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
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
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.