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Technology & Inventors

Did you know?

  • Eli Whitney’s cotton gin was stolen and copied. He never successfully patented the invention.
  • Thomas Edison saved a telegraph operator’s son life. In appreciation of saving his son’s life he taught him telegraphy.
  • The Erie Canal was dug by hand.
  • The discovery of vulcanized rubber was an accident.
  • The McCormick reaper revolutionized farming world wide.
  • When the British burned Washington, one lone man convinced them not to torch the patent office because inventions helped all of mankind.
  • The first railroad cars were horse drawn.
  • Robert Fulton took twenty-years to develop the first steamboat.
  • The first official telegraph message was sent in 1844.

New Technology for the 1800’s
The 1800’s were the beginning of America’s Industrial Revolution. Among the greatest inventions were agricultural in purpose; the cotton gin and the reaper. Both inventions did the work of more than a hundred men. It was the cotton gin that caused the greatest social change. Southern farmers planted more cotton and in turn the farmers increased the demand for more African slaves.

Other great inventions allowed for travel between cities; the steam locomotive and steamboat. Before these great inventions it was dangerous to travel outside of cities for fear of being robbed or murdered! This was the beginning of mass transit.

Bicycles and typewriters were then new and wonderful things; the telephone had just been invented by Bell. Although Edison is credited for lighting America it was Telsa that made it possible with Alternating Current (AC). Edison promoted Direct Current (DC), which could not travel as far as AC current and was far less efficient.