Inventions of the Industrial Revolution

L. Parlette

Telephone- 1876

First Telephone
Alexander Graham Bell

The telephone revolutionized personal and business communication.  The telephone changed the way we talk to people and the way we access information.  The telephone allowed people to become more tuned into the issues that were happening around them.  People could talk with other people for long periods of time with the use of the telephone and receive information faster than by mail.  The telephone was also very important for businesses.

Lightbulb- 1879

Thomas Edison

The invention of the lightbulb encouraged economic development.  The lightbulb changed the way we live. Before the light bulb was invented, candles, gas and oil lamps provided some light at night however, that light was less significant in comparison to the light of incandescent bulbs. Candles, gas and oil provided a dull and expensive source of  light. With the light bulb came more opportunities to engage in business and social activities at night. People became more productive and the economy thrived with the extra business hours.

Typewriter- 1873


The typewriter created an easier way to write documents and letters.  It helped people to type things quicker because it was very time-consuming to hand write.  The typewriter was important for businesses because information was able to be recorded quickly and be readable to all people.

Phonograph- 1877

Thomas Edison

The phonograph created a future for sound recording. It helped people come up with new ideas for inventions on sound recording.  The phonograph was the basis of many recording and music playing devices. The inventor of the phonograph realized the benefits of personal entertainment,  many of which we now enjoy every time we listen to recorded music on a device.

Airplane- 1903

Wilbur and Orville Wright

The first airplane created many advances in flight.  Travel by air could become much more convenient.  The invention of airplanes was so significant because they could travel quicker and farther.  It created a new level of fighting in war.

Sewing Machine- 1844

First Sewing Machine
Elias Howe

The sewing machine greatly helped our economy and affected our daily lives. The clothes we wear today were produced by a type of sewing machine. The sewing machine made making fabric easier and faster than having to hand make it.  Specifically, the sewing machine greatly impacted the textile industry and women. Women were the ones working in the textile mills using the sewing machine.  They gained a new skill, and were seen as important for the industry. The sewing machine also helped other industries to grow.  For example, the need for large quantities of thread increased for the factory machines. Others benefited from sewing machines such as metal companies (for parts and needles), varied machinists (to repair the machines when needed), and shipping companies because more products were being made.

Hand-held Camera- 1888

First Hand-held Camera
George Eastman

The first hand-held camera was light and allowed people that were not trained photographers to use a camera.  Before, the camera was as big as a microwave oven and needed a heavy tripod.  This is why the first hand-held camera is so important because you don't need a tripod because it is not as large.  It was also a lot easier because all you did was press one button.  The camera also allows you to remember memories and history from the past.

Automatic Dishwasher- 1886

First automatic dishwasher
Josephine Cochrane

The first automatic dishwasher was very convenient and time-saving.  It was time-consuming to wash dishes by hand.  The dishwasher also protects nice dishes from breaking.  It was extremely useful for hotel and restaurant owners. The first dishwasher freed up time spent by women on household chores.

Steam Engine- 1775

First Steam Engine
James Watt

The steam engine helped create lots of the technology we currently have today. It was used for many machines such as helping move heavy objects, getting water out of coal, iron and other types of mines. It created factories all around the world.  The steam engine is the foundation of all mechanical technology in the past and present. It was the first true source of automatic energy  (not including water or wind energy). The steam engine also helped with our traveling.  It made us able to travel much farther and faster with more people.  For example, trains are used to transport lots of supplies across great distances as well as transporting people. It was helpful to people and businesses. Instead of sending a small amount of cargo such as wood, fur, and coal, they could send thousands of supplies in a single trip by a train. Another example of the steam engine helping us with traveling is with the steam boat.

Cotton Gin- 1794

Cotton Gin
Eli Whitney

The cotton gin allowed farmers to plant and be more efficient at cotton farming. Processing cotton became much easier, resulting in greater availability and inexpensive cloth. However, it helped strengthen slavery in the South. Although the cotton gin made cotton processing less labor-intensive, it helped famers earn greater profits, motivating them to grow larger crops, which in turn required more people.  Slavery was the cheapest form of labor, so cotton farmers simply acquired more slaves.

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