The Industrial Revolution came about because of inventions such as the spinning jenny and the steam engine. In the 1800s, more advances developed at a faster pace. A surge of science and economy produced great social changes.

  • Inventions Make Life Easier:

    In the early 1800s, machines were powered by coal. Later on, gasoline and electricity were developed. Gasoline was made from oil and powered the internal combustion engine. Electricity was generated and the current could be used to power machines.

    • Edison the Inventor
      • Thomas Edison patented more than 1000 inventions such as the light bulb and phonograph. His research started in Menlo Park, New Jersey where he worked with researchers under his employ, such as Lewis H. Latimer, an African-American inventor. The idea of having a “research laboratory” was also one of Edison’s most important inventions.
    • Bell and Marconi Revolutionize Communication
      • Alexander Graham Bell was a teacher of the deaf who also invented the telephone. He displayed this device in 1876 at the Philadelphia Expo
      • Guglielmo Marconi created the first radio in 1895, sending electromagnetic waves wirelessly. These primitive radios soon became standard for ships at sea who could send Morse Code messages.
    • Ford Sparks the Automobile Industry
      • In the 1800s, German inventors used the gasoline engine to power the automobile. This technology grew quickly but remained costly as they were hand made.
      • Henry Ford, an American mechanic made the cars more affordable by using standardized parts. He created automobiles using the assembly line, a line of workers who would each put a piece on the car as the car passed by on the moving belt.
      • These workers could make an entire Model T Ford in 2 hours. This reliable car was introduced in 1908 and sold for 850 dollars. As production costs fell, the price fell. Finally, it was only 300 dollars. Other factories adopted these ideas and by 1916, more than 3.5 million cars traveled on American roads.
    • The Wright Brothers Fly
      • Wilbur and Orville Wright were bike mechanics. In December, 1903, they built a gas powered flying machine at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The longest flight was only 59 seconds long but still kicked off the aircraft industry.
  • New Ideas in Medicine

    While earlier centuries had started to use the scientific method, the most significant insights came later.

    • The Germ Theory of Disease
      • The Germ Theory of Disease postulated that microscopic organisms called bacteria caused fermentation. The French chemist Louis Pasteur learned that heat killed bacteria. He soon developed the pasteurization process which would kill germs in liquids such as milk. Soon, many scientists agreed that bacteria also caused diseases.
      • Joseph Lister, a British surgeon read about Pasteur’s work and thought that the bacteria could explain why so many surgical patients died. In 1865, he ordered that his surgical wards would be kept clean, insisting on wounds being washed in antiseptics. Soon, 85 percent of his patients survived, a 35 percent improvement. Other hospitals also adopted these methods.
      • Public officials also began to understand that cleanliness helped prevent disease. They began to encourge the building of plumbing and other sewer systems. These steps improved public health and medical researchers developed vaccines and cures for deadly diseases. This helped them live longer, better lives.
  • New Ideas in Science

    Darwin’s work was the most controversial. This English naturalist contested the 1800s beliefs that every kind of living organism was made by god at the beginning of the world.

    • Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
      • Darwin challenged the idea of special creation. Based on his research on the HMS Beagle, he developed a theory that al life evolved from earlier live forms from millions of years ago.
      • In 1859, Darwin published his findings in the book, “On the Origin of Species”. Survival of the fittest led to the change of species, causing new species to evolve. This was known as the theory of evolution.
    • Mendel and Genetics
      • Though Darwin thought living things passed on their traits, he did not know why. In the 1950s, an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel discovered there is a pattern to the way traits are inherited. This began the science of genetics.
    • Advances in Chemistry and Physics
      • In 1803, John Dalton, a British chemist, theorized that atoms made up of all matter. Elements are made of one atom, with one specific weight. Compounds contained more than 1 atom.
      • In 1869, Mendeleev created a Periodic Table.
      • Marie and Pierre Curie discovered 2 radioactive elements. These elements were found in pitchblende, which released a powerful energy named radioactivity. The Curies shared the Nobel prize in 1903.
      • Physicists in the 1900s continued the work on the atom. Soon, the British physicist Rutherford said that atoms are made of smaller particles, a nucleus with electrons. Other physicists also began to study the structure of atoms.
  • Social Sciences Explore Behavior
    • The scientific theories also applied to the social sciences. Scholars began to study human society in a scientific way. This led to other social sciences such as archaeology, anthropology, and sociology.
    • Psychology was another important social science. The Russian physiologist Pavlov believed that actions were reactions to experiences and could be changed by training.
    • Another pioneer was Sigmund Freud who theorized that unconscious forces shaped behavior. He created psychoanalysis to deal with psychological conflicts.
    • Freud’s theories were influential. However, his ideas shocked many people as they were frightened by the idea that the mind was beyond conscious control. The theories of Freud and Pavlov changed the ideas of the Enlightenment. These ideas began to shake the ideas that humans could perfect themselves through reason.
  • The Rise of Mass Culture

    In earlier times, the arts were enjoyed by the wealthy as only they had money, time, and education. However, in the 1900s, a larger audience could enjoy mass culture.

    • Changes Produce Mass Culture
      • The rise of mass culture began as a result of the increase in literacy, cheaper publications, and the easy access to recorded media. The working class began to demand some leisure activities such as music performances, movies, and sporting events.
    • Music Halls, Vaudeville, and Movies
      • A popular activity was traveling to the music hall. The music hall would half a dozen acts, featuring singers, dancers, comedians, jugglers, magicians, and acrobats. These musical variety shows were called vaudeville in the US, traveling from town to town, appearing at theaters.
      • During the 1880s, several inventors tried to project moving images. One came from France, another came from Thomas Edison. The earliest motion pictures were black and white and only about 1 minute long.
      • In the 1900s, filmmakers produced feature films. Movies were a big business. By 1910, 5 million Americans attended nearly 10000 theaters each day. The European movie industry also followed this path.
    • Sports Entertain Millions
      • More people became interested in sports. Sports became entertainment as football, baseball, soccer, cricket, and more grew in popularity.
      • As a result, the Olympic Games began in 1896, reviving the ancient Greek tradition of athletic competitions. This first game started in Athens, Greece.