Before the late 1700s, American lives were lived in small towns with only simple machines and revolved around farming. The Industrial Revolution period changed that.
It consisted of many new inventions in America and is a period of major industrialization that took place during the late 1700s and early 1800s. This time period saw the mechanization of agriculture and textile manufacturing and a revolution in power. While industrialization increased the variety of manufactured goods and improved the standard of living for some, it also resulted in unemployment, poor living conditions, and an increase in slavery. How did the Industrial Revolution inventions impact American history? Although it had some negative outcomes, it overall benefited America by making a shift in labor, agriculture, and transportation that is still a part of modern society. There were multiple inventions that changed labor/textile industries in America. Invented by Eli Whitney, the cotton gin revolutionized the economy in 1793.
Before the cotton gin, it took a whole day to produce one pound of clean, usable cotton. With this machine, one person was now able to produce 50 pounds of cotton in one day. It is a machine with metal wires that protrude through slats so that when the machine was dragged through a field of cotton plants, the wires got a hold on the fibers and pulled them out of the seeds. Another invention that changed the textile industries was the Spinning Jenny. It revolutionized the process of cotton spinning. Many factories had up to 600 employees who worked the machines.
It had eight spindles onto which the thread was spun, so by turning a single wheel, the operator could spin eight threads at once. Another invention was the Spinning Mule invented by Samuel Crompton. It was a machine that gave the spinners more control over the weaving process and produced many types of yarn.
It carried 1320 spindles and was up to 46 meters long. Although these were very successful textile inventions, they had some negative impacts. Being able to produce usable cotton 50 times faster than before caused the plantation system to be profitable once again.
In order to produce more cotton, Southern plantation owners began importing slaves from Africa to work against their will. Slavery became an international issue which led to the civil war against the North and South. Slavery was abolished in 1865. Although these inventions caused problems, the benefits and positive impacts outweigh them. These inventions opened a way to a mechanized way of producing cloth which allowed for the mass production of clothing. Many agriculture inventions helped boost the crops and farms.
One of them was the steel plow in 1837 invented by John Deere. It was used for farmers in the Middle-West to break up the tough soil without it getting stuck. The steel plow was the first step in making farming equipment that we know today.
It allowed Americans to grow a bigger amount of crops for the growing nation. Two other inventions were Reapers and Threshers. A reaper allowed less people to physically cut the wheat stalks much faster. A thresher then allowed a smaller group to thresh the grains from the stalks of a much larger quantity of wheat. These inventions resulted in the increase of farm production. In 1874, Isaac Ellwood invented barbed wire. Barbed wire is a series of wired fence with spikes protruding from the wire. The purpose of this is to “prick” the animal when it comes in contact with it and to avoid livestock from breaking through.
Before barbed wire, it was hard for farmers to keep a hold on all of their livestock and this type of fence kept animals from escaping. Agricultural inventions during the industrial revolution didn’t cause many problems and had mostly a positive impact. One problem was that neighboring farmers and ranchers started to “barrow” wire from railroad fences for their own land and use. Because so many barbed wire fences were being sold, it was almost impossible to find who stole the wire and uncover the missing wire. Another problem was that the inventions made it easier for less people to farm the land and so a lot of people moved away from the farm land and into the city. Although the inventions caused these issues, there were many positive impacts from them. Before the industrial revolution, farmers labored 6 days a week, from sunrise to sunset, just to keep their crops alive.
It was more of a lifestyle for families than a job. The new inventions created a decline in both the intensity of the work, and the number of agricultural workers needed. Now, it was easier to grow more crops even faster with less people and work. There were several inventions that changed the way products and goods were transported across America. James Watt invented the steam engine in 1775. The basic process has=d a cylinder filled with water.
Steam was then delivered to the cylinder, displacing the water, which flowed out through a one-way valve. Once all the water was ejected, the cylinder was sprayed with cool water to drop the temperature and condense the steam inside. It created a vacuum inside the cylinder, which then pulled up additional water to refill the cylinder, completing the pump cycle. These could be used to power trains and boats.
In 1869, railroads became a huge part of transportation in the United States. Railroads were used for shipping good and people. It sped up the transportation process by a lot and railroads were built throughout the whole country. A steam engine lubricator was invented by Elijah McCoy. All trains had to be stopped and shutdown to be oiled which was time consuming. This invention allowed the machines to oil themselves as they ran.
It completely changed the railroad industry because trains did not have to stop every few miles for oil. There were a few problem caused by transportation inventions. Railroads were expensive and there were often delays or accidents.
Although there were negative impacts, there were mostly positive impacts. Before the industrial revolution, it took weeks or months to deliver a letter, package, and goods. There was a revolution caused by transportation inventions that changed all that. The industrial revolution consisted of many life changing inventions for textile industries, agriculture, and transportation. During this period, people changed the process of manufacturing dramatically. Instead of doing everything by hand, machines made it easier in big factories.
Instead of working in fields for hours every day farming, people were able to use machines that reduced the amount of time and effort. Also, instead of taking months to transport anything, America could ship letters, packages, and products faster. The industrial revolution marked a turning point in America and caused the population to increase, cities to grow, and introduced new technology. Even though it had some negative effects, the benefits from the inventions outweigh them because they changed the way products were made and shipped into part of our society today in America. Therefore, the industrial revolution inventions made an impact on America.
Our lives would not be the way they are if it were not for this time period and inventions that occured.