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Industrial Revolution Timeline

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Industrial Revolution Inventions


Industrial revolution timeline...notes and annotations

1780- 1850: expansion of industrial activity in Europe and especially the UK. A real "revolution" in the way people worked and lived.

  • technical innovations
  • capital accumulation and investments; banks, finance
  • Entrepreneurs and Middle Class
  • Cities
  • Agricultural and demographic revolutions.

1850 - 1870: World economy booming.5 fold increase of goods.

1873 - 1895: Great Depression, fall of prices, unemployment. Immigration waves to the USA and Latin America from Europe. (Start: 1873 Cooke Bank goes bankrupt)


Machines are invented.

Factory vs. Craftsmanship

borsig factoryThe "factory" appears in the landscape. (German print, 1855)


iron refinery studyAdolf Friedrich Erdmann, iron refinery study, drawing, 1872

Textile industry at the heart of the industrial revolution

Labourers and Division of Labour

Growing City Population. Slums.



Scientists and Inventors




Industrial Revolution Timeline and Beyond

1654 Otto von Guericke experiments with atmospheric pressure machine.
1690 Denis Papin develops primitive steam device.
1694 Bank of England is created.
1698 Thomas Savery invents the ‘‘Miner’s Friend.’’
1700 European population reaches 120 million.
1709 Abraham Darby introduces process of coke blasting iron.
1712 Thomas Newcomen invents the atmospheric engine to pump water from mines.
1727–1845 Major era of Enclosure Movement—4,000 Parliamentary Enclosure Acts.
1731 Jethro Tull publishes Horse Holding Husbandry.
1733 John Kay invents the ‘‘flying shuttle’’ to increase output of woolen cloth.
1750 European population reaches 140 million.
1752 Benjamin Franklin plays an important role in laying the foundations of researches on elecricity by conducting electricity experiments.
1761 Bridgewater Canal inaugurated.
1769 James Watt patents steam engine.
1764 James Hargreaves invents the ‘‘spinning jenny.’
1776 An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
by Scottish economist Adam Smith is published
1779 Richard Arkwright develops the water frame to increase the number of spindles.
1776 Adam Smith publishes The Wealth of Nations.
July 4, 1776 The USA are officially born.
1775–1783 American Revolution.
1779 David Bushnell’s ‘‘Turtle’’—first prototype submarine.
1779 Samuel Crompton invents spinning ‘‘mule’’ to work numerous spindles at once.
1781 Scottish engineer James Watt invents a rotary device for his steam engine.
1784 Henry Cort patents his ‘‘puddling’’ process to convert pig iron to wrought iron.
1784 Arthur Young publishes first of his forty-five-volume Annals of Agriculture.
1787 Edmund Cartwright invents his wool-combing machine and early power loom.
1787 John Fitch demonstrates steam-powered paddle boat for the Constitutional Convention.
1789 The French Revolution begins.
1790 Samuel Slater operates mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island using reproductions of Richard Arkwright’s machinery.
1790 First U.S. patent is issued to William Pollard—rove and spinning cotton machine.
1790 European population reaches 190 million.
1791 Alexander Hamilton presents Report on the Subject of Manufactures to Congress.
1794 Eli Whitney patents cotton gin to separate seed from the fiber.
1794 First important U.S. turnpike opens: Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1798 Thomas Malthus publishes Essay on the Principle of Population.
June 14, 1798 Eli Whitney signs a contract with the U.S. government to produce 10,000 muskets in 28 months.
1800 U.S. population reaches 5 million.
1800 Eli Whitney demonstrates interchangeable parts for Thomas Jefferson.
1801 Joseph M. Jacquard develops the silk loom.
1802 Richard Trevithick develops high pressure steam engine for transportation.
1806 Benjamin Thompson invents the coffee pot.
1807 Robert Fulton’s Clermont steamboat travels New York to Albany at 5 mph. Two years later he obtains a patent from the U.S. government for his steamship.
1809 First woman issued a U.S. patent: Mary Kres for straw weaving silk device.
1811 Luddite movement in Great Britain.
1811–1839 Construction of Cumberland or National Road in the United States.
1812–1814 War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States.
1814 George Stephenson develops the first steam-powered locomotive.
1815 NapoleonicWars end with defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.
1817–1825 Erie Canal constructed.
1819 Peterloo Massacre when the army attacked rioting people demanding more rights in Manchester, UK.
1819–1836 Thomas Telford supervises construction of the London–
Holyhead Road.
1820 London is already over 1 million inhabitants.
1824 British industrialist Robert Owen purchases the town of New Harmony, Indiana, and attempts to implement his cooperative business ideas in an entire community.
September 27,1825 The Stockton–Darlington Railway opens with Stephenson steam locomotive. along a 20-mile rail in England,the first time a steam locomotive hauls cars on a public railway.
1826 Lowell, Massachusetts is founded, and six textile mills are
1826 First Known Photograph (Heliograph) by Joseph Nicephore Niepce (a frustrated draughtsman)
1830 The first locomotive in America (Tom Thumb) is in service
in Baltimore, Maryland.
1831 Severe cholera outbreak in Great Britain’s urban areas.
1832 The Great Reform Bill revises Parliamentary representation.
1833 The Factory Act places limitations on child labor in Great Britain (Children could not work more than..s12 hours per day!).
1834 Cyrus McCormick obtains patent for his mechanical reaper.
1834 British Parliament passes the Poor Law.
1834 Zollverein or German Customs Union established.
1835 Railroad mania begins in Great Britain.
1836–1841 Isambard Kingdom Brunel oversees construction of the
GreatWestern Railway, connecting London and Bristol.
1837 First daguerreotype
1838 People’s Charter drafted.
1839 Charles Goodyear patents vulcanization of rubber.
1840 Photography to the "masses" thanks to the calotype developed by William Fox Talbot
1840 U.S. railroad mileage equals canal mileage.
1841 First edition of Punch Magazine published.
1841 Queen Victoria takes her first ride on a railroad.
1842 Sir Edwin Chadwick publishes The Sanitary Conditions of
the Labouring Population.
May 1,1844 Samuel Morse demonstrates telegraph by sending the first telegraph message from city to city, from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland. Five years later he is granted a U.S. patent for the telegraph.—Telegraphy also developed independently by Wheatstone and Cook.
1844 Friedrich Engels publishes The Conditions of the Working Class in England.
1844–1845 U.S. railroad mania begins (5,000 miles of track laid); Irish potato famine.
1846 Elias Howe invents the sewing machine.
1846 The Corn Laws are repealed.
1846 George H. Corliss perfects four-valve steam engine (later
displayed at the U.S. Centennial Exposition in
1847 The Ten Hours Act passes (maximum of an average 10 hours work per day; basically Saturday afternoon is off) .
1847 First use of chloroform as an anesthetic in Great Britain.
1848 Karl Marx publishes The Communist Manifesto.
1848 Revolutions occur across Europe.
1848 Parliament passes the Public Health Act.
1849 Samuel Colt and Elisha Root collaborate to manufacture interchangeable parts.
1845 The rotating press is invented, which revolutionizes the print and
newspaper industries.
1850 European population reaches 270 million.
1851 The Great Exhibition (Crystal Palace) attracts 6 million visitors to London.
1851 Major census in Great Britain.
1851 Manchester, cotton textile capital of Great Britain, reaches population of 300,000. It was about 5000 people at the beginning of 1700 and 85,000 people in 1800.
1851 Isaac Singer develops first consumer sewing machine.
1853–1856 CrimeanWar.
1853 Commodore Matthew Perry (United States) enters Tokyo
harbor and contacts with Japan.
1854 John Snow tracks the origins of a cholera epidemic in London to a water pump on broad street. Epidemiology has begun.
1856 Henry Bessemer develops process to convert pig iron into steel, the "Bessemer process", in which steel could be made in more quantities for less money.
1859 Charles Darwin publishes "On the Origin of Species"
1860 U.S. population reaches 31 million.
1861–1865 U.S. CivilWar.
1864 Karl Marx organizes the International Workingmen’s Association, also referred to as the First International.
1865 American businessman John D. Rockefeller purchases his first oil refinery.
1866 CyrusW. Field lays the first transatlantic telegraph cable.
1858 The ‘‘Great Stink’’ in London.
1862 Victor Hugo publishes "The Miserables"
1867 Reform Bill extends suffrage in Great Britain.
1867 Alfred Nobel discovers dynamite, thus opening the path to railway tunnels and other large engineering works.
1868 Meiji Restoration in Japan.
1869 Suez Canal
1869 First Transcontinental Railroad completed in the United States.
1869 American financier Jay Gould begins his complex scheme of buying gold to lower the price of wheat that would be shipped on the railroads he owned.
1869 American inventor George Westinghouse takes a patent out on his invention of air brakes and forms Westinghouse Air Brake Company.
May 10, 1869 A golden spike is driven into the railroad tracks at Promontory, Utah, completing the first rail line to cross the United States.
1870 John D. Rockefeller and associates organize Standard Oil Company.
1873 With three partners, Canadian-American financier James J. Hill purchases the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad.
1873 worldwide Recession starts and last for about 20 years causing the depreciation of many agricultural goods and forcing masses to migrate (to the USA, Argentina; to France from Switzerland etc...)
1876 First gasoline engine patent issued to August Otto.
1876 U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone.
1877 Charles Gros and Thomas Edison invent in parallel the phonograph.
1879 Thomas Edison invents incandescent light bulb.
1880–1914 Twenty million immigrants enter the United States.
1881 Jay Gould buys Western Union to enhance his control of communication along railroad lines.
1881 British-American labor leader Samuel Gompers helps establish the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada.
1881 St. Gotthard Rail tunnel across the Alps is inaugurated.
1881 Pablo Picasso is born
1882 Thomas Edison constructs station to generate electricityin New York City.
1883 Karl Benz develops first gas powered ‘‘automobile.’’
1884 Last of 19th century reform bills gives suffrage to almost all males in Great Britain.
1884 Arnold Toynbee lectures on the Industrial Revolution.
1884 Construction begins on first U.S. skyscraper in Chicago.
1886 Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler separately develop internal combustion engines.
1886 Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago in support of striking workers.
1888 Inauguration of the Pasteur Institute, one of the fi rst biomedical research centers.
1889 John D. Rockefeller contributes $600,000 toward the founding of the University of Chicago, a project of the American Baptist Education Society.
1889 Eiffel Tower opens in Paris.
1890 Irish-American labor leader Mary Harris Jones, better known as Mother Jones, is hired as a paid organizer by the United Mine Workers.
1890 How the Other Half Lives, by Danish-American journalist Jacob Riis, is published.
1892 Rudolf Diesel patents heavy oil engine.
1892 Frank and Charles Duryea patent first gasoline powered engine in the United States.
1892 Homestead Strike of Steel workers at American industrialist Andrew
Carnegie’s Homestead Mill plan in Pennsylvania.
1895 Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers X-rays.
1899 Croatian-American inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla establishes a research laboratory in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to conduct his experiments with
high voltage
1899 The German Bayer Company introduces powdered aspirin.
1900 Value of U.S. manufacturing output reaches double that of agricultural output.
1900 Max Planck establishes quantum theory
1901 Queen Victoria dies.
1901 American financier J. P. Morgan purchases Carnegie Company, Limited, the nation’s leading steel company,for $480 million.
September 14, 1901 Following the death of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt becomes president of the United States.
February 18, 1902 The Theodore Roosevelt administration files a lawsuit against Northern Securities Co., claiming it is in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
April 1903 The United States Supreme Court rules that the Northern Securities Company is an illegal trust (monopoly) and orders the company broken apart
1903 First flight of the Wright brothers in the United States.
1904 The Shame of the Cities, by American journalist Lincoln Steffens, becomes a best-selling book in the United States.About public corruption in many cities in the USA.
1904 Ida Tarbell’s collection of articles on John D. Rockefeller is published as a book entitled The History of the Standard Oil Company.
1905 George Westinghouse converts the New York subway and elevated train systems to electric power.
1905 Einstein writes three fundamental papers.
1905 First ammonia refrigerator is patented by Carl Linde, Germany
1906 American journalist Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle is published.
1908 American engineer and industrialist Henry Ford introduces the Model T.
1906 Bakelite, a synthetic resin, becomes the fi rst plastic material for sale in the United States and soon becomes available in Europe.
1908 Fritz Haber, Germany, synthesizes ammonia, thereby paving the
way for the industrial production of ammonium nitrates and so chemical fertilizers.
1911 Lord Rutherford defines the first representation of the atom.
1912 American financier George Jay Gould, the son of Jay Gould, begins losing ownership control of many of his railroad lines. Seven years later, a court orders
Gould to be removed as the executor and trustee of his father’s estate.
1913 Mother Jones begins to lead strikes against John D. Rockefeller’s coal mines in Colorado.
1915-1918 First World War
1918 The Spanish flu pandemic causes an estimated 25 to 50 million deaths worldwide. Artist Egon Schiele died from it.
1919 A court orders George Jay Gould to be removed as the executor and trustee of his father’s estate.
1919 Henry Ford resigns as president of the Ford Motor Company.
1920 The British Marconi company initiates the first series of radio programs.
1921 The Eiffel tower becomes the central sender of radio programs in France
1928 Alexander Fleming isolates penicillin. Antibiotic will save the life of billions of people.
1929 Regular television broadcast, Germany
1939 - 1945 Second World War
1945 First Atomic Bomb. The nuclear era has started
1946 Streptomycin, discovered two years earlier by Selman Waksman
(1888–1973) as the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis, is
now tested in Great Britain.
1969 Man on the moon
1973 The first oil shock disrupts traffic in Western Europe (Sundays without cars circulating...I remember them well).
1975 Microsoft founded
1976 First Apple Computer
1977 The first microwave oven
1980s - 90s Video games industry booming
1991 Appearance of the World Wide Web
2000 Internet Financial Bubble "explodes"
2005 Skype, allows free voice communication over the Internet.
2008 Worldwide major economic crisis


Related Pages

Industrial Revolution Inventions

Industrial Revoution topics

The second Industrial Revolution




Bibliography and Sources

Industrial Revolution Biographies

Industrial Revolution Reference Library 3 VolSet and Index

The Industrial Revolution (Greenwood Guides to Historic Events 1500-1900)

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention

The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created


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