section will give you information of famous inventors, their inventions,
and links to other sites where you could go for extra information pertaining
to the topic. As you read through the information think about how
the different inventions would effect you character profile. Keep
these thoughts in mind while reading: The differences in your work before
and after the invention. Do you think the inventions REALLY benefited
the American way of life? Why or why not? Which invention was
the most beneficial to them? Do some of these inventions effect us
today? The underlined inventors are links to websites which will
give you a more indepth look at that person and their invention.
On the Farm:
American farmers were using the same techniques they had brought over from
England up to the Revolutionary War. They turned soil with wooden
plows and cut grain with a hand sickle.
They used oxen and mules to thresh grain by trampling out the seeds.
In 1797, Charles Newbold invented the cast-iron
plow. At first the settlers were cautious to try the new method.
They believed it "poisoned" the soil, but they soon realized they were
able to get much more work done using the new plow. In 1837, a blacksmith
Deere patented the steel plow.
It worked much better than the cast iron plow because it cut the soil at
an angle rather than up and down and it was much lighter. It could
be drawn by horses which worked a lot faster than oxen. In the 1830s,
McCormick patented a "mowing and reaping"
machine. It enabled farmers to do without large numbers of hired
hands. These last two inventions raised wheat production in the United
States so much that American farmers were soon exporting a surplus to Europe.
special bit for cutting chunks of ice large enough so they could be brought
to the cities. That way city dwellers, as well as farmers, could
enjoy fresh food. Charles
Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber in
1839. It protected boots and shoes from rain, snow, and mud and did
not become sticky or melt in hot weather. In 1846 Elias Howe invented
the sewing machine, but in 1851 Singer improved it by introducing the foot
treadle. The homemaker only had to spend half and hour instead of
4 hours making and mending clothes. Clothing was able to be mass
produced in factories and it cut down 75% of the cost! Ordinary people
could afford store bought clothes. Singer
also came up with two new ideas along with his sewing machine. He
advertised the sewing machines in newspapers and magazines and he also
allowed his customers to pay for it in an installment plan. His business
boomed and his ideas were soon adopted by other industries.
the boom in production people were looking for faster and more direct ways
of shipping their products. Thus came about the steamboats.
In 1804, Oliver
Evan of Philadelphia had designed a high pressure steam engine.
The steamboats were built of wood. They were propelled by either
a stern wheel or side wheels, and were fueled by logs from woodpiles along
the riverbanks. They were also dangerous; fires and boiler explosions
were common. By 1830s, there were some 200 steamboats on the western
rivers. Because of that freight rates and voyage time dropped dramatically.
1840 there were 3,000 miles of railroad track in the United States and
by 1850 there was about 10,000 miles in almost every state east of the
Mississippi. Railroad travel began to replace water travel.
It was more expensive, but freight and people reached their destinations
much quicker. Railroad also established standard time zones in the
area to help the United States become more efficient.
was invented by Samuel F. B.
Morse in 1844. The first test run went from Washington to Baltimore
tapped out in Morse Code. Railroads used the telegraphs regulary
to warn engineers of safety hazards along the track. Industries were
able to communicate coast to coast with purchases and selling their product.
All of these inventions started bringing America closer together.
Divine., Breen., Frederickson.,
Williams. (1994) America, The People and the Dream: Turning Expansion
Inward. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman & Co.
Faragher. (1994) Out
of Many: The Industrial Revolution. Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice Hall
Jordan., (1988) The
Americas: An Era of Reform. Evanston, IL: McDougal, Littell
Websites linked to this
page are listed on the teacher's page.
Picture Citations are
also listed on the teacher's page.