Inventions of the Industrial Revolution By Brian Willman

Changes in Textile Production

The flying shuttle, invented by John Kay in 1733, was a big step toward automatic weaving. Previously, when using a loom, the shuttle had to be passed through the threads by hand, and sometimes a second weaver was required for this process. After this invention, one could simply pass the shuttle back and forth with the use of paddles. One weaver could now create the same output of fabrics than two could prior to Kay's invention.

Later on, in 1768, James Hargreave's invention of the spinning jenny allowed for spinner to produce yarn in much larger quantities. This invention was much needed, as cotton production could not keep up with the demand of the textile industry. As a result of this invention, yarn was now being spun at a much higher rate than cloth was being woven.

In 1787, Edmund Cartwright would invent a new loom. His loom, powered by water, finally allowed for their to be an equal amount of yarn being spun and cloth being woven. The fact that his invention was water driven made it very convenient to start collective, rather than individual, labor in factories located near running water.

One of the most significant inventions that affected textile production was James Watt's steam engine. In the 1760s, the Scottish engineer was able to pump water from mines at triple the speed other engines could. At first, his invention was most usefull for greater amounts of coal extraction; however, in 1782 he would go on to develop a rotary engine. This allowed for people to drive machinery. Steam power was then applied to textile manufacturing, and not before long did cotton mills begin to pop up all over Britain.

The Steam Engine

Other Technological Changes

In Britain, and elsewhere in the world, iron production was still similar to the way it was in the Middle Ages. That is until the 1780s when Henry Cort created a system known as puddling. Through this process, coke that was derived from coal was used to burn impurities out of iron and produce a higher grade of the metal. As a result of this technique, the British iron industry was booming.

Puddling Iron

Later on, perhaps the best known invention of the Revolution was the steam powered locomotive. Invented in 1804, Richard Trevithick was able to pull 20,000 pounds of metal and seventy people, but only at five miles per hour. In the future, more efficient and powerful engines built by George Stephenson and his son were used to power the first public railway line in 1830. Their great work, Stephenson's Rocket went on to change Britain forever as within the next 10 years, 6,000 miles of railroads stretched all across the country.

Stephenson' Rocket

Electricity in the Revolution

Another iconic invention of this time was the lightbulb. Created by just two men alone, Thomas Edison and the Briton Joseph Swan, in 1879, this revolutionary invention grew to light up the world we live in today. Throughout the 1880s, electricity transformed methods of transportation and the efficiency of factories.

Industrial Communications

Other examples of inventions that greatly changed the world we live in today most definitely come from communications. Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone in 1876 and Guglielmo Marconi's sending ofnthe first radio waves across the Atlantic Ocean in 1901 were just a small step towards the computers we have in our pockets today; however, could you imagine just how hard it would be to invent this product that no one today used anymore?

Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers

With the development of the internal combustion engine, a new power source was now possible for transportation. However, production of automobiles was very slow. That is until an American, Henry Ford, started mass production of cars, his being the Model T. This was made largely possible because of the assembly line, and in 1916 Ford's factories produced 735,000 cars every year.

The Assembly Line

Later on, Wilbur and Orville Wright became credited for the first flight in a fixed-wing airplane. As a result of their achievement in 1903, the first passenger air service was established in 1919.

The Wright Brothers and their Greatest Achievement

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