Innovations of the Industrial Revolution

By | December 6, 2018

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The Telegraph

The Industrial Revolution refers to the time period between 1760 and 1840 when Europe shifted from a rural society to one characterized by factories and machines. It began in Great Britain before spreading throughout the continent. During this time, several inventions emerged which changed the way the world operated.

 One of the most successful inventions of the Industrial Revolution completely transformed long-distance communication. Ancient civilizations used smoke signals and drumbeats to send messages. By the early nineteenth century, the best improvement to this method was a system of hilltop stations and telescopes, called a semaphore, which suffered many of the same limitations as smoke signals.

The electric telegraph changed all that. The credit for this one is shared by two groups of inventors. Sir William Cooke and Sir Charles Wheatstone introduced theirs in the 1830s, using magnetic needles and a panel of letters and numbers. Meanwhile, U.S. researchers, Samuel Morse, Leonard Gale, and Alfred Vail were working on their own version, which used a code developed by Morse (Morse code) to transmit messages. Their first successful message was transmitted on May 24, 1844.

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The telegraph would never have been possible if not for two other inventions of the Industrial Revolution. First, was the world’s first electric battery, which was invented in 1800 by Italian physicist, Alessandro Volta. The Volta battery allowed electricity to be stored and used in a controlled environment.

The second invention which made way for the telegraph was the electromagnet. It began with a demonstration by Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted in 1820 which indicated a connection between electricity and magnetism. It was later built upon by Andre-Marie Ampere and Dominique Francois Jean Arago. Their research made it possible for William Sturgeon to create the world’s first electromagnetic. Then in 1832, Joseph Henry improved Sturgeon’s design, creating an electromagnet strong enough to lift 1,630 kilograms.