Alexander Graham Bell
The Industrial Revolution changed America from an agricultural to an industrial nation.
After the Revolutionary War, British inventors developed a machine that could make cloth quickly and cheaply. The first of these machines came to America in 1789. A factory went up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. After this many textile mills, which made cloth, were built in New England.
After the textile mills began to grow more cotton was needed to make the cloth. In 1793 Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. This machine took the seeds out of cotton.
By 1840 more than one thousand textile mills were making cloth in New England. This changed the way people lived. New inventions had to be made to transport the cloth, so the steam engine was made. In August of 1807 John Fulton built a steamboat. In 1830 Peter Cooper put a steam engine into a train. Before this trains were pulled by horses.
In 1844 Samuel Morse invented the telegraph. The telegraph is a machine that could sent messages through wires over long distances. By 1860 the telegraph wire was stretched all the way from Washington, D. C. to San Francisco, California.
In 1846 Elias Howe invented the sewing machine. Many factories were built that made clothing.
In 1846 William Kelly found a way to turn iron into steel. Steel was stronger and easier to work with than iron. Kelly's method helped the growing number of factories who needed iron in many of their machines. In 1853 Henry Bessemer studied Kelly's idea. He changed it just a little so that steel could be made more cheaply and in large quantities.
Cyrus McCormick developed the reaper. This machine helped farmers to harvest larger amounts of grain. John Deere of Illinois invented a plow with a steel blade that could be used in the soil of the grassy plains of the Midwest.
The Civil War became a test for many of the new inventions. The armies needed railroads to move men and supplies. They used the telegraph to send orders. Even ironclad ships were used.
Inventions of the 19th Century Timeline