A New Industrial Revolution. An Age of Invention, Innovation, and Industrialization in the United States. Coal, Lead, Iron, Copper, and timber (Lumber). 1. The Bessemer Process. 2 .
An Age of Invention, Innovation, and Industrialization in the United States
The Bessemer Process allowed steel mills to refine iron into a stronger quality of steel, faster and cheaper. The method was used by companies across the United States, but perfected by Andrew Carnegie’s Steel Companies, which soon dominated the Steel Industry.
Steel mills once dominated the skyline in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where three rivers converged: The Ohio, the Alleghany, and the Monongahela. The water was put to use in the mills, and Andrew Carnegie built his steel empire by hiring the immigrant community and putting them to work.
Oil was discovered here in 1859 by Edwin Drake, who would go on to establish the first Oil Refineries in the United States. Although we usually associate oil with the Gulf Coast today, you can still see the heritage of Pennsylvania oil drillers in brand names like Pennzoil and Quaker State.
Railroads improved service by laying thousands of miles of new track, and installing high quality sleeping cars and dining cars were installed in most passenger trains by the late 19th Century, allowing men and women to travel luxuriously. Many railroad companies charged very high prices for these services – but wealthy passengers were happy to pay for the chance to watch the countryside roll by in comfort.
Railroads found ways to limit competition and keep prices high which controlled the entire market in their region by consolidating lines, buying up smaller lines or forcing them out of business- they formed monopolies - or secret arrangements between railroad companies to fix prices at a high rate - called pools - hurt consumers, especially small farmers.
A patent is a document issued by the government which gives an inventor the sole right to make and sell his or her invention. Patents allow inventors to become quite wealthy in some instances –Edison, Bell, or Bill Gates! But often, rival inventors get into heated disputes over who deserves credit for the invention!
Inventors are awarded patents so that they can benefit from their own innovations – otherwise, wealthy manufacturers could take apart the item and make their own versions very quickly – taking money from the inventors!
The Electric Lightbulb
The Electrical Power Plant
The Motion Picture Machine
It was Cyrus Field who finally created the first telegraphic cable across the Atlantic Ocean. Thereafter, Americans and Europeans could communicate newsworthy events almost immediately!
In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Working in his own home, Bell was preparing a new test of the line when he spilled an acidic liquid on his hand. He cried out, “Mr. Watson, come here! I want you!” The message was heard, word for word, across the telephone wire.
AT&T, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, has been in business for over 100 years. Over the course of time, Bell’s original invention has become virtually obsolete – but the telecommunications industry is still big business.
Henry Ford used the assembly line in order to mass produce automobiles. His first big seller, the Model-T Ford, or “Tin Lizzy” came in any color you like – as long as its black! Making all the cars look the same allowed Ford to make hundreds, then thousands per day.