Thomas Newcomen invents the first steam engine. It is not very useful yet, but the idea of using steam to make machines go will be important to the Industrial Revolution. 1764
The spinning jenny is invented.
James Hargreaves, a British carpenter and weaver, invents the spinning jenny. The machine spins more than one ball of yarn or thread at a time, making it easier and faster to make cloth. 1769 James Watt improves the steam engine.
James Watt from Scotland designs a more efficient steam engine. One of the most important inventions of the Industrial Revolution, steam engines power the first trains, steamboats, and factories. 1794
Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin.
Eli Whitney creates a machine that makes it much easier to separate cotton seeds from cotton fiber. It greatly reduces the time it takes to clean cotton and helps the southern states make more money from cotton crops. 1844
Samuel Morse invents the telegraph.
Samuel Morse invents the telegraph, which allows messages to be sent quickly over a wire. By 1860, telegraph wires stretch from the east coast of the United States west of the Mississippi River. 1846
Elias Howe invents the sewing machine.
At a time when people had to make their own clothes at home or pay someone else to sew them by hand, Elias Howe invents the sewing machine. Now clothes can be made in large factories. 1853 Elisha Otis invents the elevator safety break.
Elevators were already invented by 1853, but people worried about elevator cars falling. Elisha Otis invents a safety break to prevent them from falling if a cable breaks, making people feel more confident about using elevators in tall buildings. January 1855
The Bessemer Method for processing steel is invented.
Henry Bessemer invents a process for making steel out of iron. Having a way to make steel more quickly and more cheaply helps the production of building and leads to the growth of cities. 1866 Alfred Nobel creates dynamite.
Alfred Nobel invents dynamite, which is a safer way to blast holes in mountains or the ground than simply lighting black powder. Dynamite is important in clearing paths to build things such as roads and railroad tracks. January 1870
Louis Pasteur develops vaccines for diseases.
A chemist named Louis Pasteur believed that germs caused disease. Using this information, he created vaccines that helped prevent many common diseases, which helped people live longer. March 1876 Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
He may not have invented the telephone, but Alexander Graham Bell was the first to get a patent for it. Being able to speak to people over a telephone wire greatly changes the way the world communicates. October 1879
Thomas Edison uses a light bulb to light a lamp.
Not the first man to create a light bulb, Thomas Edison created a light bulb that lasted longer than other designs and showed it off by lighting a lamp. Edison's light bulbs allow people to do many things at night, such as work, that used to only happen during the day. May 1883
The Brooklyn Bridge opens.
After 13 years of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge is finished in New York City. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. December 1903 Orville Wright makes the first powered airplane flight.
Using an engine that they invented, Orville and Wilbur Wright invent the first plane that is not powered by wind. Orville flies the plane for 12 seconds over a beach in North Carolina. October 1908
Henry Ford creates the Model T.
Henry Ford creates a type of car called the Model T. It is much cheaper than other cars because it is made on an assembly line, allowing many more people to buy cars.