Steel was important to the second industrial revolution because it was cheaper and easier to use than other metals, such as iron. The rise of steel was responsible for new innovations in construction and transportation, as well.
The strength and lightweight attributes of steel, along with the significantly lower cost compared to other metals, made it possible for builders to start constructing skyscrapers that changed the horizon of most American cities. Connecting these great skyscraper cities was the introduction of a much more powerful locomotive. The use of steel in the rail industry allowed the production of more powerful locomotives that could carry more and go farther. Due to the lower cost of steel, railway tycoons were able to expand the railway networks farther and faster at reduced cost.
This change was significant because it caused the railway to become the dominant mode of transportation. Goods and services moved at a much faster rate and in greater quantities. This had the domino effect of an overall lowering of the cost of shipping, thus extending wealth to new areas of the country. Although steel gave rise to the skyscrapers of the cities, the impact on the railway brought life to parts of the country not possible previously.