What Were the Technological Advances of the Industrial Revolution?

Between 1775 and 1908, the Industrial Revolution brought about technological advances in transportation, communication and productivity. These inventions shaped the modern world and continue to influence technological inventions.

In 1775, James Watt’s steam engine sparked the Industrial Revolution by creating a new mechanism for powering locomotives and machinery. This made it possible to build factories and run machinery even when no water power was available. It also inspired Robert Fulton to launch steamboats on the Hudson River in 1807, opening the door for transatlantic travel. The steam engine led to the development of the electric motor in 1888 and the diesel engine in 1892, which fueled the development of the auto industry.

Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1836, a major technological development in communication. This device used electromagnetic currents to create codes that could be transmitted great distances via paper strips, leading Cyrus Field to invent the transatlantic cable in 1866, and Alexander Graham Bell to make the first telephone call in 1876.

Other developments of the Industrial Revolution that increased industrial productivity were Eli Whitney’s cotton gin in 1798, Elias Howe’s sewing machine in 1844, and Thomas Edison’s harnessing of electricity to create the first light bulb in 1879.