INVENTIONS & INVENTORS OF THE
Before the innovations of the Industrial Revolution most production depended on water, wind or human energy. The businesses that existed at this time were called cottage industries. Cottage industries were an early stage of economic development in society in which workers produce a limited amount of goods in home-based businesses.
By the mid-1700’s, new methods of production were being developed across Europe, especially in Great Britain. One key to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Britain was the revolution in agriculture that greatly increased the amount and variety of food produced. The change was referred to as the Agricultural Revolution and led to several innovations, including:
The Agricultural Revolution set the stage for the Industrial Revolution. It led to increased food production and improved people’s diet and health and led to a rapid increase in population growth. With an increased population and lessened need for workers in the fields due to the increased production, it freed up many to leave the farms and move to the cities looking for work. The advances of the Agricultural Revolution and the impacts it had on society would ultimately lead to many of the other innovations of the Industrial Revolution.
One such industry that benefitted greatly from the innovations of the Industrial Revolution was the textile industry which is concerned with the production of cloth or clothing. The following had a profound effect on life during the Industrial Revolution:
The development of the steam engine would also have a profound effect on society and the overall Industrial Revolution. The following made dramatic advances in the development of the steam engine and putting it to other uses during the Industrial Revolution:
As the Industrial Revolution continued it led to many other inventions in other areas of society, including: communication technologies, transportation methods, and the overall methods of production.
- Discoveries in the field of electricity improved communication technologies. In 1866, the first underwater telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean was successfully installed, and ten years later, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
- In the late 1800’s American Thomas Edison produced an amazing array of inventions. Among them were the phonograph and the incandescent light bulb.
- In 1886, German scientist Gottlieb Daimler devised an internal combustion engine that was fuelled by gasoline and could power a small vehicle. His invention was one of the biggest advances in transportation technology since the development of the steam engine. Daimler would use his engine to create one of the first automobiles.
- An improvement in production was the introduction of the assembly line by Henry Ford in 1914. On an assembly line, the complex job of assembling many parts into a finished product was broken down into a series of small tasks. It sped up production and reduced costs as each worker was only required to install one or two parts at their position on the assembly line. Ford would use the assembly line to speed up the production of automobiles in his factory in Highland Park, Michigan.