The Industrial Revolution boasts many advancements and achievements in technology and science. Inventions created during the Industrial Revolution paved the foundations of Industrial America. Transportation was greatly expanded upon, electricity was discovered, and industrial processes were improved. Below are some of the greatest inventions and achievements that occurred during the industrial age.
The cotton gin was created by Eli Whitney. It was designed to weed out the cotton from its seeds. Previously, cottonseed had to be separated by hand and was very time consuming. The cotton gin automated the process using a small wire screen and hooks that pulled the cotton over the screen and separated the seeds.
Transportation – Canals & Railroads
During the late 1700s to the mid-1800s, major industrialization began to occur across the USA and in cities worldwide. Efficient methods of transportation were discovered during this Industrial revolution, such as the steam engine and canals. These new-found ideas were also spurred on by the discovery of electricity, which helped transportation systems form in leaps and bounds. This resulted in materials and finished goods being moved from place-to-place on a much larger scale, and at the fraction of the cost.
The construction of canals began in the mid-1700s. They were first used to link major industrial districts to one another, so as to aid in the transportation of large quantities of materials and heavy objects. They allowed the movement of materials and objects across large distances at a fairly low cost. These man-made channels were the perfect depth to allow barges to safely pass, and these barges and boats were capable of carrying nearly forty tons of weight. Canal systems, however, were soon overshadowed by steam engines and railroads.
One of the most crucial inventions during the Industrial Revolution was the construction of a reliable, well-made steam engine. Thomas Newcomen was not the inventor, but rather improved upon the invention to make it viable for work and use. This invention allowed for widespread transportation, as well as efficiently trading goods and raw materials across large areas.
The basics of railroad transport were already in use by the late 1700s, as tramways in coal mines. It wasn’t until the early 1800s, though, that steam engines were developed. James Watt is credited as the inventor of what could be considered as one of the greatest achievements of the Industrial Revolution. After some tweaking and finessing by Watt and other engineers, the steam engine dominated the transportation systems of major countries for nearly a century. Within a twenty year span, England had created over seven thousand miles of railways. Steam engines were able to transport both passengers and freight with ease, thus greatly aiding in economical and industrial growth.
During the Industrial Age in the late 1800s, many breakthroughs in medicine occurred. The basic concepts of disease, sanitation, and medical care were all advanced upon during this time. Many of the ideas discovered would go on to fuel the extensive knowledge and treatments we have available today.
In 1870, Louie Pasteur from France showed the link between microbes and illness. He also proved false the concept of spontaneous generation – that life could spring from nonliving matter. He showed the bacteria are like other living organisms and can reproduce, and are always constantly in the air. He went on the event pasteurization, which kills the bacteria that ferment and cause the souring of milk, wine, and juices.
Pain management techniques advanced as well. Crawford Long, an American surgeon, had often used a gas called “ether” to make his patients unconscious and to eliminate pain. It was actually an anesthetic, and it was later developed upon and used regularly during operations. Unfortunately, many patients continued to die from infections due to unsanitary medical practices.
Ramirez et al. World History: Human Legacy. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2008. Print.
Montagna, John. “The Industrial Revolution.” Yale- New Haven Teachers Institute. 2010.