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New Technology in American History

  • Lighting Rod

    Lighting Rod
    The classic story of Benjamin Franklin finding electricity by traveling outside in a rainstorm is actually true, and he invented the lightning rod after to attract the electri bolts that he witnessed in the storm. This was important because it led to more inventions that harnessed the power of electricity.
  • Spinning Jenny

    Spinning Jenny
    The Spinning Jenny was invented in 1764 by James Hargreaves. This invention allowed for multiple spindles to create cotton threads at once. This was important because it inpired cotton gins and helped the textile mills of early America.
  • Cotton Gin

    Cotton Gin
    Eli Whitney, one of America's greatest inventors revolutionized textiles in 1794 when he invented the cotton gin. This machine seperated the cotton stims and seeds from the actual cotton, making hand seperating unneccessary. This was important because it revolutionized slave labor at the time, shortening the time it took for cotton to be sellable after it was picked. This increased plantation profits greatly.
  • Steamboat

    Robert Fulton created the steamboat in 1807. This was an important invention because it made travel and trade extremely easy, increasing the uoput of the US immensely.
  • Mechanical Reaper

    Mechanical Reaper
    Cyrus McCormick's mechanical reaper was a horsedrawn mechanism that decreased the time it took to cut and harvest grain and other crops. this great invention was so important because it made many cash crops in the south become important in the economy because they could be produced so fast.
  • The Telegraph

    The Telegraph
    Samuel Morse invented the telegraph as a useful means of communicating quickly through wires. These "talking wires" were used as safety devices on railcars. The first news was transmitted through telegraph in 1843 from Baltimore to Washington.
  • The Bessemer Process

    The Bessemer Process
    Henry Bessemer invents a process for producing steel efficiently and cheaply. He utilized a blast of air in a decarbonization process to create the steel from iron. This was an important invention and technological advancement because it helped made stronger rails for railroads, helped build skyscrapers, and contributed to making stronger metal structures and machines.
  • The Typewriter

    The Typewriter
    The first commercially successful typewriter was created by Latham Sholes and Carlos Glidden. Many former machines were produced but this machine helped make writing much more efficient and organized. The patent was sold to Remington and Sons and was commercially produced as the Sholes and Glidden Typewriter.
  • The Air Brake

    The Air Brake
    George Westinghouse invented the air brake in the 1870s. This increased safety and efficiency and was a huge improvement to the rail system. Previously reverse steam engines were used, but as rail cars grew in size and speed they could no longer be stopped at a resonable distance. These brakes used compressed air to squeeze brake shoes against the wheels.
  • Barbed Wire

    Barbed Wire
    Perfected by Joseph F. Gidden in 1874, it solved the problem of building fences on the treeless prairy for farmers. It will later be used as a means of security and many other means of fencing.
  • The Telephone

    The Telephone
    The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell as a means of verbally communicating electronically. He created a nationwide movement with the invention. A giant communication network was created and many were hired as operators and switchboard managers. Boys were orgiginally hired many were surprised by their foul language.
  • The Phonograph (Record Player)

    The Phonograph (Record Player)
    Thomas Edison invented the phongraph a year before the lightbulb and created a new sound revolution. Edison's goal was to capture and replay sounds from the telephone and music. originally crank powered, this machine could succesfully recreate sounds using a rotating cylinder, which eventually turned into the record. This led to a movement of recording and playing music, and the Grammys were named after the phonograph brand "Gramaphone."
  • The Refrigerator Car

    The Refrigerator Car
    Gustavus Swift created the first refrigerated train car after many unsucessful tries. His final and most effective method was a design where the meat was packed tightly against the bottom of a insulated and ventilated car. The ice mixture was held at the top of the car and the cold air flowed naturally downward. this was important because it helped keep meat fresh and allowed for cattle from the long drive to be slaughtered at the station and shipped safely to their destination.
  • The Lightbulb

    The Lightbulb
    Many lightbulbs were created but none were as significant and as effective as Thomas Edison's incandessant lightbulb. He used a combination of a vacuumed glass bulb with an incandescent gas and a carbon filament to create a lightbulb. After trying 6000 times he eventually created a long lasting light. Some of the first lights lasted 13 hours. He eventually merged with a british inventor to create Thorn Lighting Co. This was important because it was a new way to light up streets and homes.
  • The Electric Elevator

    The Electric Elevator
    Although hydrolic elevators were invented in 1852 by Elisha Otis, the electric elevator didn't turn up until 1880 when Werner von Siemens, the founder of the Siemens we know today, created one with the help of Frank Sprague. this was the first design and led to massive movement in the cities in which skyscrapers were built. This invention led to vertical growth.
  • Twine Binder

    Twine Binder
    McCormick's first twine binder was built in 1881--fifty years after his invention of the reaper. Improvements consisted chiefly in the use of better-grade materials to provide lighter draft and greater durability. The twine binder was used to tie the top of a shock of wheat together for easier handling and transport.
  • The Cash Register

    The Cash Register
    This invention helped businesses all across the nation by creating a money storage and counting system. John Ritty and James Ritty coinvented this machine in the 1800s. The first register was entirely mechanical withouth a receipt roll.
  • "Combine" or combined reaper-thresher

    "Combine" or combined reaper-thresher
    The combine was a combined reaper-thresher that was drawn by 20 to 40 horses. Although older versions were around since the 1830's the first practical commercial one was invented in 1885 by Hugh Victor McKay. It allowed for rapid harvesting of many kinds of wheat.
  • The Electric Railway

    The Electric Railway
    Frank J. Sprague created the first electric railway in the US in 1888. Electric trolleys were used on the Richmond Union Passenger Railway. Sprague used a third wheel that conducted electricity into the motor car, powering the train. This was important because it led to a new type of transportation.
  • Basketball

    Invented by James Naismith, designed as an active indoor sport that could be played in the winter months. It spread rapidly and enjoyed enourmous popularity in the next century.
  • Self Operating Machinegun

    Self Operating Machinegun
    Though this gun was created in 1884, it was not commercially successful until 1896. American Hiram Maxim built the first self powered machine gun, as previous versions required hand cranking. This gun was used in a variety of wars including WWI and WWII. This was important because it was a large part of trench warfare, reigning death on advancing troops with rapid fire. Both the US and Russia used this gun effectively.
  • Assembly Line

    Assembly Line
    Used globally around the world, an assembly line is a manufacturing process in which interchangeable parts are added to a product in a sequential manner in order to create a finished product more quickly than with older methods. Primitive assembly line production was used in 1901 by Ransom Eli Olds, an early car-maker. Henry Ford used the first conveyor belt-based assembly-line in his car factory in 1913–1914 in the Highland Park, Michigan plant.
  • Air conditioning

    Air conditioning
    Air conditioning is the cooling and de-humidification of indoor air for thermal comfort. Using a system of coils as a solution to cool and remove moisture from muggy air in a printing plant that was wrinkling magazine pages, Willis Carrier invented and manufactured the world's first mechanical air conditioning unit in 1902.
  • The First Airplane

    The First Airplane
    The fabulously famous American Wright brothers invented the first powered glider named the "Flyer" in 1903. After several tries with manned gliders they created a 700 pound flying machine. This was one of the most important inventions because it allowed for immense strategy on the battlefield. They were first used in WWI and brought a new era of flight to the world.
  • Traffic light

    Traffic light
    In Salt Lake City, Utah, policeman Lester Wire invented the first red-green electric traffic lights.
  • Fighter Planes with Mounted Machineguns

    Fighter Planes with Mounted Machineguns
    During WWI planes were widely used for reconnaissance. In 1914 French pilots put deflector plates on the propeller of the plane, allowing a machinegun to fire from the front. This allowed arial fights to take place. The Dutch engineer Fokker, working for the Germans in WWI, created the Fokker Eindeckers, a superior air weapon used for bombing and dogfights. This was an important invention because it changed the course of warfare and brought about Air Forces on both sides of WWI.
  • The First Operational Landship (Tank)

    The First Operational Landship (Tank)
    After Benjamin Holt invented the Motorized Tractor in 1907, ideas for a working tank began to shape. The base for most of the ideas was the Holt tractor enging and build, with large wheels to traverse rough groud. The large wheels were too flimsy and eventually the British created the first passing tank using the treads that are used currently. The first operational tank was used, with mounted machineguns, in WWI in the battle of Somme. The tank was important because it revolutionized trench war
  • Gas Attacks and Gas Masks

    Gas Attacks and Gas Masks
    Mustard Gas, the most effective gas during WWI was used in 1917 by the Germans. Sufferers from the gas began bleeding from burns and bean to choke as they inhaled the fumes. Chlorine and tear gas was used by both sides from the beginning of the war. Chlorine gas was combated by clothes soaked in bicarbonate from soda held over the mouth and nose. The British created the SBR, Small Box Respirator, to combat the chemicals. This was an important part of battle because it caused huge casualties
  • Aircraft Carriers

    Aircraft Carriers
    Homemade carriers had been previously created in WWI but not to the large scale that they were used in WWII. The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 affected the building of these giant fleet leaders and eventually sparked the building of modern carriers. Though no one can be attributed the building of the first carrier, they were still important in WWII, leading massive air to land and carrier to carrier attacks. 1922 was the year that production became important.
  • Synthetic/Vulcanized Rubber

    Synthetic/Vulcanized Rubber
    In 1943 Charles Goodyear created a type of rubber that helped America during WWII. This synthetic rubber could be created in a factory, a much needed boost to the US supply of much needed rubber during the war. This technological advancement was so important because limited amounts of rubber could have crippled the US war effort as it was needed for war supplies.
  • Atom Bomb

    Atom Bomb
    The Manhattan Project, the building of the first Atomic Bomb started in the late 30s with Albert Einstein's suggestion of chain reactions. The project was led by Dr. Oppenheimer along with physicists from around the world. They succesfully tested their first bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1944. This was important because two atomic bombs were eventually used to end WWII when the US dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945.
  • Jet Fighters/ Air advancements

    Jet Fighters/ Air advancements
    The first jet fighters were used in 1945 by the US. The "Shooting Star" and the "Fireball" were the first operational ones, both of which were formidable foes in the air. Although these advancements came late in the war, they were still affective for years to come. Other than new jets the US Airforce designed better prop planes to combat the Japanese "Zero." The US "Wildcat" fighter and the "Dauntless" bomber were powerfull planes, leading attacks in the pacific during WWII
  • Credit Cards

    Credit Cards
    The Diner's Club introduced the first credit card to the public in 1950. Other companies followed suit and soon after modern day credit cards were common place among rich families. This was important because it started new consumerism in the 1950s with new ways to purchase and a booming economy of materialistic americans.
  • Hydrogen Bomb / Thermonuclear weapons

    Hydrogen Bomb / Thermonuclear weapons
    In 1952 Edwar Teller and most of the original "Manhattan Project" team created a thermonuclear weapon named the H-bomb or Hydrogen bomb. This bomb would eventually become 450 times as powerful as the atomic bombs dropped in WWII. This was important to this time period because it accelerated the arms race between the USSR and the USA and eventually caused the USSR to the most powerful nuclear bomb to date, the Tsar Bomba.
  • "The Pill"

    "The Pill"
    The Pill, an oral contraceptive, was invented in 1954. This came at a time when mothers and women were becoming more independent, calling for birth control and abortion. This was important to American history because it gave women an alternative to abortion and brought birth rates down as women gained more control of their bodies.
  • Car and Home Air conditioners

    Car and Home Air conditioners
    Although air condition had been around since ancient times, electrical air conditioning in homes and cars was not prominent in America until after WWII. The first US car to boast this new invention was the Nash Ambassador. This was important because it was an importan part of the suburb movement as it became prominent in white suburbs.
  • Anhydrous Ammonia / Mechanical Harvester

    Anhydrous Ammonia / Mechanical Harvester
    In 1959 a fertilizer made of anhydrous ammonia was developed, increasing agricultural yields by a huge amount. This fertilizer was developed by many companies at the same time and this type of fertilizer became prominent in the 60s. Also a mechanical harvester that was primarily for tomatoes was created. These inventions were important because production of foood and grain skyrocketed. Using fertilizer eventually led to a movement of environmentalists against its use.
  • The Apollo Spacecraft

    The Apollo Spacecraft
    NASA's Apollo program was started during the Eisenhower administration but the first apollo spacecrafts were created in the Kennedy administration. The Apollo 11 trip landed three astronauts on the moon in 1969. This program was a huge step in the technological world as the US space program then rivaled the Soviet Sputnik program.
  • Agent Orange/ Napalm

    Agent Orange/ Napalm
    Louis Fieser created a combination of a synthetic rubber like material and gasoline to form an incendiary device known as napalm. this device was responsible for many deaths in the Vietnam war as it was nearly impossible to put out and burned for a longer time than other indcendiaries. Agent Orange was a defoliator also used in Vietnam. This eliminated plants by poisoning them. These were important because they led to many cases of birth defects and deaths in Vienam.