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Industrial Revolution Years, Timeline, and Inventions

The industrial revolution was an era of major innovation and mechanization. As the industrial revolution years progressed, there were inventions that had a huge impact on almost every aspect of society. This made people’s lives easier and improved society in so many ways. In this article, we will be discussing the industrial revolution years, timeline, and invention.

Related: Social Effects of the Industrial Revolution

Industrial revolution explained

The industrial revolution was a period of an economic and cultural shift from traditional agriculture, manual labor, and cottage industry to a system of factory-based manufacturing. This era involved the use of complex machinery, development in transportation, continual technological growth, and new energy sources. As society’s attention turned from human power to mechanical power, the effects of the industrial revolution were both positive and negative. The life that use to be centered around the rural home evolved to revolve around the urban factory.

Industrial revolution years, timeline, and inventions
Industrial revolution years, timeline, and inventions

Before the industrial age, the majority of households’ occupation was farming and they lived mainly in small, rural communities. However, with the advent of factories in the 17th and 18th centuries, people began migrating for the first time from rural communities to urban areas to work for factories that were located in those areas. Hence, rapid urbanization was one of the many consequences of the industrial revolution. Even though the wages paid in the factories were low, and the working conditions were harsh, people still preferred working for such businesses because it still paid a better living than farming.

During the industrial revolution years, there were lots of inventions. Inventions such as the steam engine were invented during the first industrial revolution and as a result of this engine, production efficiency improved. With the invention of the steam engine the time it took to manufacture products drastically reduced. This had a huge impact on society because the increase in efficient production subsequently reduced prices for products, as a result of lower labor costs.

Also, the industrial revolution years developed together with the capitalist economies. Business owners (capitalists) began to organize labor and introduced the division of labor in order to increase profitability and output. Compared to the initial system of craft and guild, capitalist production motivated innovation and technological change at an extraordinary rate.

First industrial revolution years

The first Industrial Revolution years began in the 1700s in Great Britain when innovation led to the mass production of goods as a result of machine manufacturing. It began in England in about 1750–1760 and lasted till sometime between 1820 and 1840. This era was largely confined to Britain and was dominated by the exploitation of coal and iron and is one of the most distinguished turning points in human history.

During the years of the first industrial revolution, human and animal labor technology transformed into machinery technology, such as the spinning jenny, the steam engine, coke smelting, etc. Hence, the industrial revolution years was a timeline of process change from a handicraft and agrarian economy to one dominated by industry and machine manufacturing.

Second industrial revolution years

The Second Industrial Revolution began in the 1870s and continued through World War II. This period is also known as the Technological Revolution. Hence, the second industrial revolution years are dated from 1870-1914. Nonetheless, this revolution continued into the 20th century with early factory electrification and production line. During this era, inventions and the advancements in factory workflow, such as mass production, electrification, and automation contributed to economic growth. It was basically a period of rapid scientific discovery, standardization, mass production, and industrialization.

It is said that the Third Industrial Revolution followed the second starting in 1947 in which digital communications technology and the internet changed how we transmit information, interact with each other, and do business.

See also: What was the bracero program? (Mexican farm labor program)

Industrial revolution inventions and their years

  1. Watt’s Steam engine (1764)
  2. Steam railway locomotive (1803)
  3. The water frame (patented in 1769)
  4. Spinning jenny (patented in 1770)
  5. Spinning mule (1779)
  6. Cotton gin (1793)
  7. Power loom (1785)
  8. Flying shuttle (patented in 1733)
  9. The light bulb (1879)
  10. The cash register (1883)
  11. The radio (1895)
  12. The telephone (1876)
  13. The airplane (1903)
  14. The internal combustion engine (1886)
  15. Plastics (1907)
  16. The automobile (1886)
  17. Synthetic dyes (1907)
  18. The moving picture (1895)
  19. Aspirin (1899)
  20. The typewriter (1867)
  21. Canned food (1809)
  22. The camera (1888)
  23. The phonograph (1877)

Listed above are some of the Industrial revolution inventions and their associated years.

Industrial revolution inventions and their significance

The inventions from the industrial age are one of the major positive effects of the industrial revolution. Inventions from the first revolution such as the spinning jenny, water frame, and spinning mule made the mass production of high-quality cotton and woolen thread and yarn possible. These inventions in the second half of the 18th century helped transform Great Britain into the world’s leading manufacturer of textiles.

The steam engine is one of the most notable inventions of the first industrial revolution. The application of the steam engine in manufacturing and its use as a power source in ships and railway locomotives increased the productive capacity of factories which led to the great expansion of international and national transportation networks in the 19th century.

Also, another significant innovation was the new methodological invention of the smelting iron by using coke. This method was used in the production of iron and was introduced during the early 18th century. Using this method increased production rates because coke could heat iron more quickly than charcoal. This iron was essential in creating railroad lines and industrial machinery.

Compared to the first, the second industrial revolution recorded more inventions. The first significant invention of this era was the transcontinental railroad that was built in the U.S. which made transportation better. In the 1870s, important inventions such as the Bessemer process, the open-hearth process in the steel mills, electric light, automatic signals, air brakes, telephone, typewriter, and knuckle couplers on the railroads were made.

Technology advanced and in the 1880s the elevator and structural steel for buildings were invented, which led to the first skyscrapers. In the 1890s, the internal combustion engine, the phonograph, motion pictures, and the electric generator were invented. The electric generator gradually replaced the water and steam-powered engines from the first industrial revolution and the internal combustion engine made the first automobiles and the first airplane flight by the Wright brothers possible in 1903, making transportation better and faster.

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Table showing the Industrial revolution years, timeline, and inventions

Years (date)Industrial revolution inventions
1733The flying shuttle patented by British inventor, John Kay increased the speed of weaving and permitted picking (an operation that opens the fleece) to be performed by one person
1764James Watt made a critical improvement to Thomas Newcomen’s steam engine and by the 19th century, Watt’s steam engine became a primary power source in mills, distilleries, canals, and waterworks
1764James Hargreaves invented a new kind of spinning machine that could draw a thread from eight spindles simultaneously instead of just one (as in the traditional spinning wheel). In 1770, he obtained a patent for the spinning jenny
1765The water frame was first used in 1765 and patented in 1769 by Richard Arkwright. This was the first fully automatic and continuously operating spinning machine
1779Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule, which he designed by combining features of the water frame and spinning jenny
1785Edmund Cartwright invented and patented the first successful power loom in 1785 which was the first practical design that could weave wide cloth in a mass-manufacturing process
1793Eli Whitney created a modern mechanical cotton gin and had it patented in 1794
1803Richard Trevithick, a British engineer invented the steam railway locomotive which was an application of the steam engine
1869The transcontinental railroad in the United States is completed
1872George Westinghouse invented the airbrake for stopping trains effectively, thus, reducing accidents
1876Alexander Graham Bell invented and patented the telephone
1877Thomas Edison invented the phonograph
1878The invention of the modern typewriter by Christopher Lathan Sholes
1879Thomas Edison invented the modern lightbulb
1885The first metal frame skyscraper was built in Chicago
1891London runs on the central electrical power station
1895Guglielmo Marconi sent and received his first radio signal in Italy
1903The Wright Brothers fly their airplane in North Carolina
1908Henry Ford invents the assembly line
1914John Froelich invented the tractor
Industrial revolution years, timeline, and inventions