The Industrial Revolution began around 1750 when technology and economic progress became the focus of improvement around the world. The Industrial Revolution merged into the second Industrial Revolution approximately a decade later when the technology shifted from steam power to electrical power generation. In the 150 year time-span between 1750 to 1900 many inventions were created that changed the movement of the entire population.
Transportation was changed dramatically by the invention of the steam engine. While steam power was first known of in the late 1600's, the powerful engine was first made truly usable by James Watt in 1778. These steam engines helped run factories and were used to power steam boats and locomotives, allowing people to travel faster, safer and longer distances than they had in the past on horse and buggy. The steam engine was not powerful enough for large factories, but the steam engine was used to help build stronger and faster engines.
Before Thomas Edison began his experimenting with electric light in 1879, people were forced to rely on the sun's natural light during the daytime and candles, made in the home from wax and fat, at night. After playing around with bits of elements, Edison discovered carbon was key. The electric light paved the way for electric power. In the 1880s, electric power was used to light up houses and run street lamps.
In 1775 Alexander Cummings received the patent for the first flushing toilet. Medical experts discovered that poor sanitary conditions left people more susceptible to disease. In 1829 the Tremont Hotel in Boston put indoor plumbing in, making it the first hotel to do so. In the 1840s, the middle class began to add indoor plumbing to their homes. Prior to that only the upper class had indoor plumbing. Before the invention of indoor plumbing, households used either a basin or an outdoor toilet, called an outhouse, for human waste. Not only is indoor plumbing a luxury many people don't even think about, indoor plumbing keeps people safe from many deadly diseases.
In the mid-1870s, Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray both independently designed devices that could transmit sound. Graham Bell was the first to have his design for the telephone patented, although Gray was only a few hours behind. During a sound experiment in 1875, Graham Bell discovered he could hear over the wire. The first phone call placed was on March 10, 1876, between Graham Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson, who was seated in the next room.
About the Author
Suzanne Hodgson is a graduate of Penn State University, receiving Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and integrative art. She works at a marketing firm and has previously served as the photographer and journalist for the "Kennebunk Post," a weekly paper in southern Maine.