The invention of the bicycle helped people travel easily and with more speed, and also proved beneficial in saving a lot of time.

Inventions During the Second Industrial Revolution

The second industrial revolution began in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Also known as the technological revolution, there were many great many inventions in the field of science and technology during this period. The important inventions of the period have been listed below.

Invention Inventor Year
Facsimilie Alexander Bain 1843
Sewing Machine Elias Howe 1845
Dishwasher Joel Houghton 1850
Manned Glider George Cayley 1853
Rotary Washing Machine Hamilton Smith 1858
Machine Gun Richard Gatling 1862
Dynamite Alfred Nobel 1866
Modern Typewriter Christopher Sholes 1867
Mushet steel Robert Mushet 1868
Telephone Alexander Graham Bell 1876
Cylinder Phonograph Thomas Edison 1877
Photographic film George Eastman 1884
Automobile (internal-combustion engine) Karl Benz 1885
Gas-engined Motorcycle Gottlieb Daimler 1885
Commercial Pneumatic Tire John Boyd Dunlop 1888
AC motor and Transformer Nikola Tesla 1888
Escalator Jesse W. Reno 1891
Diesel-engine Rudolf Diesel 1892
Portable Motion-picture Camera Lumiere Brothers 1895
Roller Coaster Edwin Prescott 1898
Motor-driven Vacuum Cleaner John Thurman 1899
Zeppelin Ferdinand von Zeppelin 1900

The Industrial Revolution is one of the most important epochs in the history of mankind. It set the wheels of scientific inventions and technical advancements in motion, the benefits of which we are still reaping even after two centuries!

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The 10 most important inventions of the First Industrial Revolution

1- Flour mills

The flour mills were machines that aided in the processing of flour, but involved a lot of effort for the operators.

Oliver Evans, in 1780, wanted to change this by inventing a vertical lift that allowed the grain to be lifted by the use of pulleys.

In the same way, he built conveyor belts to carry the flour through the mill and another machine that raked it, making it thinner and easier to store.

In this way, the mill that previously required the work of several people, could now be operated by a single person.

2- The sewing machine

Although the sewing machine existed before the Industrial Revolution, it was Elias Howe who improved his design to use two threads at the same time, and increase the speed when sewing.

However, a modification was still missing because the machine could only be used with one hand because it was necessary to operate a crank so that it could work.

That was the modification that Isaac Singer made in 1850, replacing the crank with a pedal that left people with both hands free to sew.

From this invention, sewing became an easier and faster process.

3- Mechanical Wheat Harvester

Population growth in the United States increased demand for wheat. Farmers were not able to meet that demand.

In 1831, Cyrus McCormick invented the first reaper, who was improving himself in the next ten years. The final version of the reaper was drawn by a horse, and had a blade that cut the wheat that fell on a platform.

In this way, much more wheat could be harvested in less time.

4- Telegraph

Joseph Henry was a groundbreaking inventor who experimented with a telegraph system that operated through electromagnets, but he fought the limitation generated because the signals could only travel through a wire a mile long.

Henry sought help from Samuel F. B. Morse, and Morse improved the model by using a battery for electricity, an electromagnet and an electric switch.

With its version, the user would press a crank by making short clicks and long clicks, which made up a code that is still useful in situations where other media fail.

The first telegraph line ran from Washington DC to Baltimore. In less than a decade, the United States was connected by telegraph and communications could be instantaneous.

5- Spinning machine

It was invented in England by James Hargreaves, in 1741.

It was one of the machines that opened the doors to the Industrial Revolution to be the first example of mechanization of the production process in a factory. It was also a pioneer in the particular case of the textile industry.

It consisted of a machine with eight reels rotated by a large wheel. It had eight skeins attached to a beam, extending from the end where the spools are to the end of the wheel, on a horizontal frame.

This configuration allowed a single person to drive eight or more reels at a time.

The Jenny Spinning (name that was put to the machine in honor of the creator's daughter) worked manually and allowed to mount up to 80 threads simultaneously.

Years later, in 1779, Samuel Crompton invented the Mule Jenny, which operated with hydraulic energy and allowed to produce a thinner and stronger thread.

6- The steam engine

It is an external combustion engine that transforms the thermal energy of water into mechanical energy.

It was widely used during the Industrial Revolution to move bombs, locomotives and other elements. The process of operating this motor occurs as follows:

- Water vapor is generated by heating in a boiler, which is sealed. This results in the expansion of a cylinder that pushes a piston.

A mechanism transforms the movement of the piston of the cylinder into one of rotation which drives, for example, the wheels of a means of transport.

- Inlet and outlet valves are used to control the steam pressure.

The steam engines used to generate electrical energy are no longer plunger, but are passed through a continuous flow of steam, so they are called steam turbines.

There is no consensus as to who was the inventor of this device, but the first patent of a modern steam engine was registered in 1606 in the name of Jeronimo de Ayanz and Beaumont.

The steam engine has been replaced by the electric motor (in the industries) or by the internal combustion (in the transport).

7- Railway

It is a means of transport that has its antecedent in the carts that rolled on wooden rails in the mines of Transilvania in century XVI.

These wagons arrived in Britain in the seventeenth century to move coal from the mines to the ports.

In time, in England the wooden plates were replaced by the iron ones to increase the load of the wagons, but as the cast iron did not support the weight began to think about the human transport.

8- The bulb

Thomas Alva Edison figures in history as the creator of the light bulb, but in fact was the one that perfected the invention that Humphry Davy made in 1809.

It is a device that generates light from electrical energy. This light phenomenon can be produced by:

- Heating in a metallic filament, thanks to the Joule effect.

- Fluorescence of metals in the event of an electric shock.

According to Life magazine, the bulb is the second most useful invention of the nineteenth century.

9- Automobile

It is a means of transporting people or goods.

His creation is attributed to Karl Friedrich Benz, in 1886, when he presented the first internal combustion car in the form of a tricycle. And it was his wife, Bertha Benz, who made the first long trip (almost 105 kilometers) in a car.

Henry Ford began to produce them in series thanks to an assembly line that created to make the model T, in 1908.

10- Telephone

This artifact, so familiar and useful nowadays, appears thanks to the ingenuity of Alexander Graham Bell, who in 1876 invented an apparatus that transmitted sounds by a cable through electrical signals.

But much earlier, in 1854, Antonio Meucci had already built a similar one in his house to communicate with his wife who lay sick in a room on the second floor. However, he did not have enough money to patent his invention.

It was 113 years after his death before the US House of Representatives recognized Meucci as the inventor of the phone.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison and his workshop patented 1,093 inventions. Included in this were the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, and the motion picture. He was the most famous inventor of his time and his inventions had a huge impact on America's growth and history.​

Inventors Timeline

Inventors Timeline: The Inventions that Shaped America
This article contain brief, fast facts in an Inventors timeline format detailing the History of famous inventions that shaped America during the Industrial Revolution. The Inventors Timeline covers important dates and events in the years leading up to the Civil War up to the inventions of the second Industrial Revolution up to the outbreak of World War 1 (1914) The Inventors Timeline includes famous names of American inventors and the inventions and discoveries of men such as Eli Whitney, Cyrus McCormick, Samuel Colt, Samuel Morse, Elias Howe, Richard Gatling, Levi Strauss, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Henry Ford.

Inventors Timeline: The Inventions that shaped America
The Inventors Timeline details the famous inventions that shaped America. Many famous American inventors and discoveries are included in the history timeline but the important European inventors have also been included. The inventions of the American Industrial Revolution led to the Industrialization of America when people moved from a rural agricultural environment to an urban city environment. It was a time of dramatic change and people found that their working lives were not governed by the seasons and daily chores necessary in the farming industry. Americans worked a six day week which gave them some time for leisure which is why we have included inventions such as baseball and the Ferris Wheel. The Ferris Wheel was the most popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair showcasing American inventions and technical advances to over 4 million visitors. The Inventors Timeline provides a fast overview of the technical advances, inventions and social changes that occurred in a relatively short period of time.

Inventors Timeline Fact 1: 1744 - Benjamin Franklin - Benjamin Franklin invents the Franklin stove and in 1747 invents the lightning rod. Franklin also invents the odometer and bifocal glasses

Inventors Timeline Fact 2: 1765 - James Watt - James Watt invents the first modern steam engine

Inventors Timeline Fact 3: 1782 - Jacob Yoder - Jacob Yoder invents the Flatboat for inland waterways

Inventors Timeline Fact 4: 1783 - Montgolfier Brothers - Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier fly the first Hot Air Balloon

Inventors Timeline Fact 5: 1793 - Eli Whitney - Eli Whitney invents the Cotton Gin - Eli Whitney Cotton Gin

Inventors Timeline Fact 6: 1795 - Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson invented the Wheel cypher, a cipher system for encrypting messages to prevent code breaking

Inventors Timeline Fact 7: 1807 - Robert Fulton - Robert Fulton builds the first commercial steamboat

Inventors Timeline Fact 8: 1821 - George Stephenson - George Stephenson is the famous inventor of the first steam locomotive engine for railways

Inventors Timeline Fact 9: 1831 - Cyrus McCormick - Cyrus McCormick invents the mechanical horse-drawn reaper - McCormick Reaper

Inventors Timeline Fact 10: 1832 - John G. Stephenson - John G. Stephenson builds the first horse car

Inventors Timeline Fact 11: 1834 - Hiram Moore - Hiram Moore invented the first combine harvester

Inventors Timeline Fact 12: 1836 - Samuel Colt - Samuel Colt invents the Colt Revolver

Inventors Timeline Fact 13: 1836 - John Deere - John Deere invents the lightweight plow with steel cutting edge

Inventors Timeline Fact 14: 1837 - Samuel Morse - Samuel Morse develops the Morse Code and the first telegraph line - Samuel Morse and the First Telegraph

Inventors Timeline Fact 15: 1839 - Charles Goodyear - Charles Goodyear invented the first vulcanized rubber

Inventors Timeline Fact 16: 1842 - Joseph Dart - Joseph Dart and Robert Dunbar invent steam-powered Grain Elevators

Inventors Timeline Fact 17: 1845 - Alexander Cartwright - Alexander Cartwright invented the modern sport of baseball

Inventors Timeline Fact 18: 1846 - Elias Howe - Elias Howe invented the world's first practical sewing machine - Elias Howe Sewing Machine

Inventors Timeline Fact 19: 1852 - Elisha Otis - Elisha Otis invented the first safety brake for elevators

Inventors Timeline Fact 20: 1853 - George Cayley - George Cayley invented the first manned glider

Inventors Timeline Fact 21: 1855 - Henry Bessemer - Henry Bessemer invents the Bessemer process to create steel from iron

Inventors Timeline Fact 22: 1858 - Hamilton Smith - Hamilton Smith patents the first rotary washing machine

Inventors Timeline Fact 23: 1860 - Daniel Hess - Daniel Hess invents the vacuum cleaner

Inventors Timeline Fact 24: 1861 - Richard Gatling - Richard Gatling invented the Gatling gun during the American Civil War

Inventors Timeline The Inventions that shaped America.

Inventors Timeline cont.
Interesting, fast facts about racial discrimination are provided Inventors Timeline of the 1900's detailed below. The history of Segregation is told in a factual timeline sequence consisting of a series of interesting, short, fast facts and dates providing a simple method of relating the history of the Segregation for kids, schools and homework projects.

Inventors Timeline The Inventions that shaped America.

Inventors Timeline Fact 25: 1861 - Horace Hunley - Horace Lawson Hunley developed the submarine during the Civil War

Inventors Timeline Fact 26: 1863 - Birdsill Holly - Birdsill Holly invented the modern version of the fire hydrant

Inventors Timeline Fact 27: 1866 - Alfred Nobel - Alfred Bernhard Nobel invented dynamite

Inventors Timeline Fact 28: 1866 - Charles Goodnight - Charles Goodnight who introduces the concept of the chuck wagon used on cattle drives by cowboys

Inventors Timeline Fact 29: 1867 - Christopher Scholes - Christopher Scholes invents the first practical typewriter and develops the QWERTY keyboard layout

Inventors Timeline Fact 30: 1869 - George Westinghouse - George Westinghouse Invented the air brake system

Inventors Timeline Fact 33: 1876 - Alexander Graham Bell - Alexander Graham Bell was the inventor of the telephone

Inventors Timeline Fact 34: 1876 - Carl von Linde - Carl von Linde invents the refrigerator

Inventors Timeline Fact 35: 1876 - Nicholaus Otto - Nicholaus Otto invents the Internal Combustion Engine

Inventors Timeline Fact 36: 1877 - Thomas Alva Edison - Thomas Alva Edison invented the cylinder phonograph and in 1879 develops the first practical electric light bulb

Inventors Timeline Fact 37: 1879 - Joseph Swan - Joseph Swan inventor of the electric light bulb

Inventors Timeline Fact 38: 1879 - James Ritty - James Ritty invented the mechanical cash register

Inventors Timeline Fact 39: 1880 - Walter Camp - Walter Camp invented the modern sport of American football

Inventors Timeline Fact 40: 1882 - Schuyler Wheeler - Schuyler Skaats Wheeler invented the first electric fan

Inventors Timeline Fact 41: 1884 - William Le Baron Jenney - The Home Insurance Building was the first skyscraper built, designed by architect William Le Baron Jenney - The First Skyscraper

Inventors Timeline Fact 42: 1884 - George Eastman - George Eastman invents the first film in roll form and then the Kodak camera in 1888

Inventors Timeline Fact 43: 1885 - Sylvanus F. Bowser - Sylvanus F. Bowser invented the gasoline/petrol pump

Inventors Timeline Fact 44: 1887 - John Dunlop - John Dunlop invention of the pneumatic tire

Inventors Timeline Fact 45: 1887 - Charles Fey - Charles Fey invented the first "one-armed bandit"

Inventors Timeline Fact 46: 1889 - George Fuller - George Fuller built the Tacoma Building Skyscraper

Inventors Timeline Fact 47: 1889 - Daimler and Benz - Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz First 4 Wheel Automobile

Inventors Timeline Fact 48: 1891 - Jesse W. Reno - Jesse W. Reno invented the escalator

Inventors Timeline Fact 49: 1892 - Rudolf Diesel - Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel-fueled internal combustion engine called the Diesel engine

Inventors Timeline Fact 50: 1892 - John Froelich - John Froelich invented the first gasoline-powered tractor

Inventors Timeline Fact 51: 1893 - George Ferris - George Ferris invents the Ferris Wheel - Ferris Wheel Invention

Inventors Timeline Fact 52: 1895 - Guglielmo Marconi - Marconi invented of the first practical radio signaling system - 1920's Radio and Advertising

Inventors Timeline Fact 53: 1897 - Nikola Tesla - Nikola Tesla invents the induction coil or Tesla coil, a device essential to sending and receiving radio waves

Inventors Timeline Fact 54: 1898 - Edwin Prescott - Edwin Prescott patented the first roller coaster

Inventors Timeline Fact 55: 1899 - Joshua Lionel Cowen - The flash-lamp was invented by Joshua Lionel Cowen

Inventors Timeline Fact 56: 1900 - Count Ferdinand Zeppelin - Ferdinand Zeppelin invented the first rigid dirigible (zeppelin) - Zeppelin Airship

Inventors Timeline Fact 57: 1901 - Ransom Olds - Ransom Olds inventor of the assembly line for automobiles

Inventors Timeline Fact 58: 1902 - Willis Carrier - Willis Carrier invented the first mechanical air conditioning unit

Inventors Timeline Fact 59: 1903 - Wright Brothers - Orville and Wilbur Wright first powered, sustained, and controlled flight of an airplane - Wright Brothers

Inventors Timeline Fact 60: 1905 - Albert Einstein - Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity

Inventors Timeline Fact 61: 1907 - Leo Baekeland - Leo Baekeland invents Bakelite

Inventors Timeline Fact 62: 1907 - Paul Cornu - The Helicopter was invented by Paul Cornu

Inventors Timeline Fact 63: 1907 - Lee DeForest - The Radio amplifier was invented by Lee DeForest

Inventors Timeline Fact 64: 1908 - Henry Ford - Henry Ford created the Model T car and in 1913 introduces mass production of automobiles

Inventors Timeline Fact 65: 1911 - Charles F. Kettering - Charles F. Kettering invented the automobile self-starter used by the Cadillac company

Inventors Timeline The Inventions that shaped America.

Facts about Inventions and Inventors
For visitors interested in inventions and inventors refer to the following articles:

The telegraph and the telephone

Two inventions of the 19th century, the electric telegraph and the electric telephone, made reliable instantaneous communication over great distances possible for the first time. Their effects on commerce, diplomacy, military operations, journalism, and myriad aspects of everyday life were nearly immediate and proved to be long-lasting.

The telegraph. The first practical electric telegraph systems were created almost simultaneously in Britain and the United States in 1837. In the device developed by British inventors William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone, needles on a mounting plate at a receiver pointed to specific letters or numbers when electric current passed through attached wires. American artist and inventor Samuel F.B. Morse created his own electric telegraph and, more famously, a universal code, since known as Morse Code, that could be used in any system of telegraphy. The code, consisting of a set of symbolic dots, dashes, and spaces, was soon adopted (in modified form to accommodate diacritics) throughout the world. A demonstration telegraph line between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, was completed in 1844. The first message sent on it was, “What hath God wrought!” Telegraph cables were first laid across the English Channel in 1851 and across the Atlantic Ocean in 1858. In the United States the spread of telegraphic communication through the growth of private telegraph companies such as Western Union aided the maintenance of law and order in the Western territories and the control of traffic on the railroads. What’s more, it enabled the transmission of national and international news through wire services such as the Associated Press. In 1896 Italian physicist and inventor Guglielmo Marconi perfected a system of wireless telegraphy (radiotelegraphy) that had important military applications in the 20th century.

The telephone. In 1876 Scottish-born American scientist Alexander Graham Bell successfully demonstrated the telephone, which transmitted sound, including that of the human voice, by means of an electric current. Bell’s device consisted of two sets of metallic reeds (membranes) and electromagnetic coils. Sound waves produced near one membrane caused it to vibrate at certain frequencies, which induced corresponding currents in the electromagnetic coil connected to it, and those currents then flowed to the other coil, which in turn caused the other membrane to vibrate at the same frequencies, reproducing the original sound waves. The first “telephone call” (successful electric transmission of intelligible human speech) took place between two rooms of Bell’s Boston laboratory on March 10, 1876, when Bell summoned his assistant, Thomas Watson, with the famous words that Bell transcribed in his notes as “Mr. Watson—Come here—I want to see you.” Initially the telephone was a curiosity or a toy for the rich, but by the mid-20th century it had become a common household instrument, billions of which were in use throughout the world.


The Second Industrial Revolution was a period of rapid industrial development, primarily in the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, but also in France, the Low Countries, Italy and Japan. It followed on from the First Industrial Revolution that began in Britain in the late 18th century that then spread throughout Western Europe. While the First Revolution was driven by limited use of steam engines, interchangeable parts and mass production, and was largely water-powered (especially in the United States), the Second was characterized by the build-out of railroads, large-scale iron and steel production, widespread use of machinery in manufacturing, greatly increased use of steam power, widespread use of the telegraph, use of petroleum and the beginning of electrification. It also was the period during which modern organizational methods for operating large scale businesses over vast areas came into use. [ citation needed ]

The concept was introduced by Patrick Geddes, Cities in Evolution (1910), and was being used by economists such as Erick Zimmerman (1951), [3] but David Landes' use of the term in a 1966 essay and in The Unbound Prometheus (1972) standardized scholarly definitions of the term, which was most intensely promoted by Alfred Chandler (1918–2007). However, some continue to express reservations about its use. [4]

Landes (2003) stresses the importance of new technologies, especially, the internal combustion engine, petroleum, new materials and substances, including alloys and chemicals, electricity and communication technologies (such as the telegraph, telephone and radio). [ citation needed ]

Vaclav Smil called the period 1867–1914 "The Age of Synergy" during which most of the great innovations were developed since the inventions and innovations were engineering and science-based. [5]

A synergy between iron and steel, railroads and coal developed at the beginning of the Second Industrial Revolution. Railroads allowed cheap transportation of materials and products, which in turn led to cheap rails to build more roads. Railroads also benefited from cheap coal for their steam locomotives. This synergy led to the laying of 75,000 miles of track in the U.S. in the 1880s, the largest amount anywhere in world history. [6]

Iron Edit

The hot blast technique, in which the hot flue gas from a blast furnace is used to preheat combustion air blown into a blast furnace, was invented and patented by James Beaumont Neilson in 1828 at Wilsontown Ironworks in Scotland. Hot blast was the single most important advance in fuel efficiency of the blast furnace as it greatly reduced the fuel consumption for making pig iron, and was one of the most important technologies developed during the Industrial Revolution. [7] Falling costs for producing wrought iron coincided with the emergence of the railway in the 1830s.

The early technique of hot blast used iron for the regenerative heating medium. Iron caused problems with expansion and contraction, which stressed the iron and caused failure. Edward Alfred Cowper developed the Cowper stove in 1857. [8] This stove used firebrick as a storage medium, solving the expansion and cracking problem. The Cowper stove was also capable of producing high heat, which resulted in very high throughput of blast furnaces. The Cowper stove is still used in today's blast furnaces.

With the greatly reduced cost of producing pig iron with coke using hot blast, demand grew dramatically and so did the size of blast furnaces. [9] [10]

Steel Edit

The Bessemer process, invented by Sir Henry Bessemer, allowed the mass-production of steel, increasing the scale and speed of production of this vital material, and decreasing the labor requirements. The key principle was the removal of excess carbon and other impurities from pig iron by oxidation with air blown through the molten iron. The oxidation also raises the temperature of the iron mass and keeps it molten.

The "acid" Bessemer process had a serious limitation in that it required relatively scarce hematite ore [11] which is low in phosphorus. Sidney Gilchrist Thomas developed a more sophisticated process to eliminate the phosphorus from iron. Collaborating with his cousin, Percy Gilchrist a chemist at the Blaenavon Ironworks, Wales, he patented his process in 1878 [12] Bolckow Vaughan & Co. in Yorkshire was the first company to use his patented process. [13] His process was especially valuable on the continent of Europe, where the proportion of phosphoric iron was much greater than in England, and both in Belgium and in Germany the name of the inventor became more widely known than in his own country. In America, although non-phosphoric iron largely predominated, an immense interest was taken in the invention. [13]

The next great advance in steel making was the Siemens–Martin process. Sir Charles William Siemens developed his regenerative furnace in the 1850s, for which he claimed in 1857 to able to recover enough heat to save 70–80% of the fuel. The furnace operated at a high temperature by using regenerative preheating of fuel and air for combustion. Through this method, an open-hearth furnace can reach temperatures high enough to melt steel, but Siemens did not initially use it in that manner.

French engineer Pierre-Émile Martin was the first to take out a license for the Siemens furnace and apply it to the production of steel in 1865. The Siemens–Martin process complemented rather than replaced the Bessemer process. Its main advantages were that it did not expose the steel to excessive nitrogen (which would cause the steel to become brittle), it was easier to control, and that it permitted the melting and refining of large amounts of scrap steel, lowering steel production costs and recycling an otherwise troublesome waste material. It became the leading steel making process by the early 20th century.

The availability of cheap steel allowed building larger bridges, railroads, skyscrapers, and ships. [14] Other important steel products—also made using the open hearth process—were steel cable, steel rod and sheet steel which enabled large, high-pressure boilers and high-tensile strength steel for machinery which enabled much more powerful engines, gears and axles than were previously possible. With large amounts of steel it became possible to build much more powerful guns and carriages, tanks, armored fighting vehicles and naval ships.

Rail Edit

The increase in steel production from the 1860s meant that railways could finally be made from steel at a competitive cost. Being a much more durable material, steel steadily replaced iron as the standard for railway rail, and due to its greater strength, longer lengths of rails could now be rolled. Wrought iron was soft and contained flaws caused by included dross. Iron rails could also not support heavy locomotives and was damaged by hammer blow. The first to make durable rails of steel rather than wrought iron was Robert Forester Mushet at the Darkhill Ironworks, Gloucestershire in 1857.

The first of Mushet's steel rails was sent to Derby Midland railway station. The rails were laid at part of the station approach where the iron rails had to be renewed at least every six months, and occasionally every three. Six years later, in 1863, the rail seemed as perfect as ever, although some 700 trains had passed over it daily. [15] This provided the basis for the accelerated construction of railways throughout the world in the late nineteenth century.

The first commercially available steel rails in the US were manufactured in 1867 at the Cambria Iron Works in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. [16]

Steel rails lasted over ten times longer than did iron, [17] and with the falling cost of steel, heavier weight rails were used. This allowed the use of more powerful locomotives, which could pull longer trains, and longer rail cars, all of which greatly increased the productivity of railroads. [18] Rail became the dominant form of transport infrastructure throughout the industrialized world, [19] producing a steady decrease in the cost of shipping seen for the rest of the century. [17]

Electrification Edit

The theoretical and practical basis for the harnessing of electric power was laid by the scientist and experimentalist Michael Faraday. Through his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current, Faraday established the basis for the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. [20] [21] His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices were the foundation of the practical use of electricity in technology.

In 1881, Sir Joseph Swan, inventor of the first feasible incandescent light bulb, supplied about 1,200 Swan incandescent lamps to the Savoy Theatre in the City of Westminster, London, which was the first theatre, and the first public building in the world, to be lit entirely by electricity. [22] [23] Swan's lightbulb had already been used in 1879 to light Mosley Street, in Newcastle upon Tyne, the first electrical street lighting installation in the world. [24] [25] This set the stage for the electrification of industry and the home. The first large scale central distribution supply plant was opened at Holborn Viaduct in London in 1882 [26] and later at Pearl Street Station in New York City. [27]

The first modern power station in the world was built by the English electrical engineer Sebastian de Ferranti at Deptford. Built on an unprecedented scale and pioneering the use of high voltage (10,000V) alternating current, it generated 800 kilowatts and supplied central London. On its completion in 1891 it supplied high-voltage AC power that was then "stepped down" with transformers for consumer use on each street. Electrification allowed the final major developments in manufacturing methods of the Second Industrial Revolution, namely the assembly line and mass production. [28]

Electrification was called "the most important engineering achievement of the 20th century" by the National Academy of Engineering. [29] Electric lighting in factories greatly improved working conditions, eliminating the heat and pollution caused by gas lighting, and reducing the fire hazard to the extent that the cost of electricity for lighting was often offset by the reduction in fire insurance premiums. Frank J. Sprague developed the first successful DC motor in 1886. By 1889 110 electric street railways were either using his equipment or in planning. The electric street railway became a major infrastructure before 1920. The AC motor (Induction motor) was developed in the 1890s and soon began to be used in the electrification of industry. [30] Household electrification did not become common until the 1920s, and then only in cities. Fluorescent lighting was commercially introduced at the 1939 World's Fair.

Electrification also allowed the inexpensive production of electro-chemicals, such as aluminium, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, and magnesium. [31]

Machine tools Edit

The use of machine tools began with the onset of the First Industrial Revolution. The increase in mechanization required more metal parts, which were usually made of cast iron or wrought iron—and hand working lacked precision and was a slow and expensive process. One of the first machine tools was John Wilkinson's boring machine, that bored a precise hole in James Watt's first steam engine in 1774. Advances in the accuracy of machine tools can be traced to Henry Maudslay and refined by Joseph Whitworth. Standardization of screw threads began with Henry Maudslay around 1800, when the modern screw-cutting lathe made interchangeable V-thread machine screws a practical commodity.

In 1841, Joseph Whitworth created a design that, through its adoption by many British railroad companies, became the world's first national machine tool standard called British Standard Whitworth. [32] During the 1840s through 1860s, this standard was often used in the United States and Canada as well, in addition to myriad intra- and inter-company standards.

The importance of machine tools to mass production is shown by the fact that production of the Ford Model T used 32,000 machine tools, most of which were powered by electricity. [33] Henry Ford is quoted as saying that mass production would not have been possible without electricity because it allowed placement of machine tools and other equipment in the order of the work flow. [34]

Paper making Edit

The first paper making machine was the Fourdrinier machine, built by Sealy and Henry Fourdrinier, stationers in London. In 1800, Matthias Koops, working in London, investigated the idea of using wood to make paper, and began his printing business a year later. However, his enterprise was unsuccessful due to the prohibitive cost at the time. [35] [36] [37]

It was in the 1840s, that Charles Fenerty in Nova Scotia and Friedrich Gottlob Keller in Saxony both invented a successful machine which extracted the fibres from wood (as with rags) and from it, made paper. This started a new era for paper making, [38] and, together with the invention of the fountain pen and the mass-produced pencil of the same period, and in conjunction with the advent of the steam driven rotary printing press, wood based paper caused a major transformation of the 19th century economy and society in industrialized countries. With the introduction of cheaper paper, schoolbooks, fiction, non-fiction, and newspapers became gradually available by 1900. Cheap wood based paper also allowed keeping personal diaries or writing letters and so, by 1850, the clerk, or writer, ceased to be a high-status job. By the 1880s chemical processes for paper manufacture were in use, becoming dominant by 1900.

Petroleum Edit

The petroleum industry, both production and refining, began in 1848 with the first oil works in Scotland. The chemist James Young set up a tiny business refining the crude oil in 1848. Young found that by slow distillation he could obtain a number of useful liquids from it, one of which he named "paraffine oil" because at low temperatures it congealed into a substance resembling paraffin wax. [39] In 1850 Young built the first truly commercial oil-works and oil refinery in the world at Bathgate, using oil extracted from locally mined torbanite, shale, and bituminous coal to manufacture naphtha and lubricating oils paraffin for fuel use and solid paraffin were not sold till 1856.

Cable tool drilling was developed in ancient China and was used for drilling brine wells. The salt domes also held natural gas, which some wells produced and which was used for evaporation of the brine. Chinese well drilling technology was introduced to Europe in 1828. [40]

Although there were many efforts in the mid-19th century to drill for oil Edwin Drake's 1859 well near Titusville, Pennsylvania, is considered the first "modern oil well". [41] Drake's well touched off a major boom in oil production in the United States. [42] Drake learned of cable tool drilling from Chinese laborers in the U. S. [43] The first primary product was kerosene for lamps and heaters. [31] [44] Similar developments around Baku fed the European market.

Kerosene lighting was much more efficient and less expensive than vegetable oils, tallow and whale oil. Although town gas lighting was available in some cities, kerosene produced a brighter light until the invention of the gas mantle. Both were replaced by electricity for street lighting following the 1890s and for households during the 1920s. Gasoline was an unwanted byproduct of oil refining until automobiles were mass-produced after 1914, and gasoline shortages appeared during World War I. The invention of the Burton process for thermal cracking doubled the yield of gasoline, which helped alleviate the shortages. [44]

Chemical Edit

Synthetic dye was discovered by English chemist William Henry Perkin in 1856. At the time, chemistry was still in a quite primitive state it was still a difficult proposition to determine the arrangement of the elements in compounds and chemical industry was still in its infancy. Perkin's accidental discovery was that aniline could be partly transformed into a crude mixture which when extracted with alcohol produced a substance with an intense purple colour. He scaled up production of the new "mauveine", and commercialized it as the world's first synthetic dye. [45]

After the discovery of mauveine, many new aniline dyes appeared (some discovered by Perkin himself), and factories producing them were constructed across Europe. Towards the end of the century, Perkin and other British companies found their research and development efforts increasingly eclipsed by the German chemical industry which became world dominant by 1914.

Maritime technology Edit

This era saw the birth of the modern ship as disparate technological advances came together.

The screw propeller was introduced in 1835 by Francis Pettit Smith who discovered a new way of building propellers by accident. Up to that time, propellers were literally screws, of considerable length. But during the testing of a boat propelled by one, the screw snapped off, leaving a fragment shaped much like a modern boat propeller. The boat moved faster with the broken propeller. [46] The superiority of screw against paddles was taken up by navies. Trials with Smith's SS Archimedes, the first steam driven screw, led to the famous tug-of-war competition in 1845 between the screw-driven HMS Rattler and the paddle steamer HMS Alecto the former pulling the latter backward at 2.5 knots (4.6 km/h).

The first seagoing iron steamboat was built by Horseley Ironworks and named the Aaron Manby. It also used an innovative oscillating engine for power. The boat was built at Tipton using temporary bolts, disassembled for transportation to London, and reassembled on the Thames in 1822, this time using permanent rivets.

Other technological developments followed, including the invention of the surface condenser, which allowed boilers to run on purified water rather than salt water, eliminating the need to stop to clean them on long sea journeys. The Great Western [47] , [48] [49] built by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was the longest ship in the world at 236 ft (72 m) with a 250-foot (76 m) keel and was the first to prove that transatlantic steamship services were viable. The ship was constructed mainly from wood, but Brunel added bolts and iron diagonal reinforcements to maintain the keel's strength. In addition to its steam-powered paddle wheels, the ship carried four masts for sails.

Brunel followed this up with the Great Britain, launched in 1843 and considered the first modern ship built of metal rather than wood, powered by an engine rather than wind or oars, and driven by propeller rather than paddle wheel. [50] Brunel's vision and engineering innovations made the building of large-scale, propeller-driven, all-metal steamships a practical reality, but the prevailing economic and industrial conditions meant that it would be several decades before transoceanic steamship travel emerged as a viable industry.

Highly efficient multiple expansion steam engines began being used on ships, allowing them to carry less coal than freight. [51] The oscillating engine was first built by Aaron Manby and Joseph Maudslay in the 1820s as a type of direct-acting engine that was designed to achieve further reductions in engine size and weight. Oscillating engines had the piston rods connected directly to the crankshaft, dispensing with the need for connecting rods. In order to achieve this aim, the engine cylinders were not immobile as in most engines, but secured in the middle by trunnions which allowed the cylinders themselves to pivot back and forth as the crankshaft rotated, hence the term oscillating.

It was John Penn, engineer for the Royal Navy who perfected the oscillating engine. One of his earliest engines was the grasshopper beam engine. In 1844 he replaced the engines of the Admiralty yacht, HMS Black Eagle with oscillating engines of double the power, without increasing either the weight or space occupied, an achievement which broke the naval supply dominance of Boulton & Watt and Maudslay, Son & Field. Penn also introduced the trunk engine for driving screw propellers in vessels of war. HMS Encounter (1846) and HMS Arrogant (1848) were the first ships to be fitted with such engines and such was their efficacy that by the time of Penn's death in 1878, the engines had been fitted in 230 ships and were the first mass-produced, high-pressure and high-revolution marine engines. [52]

The revolution in naval design led to the first modern battleships in the 1870s, evolved from the ironclad design of the 1860s. The Devastation-class turret ships were built for the British Royal Navy as the first class of ocean-going capital ship that did not carry sails, and the first whose entire main armament was mounted on top of the hull rather than inside it.

Rubber Edit

The vulcanization of rubber, by American Charles Goodyear and Englishman Thomas Hancock in the 1840s paved the way for a growing rubber industry, especially the manufacture of rubber tyres [53]

John Boyd Dunlop developed the first practical pneumatic tyre in 1887 in South Belfast. Willie Hume demonstrated the supremacy of Dunlop's newly invented pneumatic tyres in 1889, winning the tyre's first ever races in Ireland and then England. [54] [55] Dunlop's development of the pneumatic tyre arrived at a crucial time in the development of road transport and commercial production began in late 1890.

Bicycles Edit

The modern bicycle was designed by the English engineer Harry John Lawson in 1876, although it was John Kemp Starley who produced the first commercially successful safety bicycle a few years later. [56] Its popularity soon grew, causing the bike boom of the 1890s.

Road networks improved greatly in the period, using the Macadam method pioneered by Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam, and hard surfaced roads were built around the time of the bicycle craze of the 1890s. Modern tarmac was patented by British civil engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1901. [57]

Automobile Edit

German inventor Karl Benz patented the world's first automobile in 1886. It featured wire wheels (unlike carriages' wooden ones) [58] with a four-stroke engine of his own design between the rear wheels, with a very advanced coil ignition [59] and evaporative cooling rather than a radiator. [59] Power was transmitted by means of two roller chains to the rear axle. It was the first automobile entirely designed as such to generate its own power, not simply a motorized-stage coach or horse carriage.

Benz began to sell the vehicle (advertising it as the Benz Patent Motorwagen) in the late summer of 1888, making it the first commercially available automobile in history.

Henry Ford built his first car in 1896 and worked as a pioneer in the industry, with others who would eventually form their own companies, until the founding of Ford Motor Company in 1903. [28] Ford and others at the company struggled with ways to scale up production in keeping with Henry Ford's vision of a car designed and manufactured on a scale so as to be affordable by the average worker. [28] The solution that Ford Motor developed was a completely redesigned factory with machine tools and special purpose machines that were systematically positioned in the work sequence. All unnecessary human motions were eliminated by placing all work and tools within easy reach, and where practical on conveyors, forming the assembly line, the complete process being called mass production. This was the first time in history when a large, complex product consisting of 5000 parts had been produced on a scale of hundreds of thousands per year. [28] [33] The savings from mass production methods allowed the price of the Model T to decline from $780 in 1910 to $360 in 1916. In 1924 2 million T-Fords were produced and retailed $290 each. [60]

Applied science Edit

Applied science opened many opportunities. By the middle of the 19th century there was a scientific understanding of chemistry and a fundamental understanding of thermodynamics and by the last quarter of the century both of these sciences were near their present-day basic form. Thermodynamic principles were used in the development of physical chemistry. Understanding chemistry greatly aided the development of basic inorganic chemical manufacturing and the aniline dye industries.

The science of metallurgy was advanced through the work of Henry Clifton Sorby and others. Sorby pioneered the study of iron and steel under microscope, which paved the way for a scientific understanding of metal and the mass-production of steel. In 1863 he used etching with acid to study the microscopic structure of metals and was the first to understand that a small but precise quantity of carbon gave steel its strength. [61] This paved the way for Henry Bessemer and Robert Forester Mushet to develop the method for mass-producing steel.

Other processes were developed for purifying various elements such as chromium, molybdenum, titanium, vanadium and nickel which could be used for making alloys with special properties, especially with steel. Vanadium steel, for example, is strong and fatigue resistant, and was used in half the automotive steel. [62] Alloy steels were used for ball bearings which were used in large scale bicycle production in the 1880s. Ball and roller bearings also began being used in machinery. Other important alloys are used in high temperatures, such as steam turbine blades, and stainless steels for corrosion resistance.

The work of Justus von Liebig and August Wilhelm von Hofmann laid the groundwork for modern industrial chemistry. Liebig is considered the "father of the fertilizer industry" for his discovery of nitrogen as an essential plant nutrient and went on to establish Liebig's Extract of Meat Company which produced the Oxo meat extract. Hofmann headed a school of practical chemistry in London, under the style of the Royal College of Chemistry, introduced modern conventions for molecular modeling and taught Perkin who discovered the first synthetic dye.

The science of thermodynamics was developed into its modern form by Sadi Carnot, William Rankine, Rudolf Clausius, William Thomson, James Clerk Maxwell, Ludwig Boltzmann and J. Willard Gibbs. These scientific principles were applied to a variety of industrial concerns, including improving the efficiency of boilers and steam turbines. The work of Michael Faraday and others was pivotal in laying the foundations of the modern scientific understanding of electricity.

Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell was particularly influential—his discoveries ushered in the era of modern physics. [63] His most prominent achievement was to formulate a set of equations that described electricity, magnetism, and optics as manifestations of the same phenomenon, namely the electromagnetic field. [64] The unification of light and electrical phenomena led to the prediction of the existence of radio waves and was the basis for the future development of radio technology by Hughes, Marconi and others. [65]

Maxwell himself developed the first durable colour photograph in 1861 and published the first scientific treatment of control theory. [66] [67] Control theory is the basis for process control, which is widely used in automation, particularly for process industries, and for controlling ships and airplanes. [68] Control theory was developed to analyze the functioning of centrifugal governors on steam engines. These governors came into use in the late 18th century on wind and water mills to correctly position the gap between mill stones, and were adapted to steam engines by James Watt. Improved versions were used to stabilize automatic tracking mechanisms of telescopes and to control speed of ship propellers and rudders. However, those governors were sluggish and oscillated about the set point. James Clerk Maxwell wrote a paper mathematically analyzing the actions of governors, which marked the beginning of the formal development of control theory. The science was continually improved and evolved into an engineering discipline.

Fertilizer Edit

Justus von Liebig was the first to understand the importance of ammonia as fertilizer, and promoted the importance of inorganic minerals to plant nutrition. In England, he attempted to implement his theories commercially through a fertilizer created by treating phosphate of lime in bone meal with sulfuric acid. Another pioneer was John Bennet Lawes who began to experiment on the effects of various manures on plants growing in pots in 1837, leading to a manure formed by treating phosphates with sulphuric acid this was to be the first product of the nascent artificial manure industry. [69]

The discovery of coprolites in commercial quantities in East Anglia, led Fisons and Edward Packard to develop one of the first large-scale commercial fertilizer plants at Bramford, and Snape in the 1850s. By the 1870s superphosphates produced in those factories, were being shipped around the world from the port at Ipswich. [70] [71]

The Birkeland–Eyde process was developed by Norwegian industrialist and scientist Kristian Birkeland along with his business partner Sam Eyde in 1903, [72] but was soon replaced by the much more efficient Haber process, [73] developed by the Nobel prize-winning chemists Carl Bosch of IG Farben and Fritz Haber in Germany. [74] The process utilized molecular nitrogen (N2) and methane (CH4) gas in an economically sustainable synthesis of ammonia (NH3). The ammonia produced in the Haber process is the main raw material for production of nitric acid.

Engines and turbines Edit

The steam turbine was developed by Sir Charles Parsons in 1884. His first model was connected to a dynamo that generated 7.5 kW (10 hp) of electricity. [75] The invention of Parson's steam turbine made cheap and plentiful electricity possible and revolutionized marine transport and naval warfare. [76] By the time of Parson's death, his turbine had been adopted for all major world power stations. [77] Unlike earlier steam engines, the turbine produced rotary power rather than reciprocating power which required a crank and heavy flywheel. The large number of stages of the turbine allowed for high efficiency and reduced size by 90%. The turbine's first application was in shipping followed by electric generation in 1903.

The first widely used internal combustion engine was the Otto type of 1876. From the 1880s until electrification it was successful in small shops because small steam engines were inefficient and required too much operator attention. [5] The Otto engine soon began being used to power automobiles, and remains as today's common gasoline engine.

The diesel engine was independently designed by Rudolf Diesel and Herbert Akroyd Stuart in the 1890s using thermodynamic principles with the specific intention of being highly efficient. It took several years to perfect and become popular, but found application in shipping before powering locomotives. It remains the world's most efficient prime mover. [5]

Telecommunications Edit

The first commercial telegraph system was installed by Sir William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone in May 1837 between Euston railway station and Camden Town in London. [78]

The rapid expansion of telegraph networks took place throughout the century, with the first undersea cable being built by John Watkins Brett between France and England. The Atlantic Telegraph Company was formed in London in 1856 to undertake construction of a commercial telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean. This was successfully completed on 18 July 1866 by the ship SS Great Eastern, captained by Sir James Anderson after many mishaps along the away. [79] From the 1850s until 1911, British submarine cable systems dominated the world system. This was set out as a formal strategic goal, which became known as the All Red Line. [80]

The telephone was patented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, and like the early telegraph, it was used mainly to speed business transactions. [81]

As mentioned above, one of the most important scientific advancements in all of history was the unification of light, electricity and magnetism through Maxwell's electromagnetic theory. A scientific understanding of electricity was necessary for the development of efficient electric generators, motors and transformers. David Edward Hughes and Heinrich Hertz both demonstrated and confirmed the phenomenon of electromagnetic waves that had been predicted by Maxwell. [5]

It was Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi who successfully commercialized radio at the turn of the century. [82] He founded The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in Britain in 1897 [83] [84] and in the same year transmitted Morse code across Salisbury Plain, sent the first ever wireless communication over open sea [85] and made the first transatlantic transmission in 1901 from Poldhu, Cornwall to Signal Hill, Newfoundland. Marconi built high-powered stations on both sides of the Atlantic and began a commercial service to transmit nightly news summaries to subscribing ships in 1904. [86]

The key development of the vacuum tube by Sir John Ambrose Fleming in 1904 underpinned the development of modern electronics and radio broadcasting. Lee De Forest's subsequent invention of the triode allowed the amplification of electronic signals, which paved the way for radio broadcasting in the 1920s.

Modern business management Edit

Railroads are credited with creating the modern business enterprise by scholars such as Alfred Chandler. Previously, the management of most businesses had consisted of individual owners or groups of partners, some of whom often had little daily hands-on operations involvement. Centralized expertise in the home office was not enough. A railroad required expertise available across the whole length of its trackage, to deal with daily crises, breakdowns and bad weather. A collision in Massachusetts in 1841 led to a call for safety reform. This led to the reorganization of railroads into different departments with clear lines of management authority. When the telegraph became available, companies built telegraph lines along the railroads to keep track of trains. [87]

Railroads involved complex operations and employed extremely large amounts of capital and ran a more complicated business compared to anything previous. Consequently, they needed better ways to track costs. For example, to calculate rates they needed to know the cost of a ton-mile of freight. They also needed to keep track of cars, which could go missing for months at a time. This led to what was called "railroad accounting", which was later adopted by steel and other industries, and eventually became modern accounting. [88]

Later in the Second Industrial Revolution, Frederick Winslow Taylor and others in America developed the concept of scientific management or Taylorism. Scientific management initially concentrated on reducing the steps taken in performing work (such as bricklaying or shoveling) by using analysis such as time-and-motion studies, but the concepts evolved into fields such as industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering, and business management that helped to completely restructure [ citation needed ] the operations of factories, and later entire segments of the economy.

Taylor's core principles included: [ citation needed ]

  • replacing rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study of the tasks
  • scientifically selecting, training, and developing each employee rather than passively leaving them to train themselves
  • providing "detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performance of that worker's discrete task"
  • dividing work nearly equally between managers and workers, such that the managers apply scientific-management principles to planning the work and the workers actually perform the tasks

The period from 1870 to 1890 saw the greatest increase in economic growth in such a short period as ever in previous history. Living standards improved significantly in the newly industrialized countries as the prices of goods fell dramatically due to the increases in productivity. This caused unemployment and great upheavals in commerce and industry, with many laborers being displaced by machines and many factories, ships and other forms of fixed capital becoming obsolete in a very short time span. [51]

"The economic changes that have occurred during the last quarter of a century -or during the present generation of living men- have unquestionably been more important and more varied than during any period of the world's history". [51]

Crop failures no longer resulted in starvation in areas connected to large markets through transport infrastructure. [51]

Massive improvements in public health and sanitation resulted from public health initiatives, such as the construction of the London sewerage system in the 1860s and the passage of laws that regulated filtered water supplies—(the Metropolis Water Act introduced regulation of the water supply companies in London, including minimum standards of water quality for the first time in 1852). This greatly reduced the infection and death rates from many diseases.

By 1870 the work done by steam engines exceeded that done by animal and human power. Horses and mules remained important in agriculture until the development of the internal combustion tractor near the end of the Second Industrial Revolution. [89]

Improvements in steam efficiency, like triple-expansion steam engines, allowed ships to carry much more freight than coal, resulting in greatly increased volumes of international trade. Higher steam engine efficiency caused the number of steam engines to increase several fold, leading to an increase in coal usage, the phenomenon being called the Jevons paradox. [90]

By 1890 there was an international telegraph network allowing orders to be placed by merchants in England or the US to suppliers in India and China for goods to be transported in efficient new steamships. This, plus the opening of the Suez Canal, led to the decline of the great warehousing districts in London and elsewhere, and the elimination of many middlemen. [51]

The tremendous growth in productivity, transportation networks, industrial production and agricultural output lowered the prices of almost all goods. This led to many business failures and periods that were called depressions that occurred as the world economy actually grew. [51] See also: Long depression

The factory system centralized production in separate buildings funded and directed by specialists (as opposed to work at home). The division of labor made both unskilled and skilled labor more productive, and led to a rapid growth of population in industrial centers. The shift away from agriculture toward industry had occurred in Britain by the 1730s, when the percentage of the working population engaged in agriculture fell below 50%, a development that would only happen elsewhere (the Low Countries) in the 1830s and '40s. By 1890, the figure had fallen to under 10% and the vast majority of the British population was urbanized. This milestone was reached by the Low Countries and the US in the 1950s. [91]

Like the first industrial revolution, the second supported population growth and saw most governments protect their national economies with tariffs. Britain retained its belief in free trade throughout this period. The wide-ranging social impact of both revolutions included the remaking of the working class as new technologies appeared. The changes resulted in the creation of a larger, increasingly professional, middle class, the decline of child labor and the dramatic growth of a consumer-based, material culture. [92]

By 1900, the leaders in industrial production was Britain with 24% of the world total, followed by the US (19%), Germany (13%), Russia (9%) and France (7%). Europe together accounted for 62%. [93]

The great inventions and innovations of the Second Industrial Revolution are part of our modern life. They continued to be drivers of the economy until after WWII. Major innovations occurred in the post-war era, some of which are: computers, semiconductors, the fiber optic network and the Internet, cellular telephones, combustion turbines (jet engines) and the Green Revolution. [94] Although commercial aviation existed before WWII, it became a major industry after the war.

New products and services were introduced which greatly increased international trade. Improvements in steam engine design and the wide availability of cheap steel meant that slow, sailing ships were replaced with faster steamship, which could handle more trade with smaller crews. The chemical industries also moved to the forefront. Britain invested less in technological research than the U.S. and Germany, which caught up.

The development of more intricate and efficient machines along with mass production techniques (after 1910) greatly expanded output and lowered production costs. As a result, production often exceeded domestic demand. Among the new conditions, more markedly evident in Britain, the forerunner of Europe's industrial states, were the long-term effects of the severe Long Depression of 1873–1896, which had followed fifteen years of great economic instability. Businesses in practically every industry suffered from lengthy periods of low — and falling — profit rates and price deflation after 1873.

The U.S had its highest economic growth rate in the last two decades of the Second Industrial Revolution [96] however, population growth slowed while productivity growth peaked around the mid 20th century. The Gilded Age in America was based on heavy industry such as factories, railroads and coal mining. The iconic event was the opening of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, providing six-day service between the East Coast and San Francisco. [97]

During the Gilded Age, American railroad mileage tripled between 1860 and 1880, and tripled again by 1920, opening new areas to commercial farming, creating a truly national marketplace and inspiring a boom in coal mining and steel production. The voracious appetite for capital of the great trunk railroads facilitated the consolidation of the nation's financial market in Wall Street. By 1900, the process of economic concentration had extended into most branches of industry—a few large corporations, some organized as "trusts" (e.g. Standard Oil), dominated in steel, oil, sugar, meatpacking, and the manufacture of agriculture machinery. Other major components of this infrastructure were the new methods for manufacturing steel, especially the Bessemer process. The first billion-dollar corporation was United States Steel, formed by financier J. P. Morgan in 1901, who purchased and consolidated steel firms built by Andrew Carnegie and others. [98]

Increased mechanization of industry and improvements to worker efficiency, increased the productivity of factories while undercutting the need for skilled labor. Mechanical innovations such as batch and continuous processing began to become much more prominent in factories. This mechanization made some factories an assemblage of unskilled laborers performing simple and repetitive tasks under the direction of skilled foremen and engineers. In some cases, the advancement of such mechanization substituted for low-skilled workers altogether. Both the number of unskilled and skilled workers increased, as their wage rates grew [99] Engineering colleges were established to feed the enormous demand for expertise. Together with rapid growth of small business, a new middle class was rapidly growing, especially in northern cities. [100]

Employment distribution Edit

In the early 1900s there was a disparity between the levels of employment seen in the northern and southern United States. On average, states in the North had both a higher population, and a higher rate of employment than states in the South. The higher rate of employment is easily seen by considering the 1909 rates of employment compared to the populations of each state in the 1910 census. This difference was most notable in the states with the largest populations, such as New York and Pennsylvania. Each of these states had roughly 5 percent more of the total US workforce than would be expected given their populations. Conversely, the states in the South with the best actual rates of employment, North Carolina and Georgia, had roughly 2 percent less of the workforce than one would expect from their population. When the averages of all southern states and all northern states are taken, the trend holds with the North over-performing by about 2 percent, and the South under-performing by about 1 percent. [101]

The German Empire came to rival Britain as Europe's primary industrial nation during this period. Since Germany industrialized later, it was able to model its factories after those of Britain, thus making more efficient use of its capital and avoiding legacy methods in its leap to the envelope of technology. Germany invested more heavily than the British in research, especially in chemistry, motors and electricity. The German concern system (known as Konzerne), being significantly concentrated, was able to make more efficient use of capital. Germany was not weighted down with an expensive worldwide empire that needed defense. Following Germany's annexation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871, it absorbed parts of what had been France's industrial base. [102]

By 1900 the German chemical industry dominated the world market for synthetic dyes. The three major firms BASF, Bayer and Hoechst produced several hundred different dyes, along with the five smaller firms. In 1913 these eight firms produced almost 90 percent of the world supply of dyestuffs, and sold about 80 percent of their production abroad. The three major firms had also integrated upstream into the production of essential raw materials and they began to expand into other areas of chemistry such as pharmaceuticals, photographic film, agricultural chemicals and electrochemical. Top-level decision-making was in the hands of professional salaried managers, leading Chandler to call the German dye companies "the world's first truly managerial industrial enterprises". [103] There were many spin offs from research—such as the pharmaceutical industry, which emerged from chemical research. [104]

Belgium during the Belle Époque showed the value of the railways for speeding the Second Industrial Revolution. After 1830, when it broke away from the Netherlands and became a new nation, it decided to stimulate industry. It planned and funded a simple cruciform system that connected major cities, ports and mining areas, and linked to neighboring countries. Belgium thus became the railway center of the region. The system was soundly built along British lines, so that profits were low but the infrastructure necessary for rapid industrial growth was put in place. [105]

There have been other times that have been called "second industrial revolution". Industrial revolutions may be renumbered by taking earlier developments, such as the rise of medieval technology in the 12th century, or of ancient Chinese technology during the Tang Dynasty, or of ancient Roman technology, as first. "Second industrial revolution" has been used in the popular press and by technologists or industrialists to refer to the changes following the spread of new technology after World War I.

Excitement and debate over the dangers and benefits of the Atomic Age were more intense and lasting than those over the Space age but both were predicted to lead to another industrial revolution. At the start of the 21st century [106] the term "second industrial revolution" has been used to describe the anticipated effects of hypothetical molecular nanotechnology systems upon society. In this more recent scenario, they would render the majority of today's modern manufacturing processes obsolete, transforming all facets of the modern economy. Subsequent industrial revolutions include the Digital revolution and Environmental revolution.

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