Inventions of the Industrial Revolution

D. Voogd

The Telephone, 1876

Alexander Graham Bell

The telephone was important because communication was able to blossom into swift phone calls, rather than just letters sent across the nation.  The military, businesses, politicians, and eventually everyday citizens could turn an assignment or transaction that would have taken months into a few weeks, days, or even hours.  The faster a nation can communicate, the faster it will grow.

Automatic Lubricator, 1872

Elijah Mccoy

The automatic lubricator made train travel faster and cheaper.  This is because train engines were able to travel without need for maintenance, and because they were constantly lubed, they ran much faster than they used to.  This allowed people and supplies to be shipped faster and increased the western population with the cheaper travel.

Typewriter, 1873

Christopher Sholes

The typewriter was important because it allowed businesses to quickly type notes rather than write, allowing every business large or small to increase productivity.  This increased the number of papers like accounts and statistics the businesses could create in a day by over 100%.  Because of this, businesses could focus more on making money than writing about it.

Phonograph, 1877

Thomas Edison

The phonograph was the forefather of all sound recording equipment.  It allowed radios, jukeboxes, talking toys, and recorded phone messages to be possible.  This allowed records of vocal communication to be archived and played for future reference.

Dishwasher, 1886

Josephine Cochrane

The dishwasher helped hospitals, hotels, and restaurants improve sanitary conditions.  It also started a trend in kitchen appliances meant to ease people's time in the kitchen.  Cochrane also unofficially founded Whirlpool (Kitchen Aid) appliances.

Ice Machine, 1866

Thaddeus Lowe

The ice machine allowed perishable goods to last much longer, and soon trains were able to transport meat across America.  This allowed areas with a lack of produce to have more meat storable for a longer time.  This also allowed the refrigerator and freezer to be invented.  It also saved meat companies money because they did not need to use salt for storage, which can get expensive.

Lightbulb, 1879

Thomas Edison

The invention of the lightbulb allowed people to light their homes without much risk of catching fire to the whole neighborhood.  The lightbulb also allowed a large number of future inventions to be created, such as flicks (also made by Edison) and soon television.  This created brighter and more efficient light as well, and businesses could actually have light for every room at the flick of a switch.

Handheld Camera, 1888

George Eastman

The Kodak allowed cameras to be portable and easy to use, also paving the way for modern cameras.  It allowed everyone to own a camera so they didn't have to pay someone every time they wanted a picture.  The Kodak weighed very little compared to the old 50 lb. cameras and was therefore quite portable in comparison.

Gas Powered Automobile, 1893

Charles (left) and Frank (right) Duryea

The gas-powered automobile revolutionized travel, allowing it to be fast and more independent than a train so that you are not bound to their stops.  The automobile also helped military technology become more mobile, and they even spread to everyday society.  The vehicle began the modern means fore transporting goods as well, the age of the semi truck.


The aero-plane (soon called airplane) sped up travel exponentially.  Planes quickly replaced the blimp for their speed, and they tended not to explode if someone poked a hole into the largest and most conspicuous part of them, like blimps did.  The military found fast use for planes to transport people, run reconnaissance, transport supplies, and to destroy targets.  The public also gained access to travel across the United States after some time, then later around the world.  Thanks to the flyable plane, we can travel around the world within a day (with military grade jets, 747s may take longer than a day).

Orville (left) and Wilbur (right) Wright

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