New Technologies – Industrialization

Why was the United States destined to become an industrialized nation?

The post civil war era was the beginning of great
changes for America. It was this period that would begin the march
towards the technologically advanced and industrial nation that we
are today. Much of this, in fact, was due to technology developed
during the Civil War and the boom in population caused by soldiers
returning home.


American society was an ideal vehicle for
industrialization. The Puritan ethic and a belief in free enterprise
fostered technological innovation and economic growth, and the
country had enormous natural resources. Labor-saving devices and new
technologies freed workers to enter the factories, which also drew
upon immigrant labor.

Aided by the spread of the transportation network,
the boom period in American industrialization came in the second half
of the 19th century. By the turn of the century the United States had
overtaken Britain in the output of iron and coal and the consumption
of raw cotton. Britain, with its older plants and equipment, faced
increasing economic competition from other countries and lagged
behind, particularly in the newer chemical and electrical industries;
the former was led by Germany and the latter by the United States. In
the 20th century the United States also dominated the new automobile
industry, which Henry Ford (see Ford, family) revolutionized by
introducing a system of coordinated assembly-line operations. Ford’s
success led to the widespread adoption of mass production techniques
in industry.

There were a variety of key industries and
technological innovations that led to the industrial boom.


Railroads began their quest to cross
the continent. In 1850 there were about 9,000 miles of track laid.
Aided by government land
in 1865 there was over 35,000 miles
of track and by 1890 there was over 200,000 miles of track. By the
year 1900 there was a nationwide network of railroads that made
shipping and transportation easier and helped to spur on industrial

New technologies in railroads also helped.
George Westinghouse developed the air braking
and George Pullman developed
sleeping cars.

Building Materials

New factories and office buildings
were growing in size. Newer buildings in cities began to reach
towards the sky and it was obvious that the old brick and wood
buildings could not handle the load. New materiels such as
concrete, steel
and glass were
used to build the new urban centers.

Andrew Carnegie built Carnegie Steel Corporation and then sold it to
J. P. Morgan,
who had made a fortune in banking, who created United States Steel Corporation.

Energy Sources

New energy sources powered the
factories of the industrial age. Oil,
and coal would be the energy sources
of the future.

Thomas Alva Edison
started the nations first electric generating station and developed
many invention including the light bulb and record player to utilize
the new technology. George
developed alternating
current. A current of e;electricity that could travel long distances.
Now wire could be drawn across the whole nation to transport
electricity cheaply and efficiently.

John David Rockefeller organized Standard Oil Company
of Ohio
. Standard Oil became a huge oil
monopoly (also known as trust). Demand for oil skyrocketed after 1901
and Rockefeller became the wealthiest man in the world.


Technologies developed to ease
communications between soldiers during the Civil War became useful to
everyday men and women. Samuel F. B.
developed the first telegraphic sending device and
code called
Morse Code.
Later The Telegraph sent messages across America and the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1876
Alexander Graham Bell invented the Telephone. The Bell Telephone Company was
formed the next year and American Telephone
and Telegraph (AT&T)
was created in

All of these new technologies made
industrialization possible.

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