Science and Technology

Since 1790 the United States Patent Office has granted more than 6 million patents. The number of patents issued increased dramatically during the 19th century, because of the American industrial revolution. The middle and late 19th century was a golden age for American invention.

I will present a list with many inventions that were developed and used in America during the XIX century

The Steam Engine

Steam-powered-engine-533x400The steam had been first experimented by the ancients Greeks an Romans, but it wasn’t until the XIX centurythat it became the truly practical energy source which was to ignite the industrial revolution. It is impossible to imagine the nineteenth century without the steam power, for in many ways it was the driving force behind America’s western expansion, played a major role in the North winning the civil war and helped the United States take its first tentative steps towards becoming a regional power.

The locomotive 

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Of course the steam machine had a practical application, it had to drive something. First appearing in United States in 1829with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Tom Thumb demonstration locomotive, by the middle of the century literally hundreds of engines were operating in the country and by the end of the nineteenth century, the entire nation could be crossed by rail in a matter of days. It is said that the locomotive that made America what it is today.

The Telephone

first-telephone

In that time the idea of a voice’s person traveled through the air was considered something  unrealistic, and impossible to make when it was first proposed but by the time Alexander Graham Bell patented his “electric telegraph” in March of 1876, it was not only a reality, but was to forever change the country.

The Telegraph 

first-telegraph

The telegraph was developed independently in the United States by Samuel Morse and his assistant, Alfred Vail, in 1837. How did it change things? Consider that Lincoln got word of the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg within hours of the guns falling silent and could order his field commanders to new battlefields in a matter of minutes from the telegraph office a few doors down from his office in the White House.

The Internal Combustion Engine 

Antique-gasoline-engine-228x400

Meanwhile steam remained the primary source throughout, by the end of 1880’s its successor—the internal combustion engine—was making its first appearance, both in the form of the gasoline powered four-stroke engine and the more efficient diesel engine. They were to lay the foundation not only for the ultimate demise of the steam engine, but for a number of industries people at the time could only imagine: the automobile, the airplane, and even the five-speed, multi-level adjustable lawn mower.

The Rifle 

Colt-Double-rifle-560x134

it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that the firearm really came into its own to become the epitome of cutting edge technology for its era. First was the advent of rifling. Then it was the invention of the cartridge, which did away with powder and flints and made it possible to increase the rate of fire exponentially; and finally it was the advent of breech loading, which made it possible to load a rifle or cannon from the back rather than from the front.

Ironclad Ships

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Along with steam and breech-loading guns came the biggest revolution in shipping in thousands of years: the replacement of sail and wooden ships with great behemoths belching smoke and wrought in riveted iron. Its impact on warfare was even more immense, with Trafalgar-like battles between scores of ships of the line spewing cannon balls at each other from a few hundred feet apart being replaced by metal monsters hurtling shaped charges at each other from miles away.

Electricity / Light bulb 

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The advent of electricity in the waning years of the nineteenth century had an enormous impact on society, for it not only reduced the fire danger by replacing gas-fed street lamps with non flammable electric light bulbs, but paved the way for everything from the television and the radio to the refrigerator and the curling iron.

Photography

19th-century-photograph

Up to the 1840s, one could pay a portrait artist handsomely to make themselves appear less ugly and more heroic than they were in real life; until the introduction of photography. Suddenly people could be photographed as they really appeared: dour, unsmiling, grainy, and not at all happy to find themselves stuck living in the nineteenth century.

The Cotton Gin

Lummus-Cotton-Gin-357x400

With his cotton-picking machine capable of producing twenty bails of cotton for every one produced by slave labor, he made slavery economically unfeasible as well. Of course, in demonstrating to southern plantation owners they no longer needed slaves to harvest their crop, he also hastened the advent of the Civil War, but then no important advance in the human condition is ever without its price.

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