34 Industrial Revolution inventions that changed the world forever
- Broadly falling between 1750 and 1914, the Industrial Revolution forever changed humanity.
- The period is marked by enormous technological and socioeconomic changes that shaped the modern world.
- But, of all the millions of inventions from the period, which were the most important?
From the spinning jenny to the steam engine, industrial revolution inventions had a profound impact on society and set the stage for many of the technologies we take for granted today.
Here we will explore some of the most significant Industrial Revolution inventions and their lasting impact on the world. From textile production to transportation, these inventions changed how we think about technology and paved the way for the modern era of industry and innovation. Join us as we journey back to discover the technological marvels that changed the world forever.
So, if you are ready to discover the most important industrial revolution inventions that shaped the modern world, read on.
The folllowing are in no particular order.
1. The flying shuttle made weaving much easier
This excellent example of one of the most important industrial revolution inventions was widely used throughout Lancashire after 1760 and was one of the critical developments of the period. It was patented in 1733 by John Kay, and it allowed one weaver to weave fabrics of any width more quickly than two could before.
Before this invention, one weaver was required on each side of a broad-cloth loom. Now, one weaver alone could do the job of two. Several subsequent improvements were made over the years, with an important one in 1747.
The impact of this Industrial Revolution invention was incredibly significant, effectively allowing the production of textiles to increase beyond the capacity of the rest of the industry. It arguably prompted further industrialization throughout the textile and other industries to keep up.
2. The spinning jenny increased wool mills' productivity
The spinning jenny was another example of a fundamental industrial revolution invention. It was developed by James Hargreaves, who patented his idea in 1764.
The spinning jenny was groundbreaking during its time and would help change the textile industry - and the way many people worked - forever. The machine allowed a single operator to spin thread onto eight spindles at once by turning a single wheel. Later improvements increased this to eighty spindles.
This vastly increased mill productivity and, along with the flying shuttle, helped force further industrialization of the textile industry in the United Kingdom.
It allowed for a massive reduction in the work needed to produce a piece of cloth, significantly increased the demand for cotton, wool, and other materials that could be woven into clothing, and lowered the price of cloth. Hargreaves jenny has been credited as the main driver for the development of the modern factory system. By his death in 1778, there were around 20,000 spinning jennys across the UK.
3. The Watt steam engine changed the world
When James Watt created a much more efficient steam engine in 1769, his invention changed transportation forever. His innovation blew the older, less efficient models, like the Newcomen engine, out of the water.
Watts' innovation of adding a separate condenser significantly improved steam engine efficiency, especially latent heat losses. His new engine would be very popular and was installed in mines and factories worldwide.
It was, hands down, one of the greatest inventions of the Industrial Revolution. His version also integrated a crankshaft and gears, and it became the prototype for all modern steam engines. It would eventually lead to incredible improvements worldwide in almost all industries, including the textile and transportation industries.
Steam engines would also lead to the development of locomotives and massive leaps forward in ship propulsion.
4. The cotton gin: the industrial revolution invention that made cotton production boom
Eli Whitney is another name synonymous with the Industrial Revolution. He invented the cotton engine, or 'gin' for short, in 1794.
Before its introduction into the textile industry, cotton seeds needed to be removed from fibers by hand; this process was laborious and time-consuming. This machine vastly improved the profitability of cotton for farmers.
The Cotton Gin enabled many farmers to consider growing cotton as their main crop. This was especially significant for expanding cotton farming and slave plantations in the Americas.
With the seeds and fibers separated more efficiently, it became much cheaper for farmers to grow cotton for goods like linen. They could also simultaneously separate seeds for crop growth or cottonseed oil production.
5. Telegraph communications were a pillar of the Industrial Revolution
The telegraph was another of the greatest inventions of the Industrial Revolution. The first two practical electric telegraphs appeared at almost the same time. In 1837, two British inventors obtained a patent for a telegraph system that employed six wires and actuated five needle pointers attached to five galvanoscopes at the receiver. If currents were sent through the proper wires, the needles could point to specific letters and numbers on their mounting plate.
That same year, American inventor Samuel Morse was granted a patent for the "American Recording Electro-Magnetic Telegraph," which used the now familiar system of dots and dashes.
This technology changed communication forever. It made very rapid communication possible across the country and eventually globally. This enabled people to stay in contact, allowed safer traffic control on railways, and become more aware of broader geopolitical events. In a few years, the electrical telegraph became the de facto means of long-distance communication for businesses and private citizens.
6. Portland cement and the reinvention of concrete was another major milestone
Joseph Aspdin was a bricklayer turned builder who, in 1824, devised and patented a chemical process for making Portland Cement. This industrial revolution invention has been one of the most important for the construction industry.
His process involved sintering a mixture of clay and limestone to around 2,552 degrees Fahrenheit (1,400 degrees Celsius). This was then ground into a fine powder. When mixed with water, the anhydrous calcium silicates in the portland cement react chemically and harden into a solid substance. Portland cement is mixed with sand and gravel to make concrete.
Years later, civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel used Portland Cement to help construct the Thames Tunnel. It was also used on a large scale in constructing the London sewage system and many other construction projects worldwide today.
It was one of the great industrial revolution inventions.
7. John McAdam's roads were a vast improvement
Before the Industrial Revolution, the quality of Britain's roads was less than great. Many British roads were poorly maintained and of poor quality. During the 1700s, turnpike trusts were set up to charge tolls and use the money to improve maintenance and the quality of the country's transport system.
By 1750 almost every main road in England and Wales was the responsibility of a turnpike trust.
John McAdam would eventually develop a new road-building technique to revolutionize road construction forever. His 'macadamized' roads used crushed stone in shallow, convex layers, a binding layer of stone dust, and a cement or bituminous binder. This method greatly simplified the process of road building and soon became standard.
The impact of this industrial revolution invention hardly needs to be labored.
8. The Bessemer process was vital for modern steel
The Bessemer process was the world's first inexpensive process for the mass production of steel from molten pig iron. This would also prove to be one of the greatest inventions of the Industrial Revolution.
It is noted for removing impurities from the iron via oxidation as air is blown through the molten metal. Oxidation also helps raise the temperature of the iron mass to keep it molten for longer. The process is named after inventor Henry Bessemer who patented the technique in 1856.
The ability to mass-produce high-quality steel and iron allowed a literal boom in using them in many other aspects of the revolution. Iron and steel became essential for almost everything from appliances to tools, machines, ships, buildings, and infrastructure.
The modern world would not be the same without this industrial revolution invention.
9. The first modern battery was a game changer
Although there is evidence of early batteries from as far back as the Parthian Empire, around 2,000 years ago, the first true electric battery was invented in 1800. This world-first was the brainchild of one Alessandro Volta with the development of his voltaic pile.
In 1802, William Cruickshank designed the first electric battery capable of being mass-produced.
The first rechargeable battery marketed for commercial use was invented in 1859 by the French physician Gaston Plante. Later advancements would lead to the nickel-cadmium battery being developed in 1898 by Waldemar Jungner.
Volta's initial industrial revolution invention sparked a significant amount of scientific excitement worldwide, leading to the eventual development of the field of electrochemistry.
10. The locomotive ushered in a revolution of its own
The invention of the steam engine would eventually lead to a revolution in transportation around the globe. Locomotives allowed large-scale movement of resources and people rapidly over long distances.
Previously, transportation relied on animal-powered wagons and carts or ships for longer distances.
After the pioneering work of Richard Trevithick in 1804 and of George Stephenson and his "Rocket," railway networks would begin to spring up all over the United Kingdom and eventually the world.
The first public railway opened in 1825 between Stockton and Darlington in England, UK. This would be the first of many railways and locomotives to revolutionize how business and private citizens transported their goods and themselves.
11. The first factory opened by Lombe
John Lombe opened one of, if not the, first documented factory, in Derby around 1721. Lombe's factory used water power to help mass produce silk products.
The factory was built on an island on the River Derwent in the English county of Derby. The idea for the factory came to Lombe after he had toured Italy looking at silk-throwing machines.
On his return to the UK, he employed architect George Sorocold to design and build his new "Factory." Once completed, the mill, at its height, employed around 300 people.
On its completion, it was the first successful silk-throwing mill in England, and it is believed by many to be the first fully mechanized factory in the world. Lombe was granted a 14-year patent for throwing machines, only to die mysteriously in 1722. One rumor attributed his death to the King of Sardinia, who reacted badly to the commercialization of silk production in the UK.
12. The power loom proved to be a huge success
The invention of the power loom effectively increased the output of each worker by a factor of 40. It was one of the most important inventions of the Industrial Revolution.
It was introduced by Edmund Cartwright, who built the very first working machine in 1785. Over the next 60 years or so, the power loom was refined by several people until it was made entirely automated in 1848 by Kenworthy & Bullough.
By 1850, around 260,000 power looms were installed in factories throughout the United Kingdom. Cartwright's power loom was first licensed by Grimshaw of Manchester, who built a small steam-powered weaving factory in 1790. Sadly this soon burnt down. Initially, his looms were not a commercial success as they needed to be stopped to dress the warp.
This was soon addressed over the next few decades as he modified the design into a more reliable automated machine.
13. Arkwright's water frame was an important industrial revolution invention
Richard Arkwright was a barber and wig maker who devised a machine to spin cotton fibers into yarn or thread quickly and easily. In 1760 he and John Kay managed to produce a working machine. This prototype could spin four strands of cotton at the same time.
He would patent his design in 1769. Further refinement of his design would allow the machine to spin hundreds of strands simultaneously.
The spinning machine would go on to be installed in mills around Derbyshire and Lancashire, where they were powered by waterwheels and were called water frames. Arkwright's machines alleviated the need for highly skilled operators, adding significant cost savings to mills that installed them.
14. The spinning mule: the yarn game-changer
The spinning mule combines features of two earlier Industrial Revolution inventions: the spinning jenny and the water frame mentioned above. The spinning mule produced a strong, delicate, soft yarn that could be used in many textiles.
It was, however, best suited for the production of muslins. Samuel Crompton devised the Mule in 1775; he was too poor to patent it and sold it to a Bolton manufacturer. It was soon being produced and adapted by others. The first Mules were hand-operated, but by the 1790s, larger versions were driven by steam engines. These larger machines had as many as 400 spindles.
By 1812, between 4 and 5 million mules were in use, but Crompton received no royalties for the invention. The principles of his design continued to be used until the early 1980s.
15. Henry Cort's puddling process was groundbreaking
In 1784, Henry Cort developed a method of converting pig iron into wrought iron by heating it and frequently stirring it in the presence of oxidizing substances. It was, at the time, the first method that allowed wrought iron to be produced on a large scale.
Cort had saved much capital during his 10-year service in the Royal Navy and with this money had bought an ironworks near Portsmouth in 1775.
By 1783 he obtained a patent for grooved rollers that would allow him to produce iron bars more quickly than the old method of hammering. His puddling process would take the iron industry by storm; British iron production quadrupled over the following 20 years!
Quite the industrial revolution invention.
16. Gas lighting: lighting the streets of the modern world
Commercial gas lighting was first developed and introduced in 1792 by William Murdoch. His first gas lights used coal gas and were installed as the lighting in his house in Redruth, Cornwall.
Over a decade later, German inventor Freidrich Winzer became the first to patent coal gas for lighting in 1804. A thermo-lamp was also developed in 1799 using gas distilled from wood, and David Melville received the first patent in the U.S. for gas lighting in 1810.
After its development, gas lighting became the method of street lighting across the United States and Europe. This would eventually be replaced with low-pressure sodium or high-pressure mercury lighting in the 1930s.
17. The first arc lamp laid the foundations for some modern forms of lighting
Sir Humphrey Davy was able to build the world's first arc lamp in 1807. His device used a battery of 2,000 cells to create a 3 ¹⁵/₁₆-inch (100mm) arc between two charcoal sticks.
As impressive as his initial success was, it was not a practical piece of equipment until the development of electrical generators in the 1870s. Arc lamps are still used in applications like searchlights, large film projectors, and floodlights.
The term is usually limited to lamps with an air gap between consumable carbon electrodes. But fluorescent and other electric discharge lamps generate light from arcs in gas-filled tubes.
Today, some ultraviolet lamps are also based on the same concept.
18. The tin can was a surprising success
The humble tin can was patented by a British merchant Peter Durand in 1810. It would have a beneficial impact on food preservation and transportation up to the present day.
John Hall and Bryan Dorkin opened England's very first commercial canning factory in 1813. In 1846, Henry Evans invented a machine that could manufacture tin cans at a rate of sixty per hour. This was a significant improvement over the previous rate of only six per hour.
The first tin cans had thick walls and needed to be opened with a hammer and chisel. Over time they became thinner, enabling the invention of a dedicated can opener in 1855 in England and 1858 in the United States.
It took the American Civil War to inspire the creation of tin cans that used a key opener, as can still be found on sardine cans.
19. The spectrometer has proved very useful over time
Generally, Sir Isaac Newton is credited with the discovery of spectroscopy. However, the first spectrometer wasn't created until 1802 when William Hyde Wollaston improved Newton's work.
Wollaston's spectrometer included a lens that focused the Sun's spectrum on a screen. He quickly noticed that the spectrum was missing sections of color. In 1815, German glassmaker Joseph von Fraunhofer replaced the prism with a diffraction grating. Fraunhofer's experiments allowed him to quantify the dispersed wavelengths created by his diffraction grating. Today, he is sometimes referred to as the father of spectroscopy.
Fraunhofer also designed several heliometers, one of which was used in 1838 by German astronomer Friedrich Bessel to first measure the distance between a star and Earth. Little did von Fraunhofer know the full impact his invention would have on the scientific world. It is thanks to Fraunhofer that we know what the Sun is made of.
His discoveries earned him an appointment as a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown by King Maximilian I, two years before his death. Like many glassmakers of the time, he died early due to heavy metal poisoning.
20. The camera obscura and the first photograph
Beginning in 1814, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce started a journey of discovery that would eventually lead him to become the first person ever to take a photograph. He would eventually capture an image on a sheet of bitumen-coated pewter using his new-fangled version of a camera obscura, set up in the windows of his home in France.
The entire exposure took around 8 hours to capture the image. Joseph constructed his first camera around 1816, which allowed him to create an image on white paper. But he was unable to fix the image.
He would continue experimenting with cameras and chemical combinations for 10 years.
In 1827 he successfully produced the first long-lasting image using a plate coated with bitumen. This was then washed in a solvent and placed over a box of iodine to produce a plate with light and dark qualities.
21. The first electromagnet findings were another great industrial revolution invention
The electromagnet was the culmination of a series of developments from Hans Christian Oersted, Andre-Marie Ampere, and Dominique Francois Jean Arago, who made critical discoveries on electromagnetism.
One man, William Sturgeon, would take the findings of these great scientists and build on them to create the world's first electromagnet in 1824.
He found that leaving some iron inside a coil of wire would vastly increase the magnetic field created. He also realized that bending the iron into a u-shape allowed the poles to come closer together, thereby concentrating the field lines.
His design was improved upon by Joseph Henry, who built, in 1832, a powerful electromagnet that could lift 1630 kgs.
22. The Mackintosh raincoat was another great industrial revolution invention
Perhaps one of the most valuable personal inventions during the Industrial Revolution was when, in 1823, Charles Mackintosh devised the Mackintosh. Before his invention, clothing was often waterproofed by using a coating of rubber.
But rubber would become sticky and tacky during hot weather and stiff during winter. Mackintosh, a Scottish chemist, successfully cured this problem and patented a new method of using rubber to waterproof clothing.
Initially, he created his new waterproof clothing at his family's textile factory. By 1843, Mackintosh had begun mass production of their clothes and merged with a larger clothing manufacturing company.
His method of waterproofing is known to us today as vulcanization. This process allowed the rubber to maintain its shape and not become sticky during hot weather, like natural rubber. Mackintosh's design also placed the rubber covering inside two pieces of fabric rather than covering one.
23. Modern friction matches are surprisingly old
In 1826, John Walker gave the world the first practical self-striking matches. The first self-striking match was created in 1805 by Jean Chancel in Paris. This crude match was made by coating a wooden stick with potassium chlorate, sulfur, sugar, and rubber and then dipping it into a bottle filled with sulfuric acid. The reaction between the acid and the mixture on the stick would start a fire but also release very nasty fumes into the face of the user.
Early attempts to make a match that produced ignition through friction were made by Francois Derosne in 1816.
These, however, were crude and used the sulfur-tipped match to scrape inside a tube coated with phosphorus. This was both inconvenient and unsafe. Walker was a chemist and druggist from Stockton-on-Tees who developed a keen interest in making fire as efficiently as possible.
When, quite by accident, a prepared match ignited from friction on the hearth, he knew he had found the answer. He immediately started producing wooden splints or sticks of cardboard and coating them with sulfur. He then added a tip with a mixture of a sulfide of antimony, chlorate of potash, and gum. Camphor was added later to mask the smell of the sulfur once ignited.
24. The typewriter also changed the world
It is widely accepted that in 1829, William Austin Burt patented the "first typewriter," which he termed a "Typographer." There were earlier machines similar in purpose, a notable example being Henry Mill's 1714 patent, but it appears to have never been capitalized upon.
The Science Museum in London describes Burt's machine as "the first writing mechanism whose invention was documented." Despite its apparent breaking of new ground, contemporary sources indicated that the machine was slower than handwriting, even when used by Burt.
This was because the typographer needed to use a dial rather than keys to select each character. This lack of efficiency improvement over handwriting ultimately sealed the machine's doom. Neither Burt nor its promoter John D. Sheldon ever found a buyer for the patent.
The modern commercial typewriter would ultimately be invented in 1867 by Christopher Sholes. It began production in 1873. It typed only in capital letters and introduced the QWERTY keyboard.
25. The dynamo/electrical generator was another major milestone of the Industrial Revolution
The dynamo was another great invention of the Industrial Revolution. Michael Faraday discovered the basic principles of electromagnetic generators in the early 1830s.
Faraday noted that the electromotive force is generated when an electrical conductor encircles a varying magnetic flux. This would later become known as Faraday's Law.
Faraday also built the first electromagnetic generator, the Faraday Disk. This was a type of homopolar generator that used a copper disc that rotated between the poles of a horseshoe magnet.
Based on Faraday's principle, the first true dynamo was built in 1832 by Hippolyte Pixii, a French instrument maker. His device used a permanent magnet that was rotated using a crank.
26. Blueprints also came out of the Industrial Revolution
John Herschel, a British scientist and inventor, succeeded in developing the process that was the direct precursor to what we now know as blueprints. Herschel improved photographic processes, particularly in inventing the cyanotype process and variations (such as the chrysotype), the precursors of the modern blueprint process, in around 1839.
This process enabled the production of a photograph on the glass; he also experimented with some color reproduction. It is also believed that he coined the term photography.
It wasn't until 1861 that Alphonse Louis Poitevin, A French Chemist, developed 'true' blueprints. He found that Ferro-gallate in gum is light-sensitive. When exposed to light, it turns into an insoluble permanent blue. He postulated that this coating on paper or other material could copy an image from another translucent document.
Who would have thought this was one of the inventions to come from the Industrial Revolution?
27. The hydrogen fuel cell's potential is yet to be realized
The hydrogen fuel cell was first introduced in 1839 in a letter published in the December edition of The London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science.
The piece was written by a Welsh physicist and barrister, William Grove. In it, he described his development of a crude fuel cell that combined sheet iron, copper, and porcelain plates and a solution of sulfate of copper and dilute acid.
At about the same time, also in the Philosophical Magazine, German physicist Christain Freidrich Schonbein discussed a crude fuel cell that he believed he had invented. His letter described how current was generated using hydrogen and oxygen dissolved in water.
Sketches of Grove's design appeared in the same journal in 1842. Both of the designs used similar materials to today's phosphoric acid fuel cells.
28. Dynamite was another child of the Industrial Revolution
Dynamite is yet another invention that can trace its origins to the Industrial Revolution. The Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel first invented this highly-explosive combination of nitroglycerin, sorbents, and stabilizers.
It was one of the world's first safe, manageable explosives. Nobel was inspired in his work as an engineer and inventor by his father, Immanuel Nobel, an industrialist and graduate of Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology.
Nobel spent many years trying to find a safer way to manufacture and use the highly unstable nitroglycerin. He invented a detonator in 1863, a blasting cap in 1865, and in 1867 he patented which made the use of nitroglycerin much safer and more controllable.
According to one (disputed) story, in 1888 several newspapers published obituaries of Nobel, mistakenly believing him to have died. One of these condemned Nobel for his invention of military explosives. Saddened by this legacy, Nobel decided to found the Nobel Prize.
Today, dynamite is mainly used in mining, quarrying, construction, and demolition activities.
29. The internal combustion engine was also born during the industrial revolution
Yet another invention of the Industrial Revolution is the internal combustion engine (ICE). The technology, like many complex pieces of engineering, is the product of a long line of scientists and engineers over time.
But, they were first commercialized in the 1860s by Étienne Lenoir. It would take the work of Nicolaus Otto, Gottlieb Daimler, and Wilhelm Maybach to produce the first modern ICE in the 1870s - a working, compressed-charge, four-cycle engine.
George Brayton invented the first liquid-fuel internal combustion engine in the early-1870s. Karl Benz would later produce the first motor vehicles powered by ICEs in the 1880s, and Rudolf Diesel would create his revolutionary diesel engine over a decade later.
30. Another invention of the Industrial Revolution is the humble sewing machine
The sewing machine is also an invention of the Industrial Revolution. In 1755 a German-born engineer called Charles Fredrick Wiesenthal developed an early mechanical device for sewing.
It consisted of a double-pointed needle with an eye at the end. In the 1790s, English inventor Thomas Saint developed the world's first practical sewing machine, but failed to market his invention with any success.
The first practical and commercially produced sewing machine was patented in the 1820s by Barthélemy Thimonnier -- a French tailor. This machine could sew straight seams using a chain stitch.
Years later, in 1851, Isaac Merritt Singer produced his first straight-stitch sewing machine, which combined elements of the earlier machines. Singer, the company he later founded, is still widely considered the gold standard in sewing machines today.
31. The incandescent light bulb was also developed during the Industrial Revolution
Yet another invention of the Industrial Revolution that changed the world is the incandescent light bulb. Just like many other inventions on this list, like the internal combustion engine, the light bulb is the end product of a long line of inventors.
One significant development was performed by Sir Humphrey Davy in the early-1800s. He produced the world's first true artificial electric light -- the arc light. Over the next 70 years or so, the technology would be further refined, with another breakthrough being achieved by Warren de la Rue in the 1840s. He could enclose a platinum filament coil inside a vacuum tube.
It worked, but platinum is far from cheap. In the 1850s, Joseph Wilson Swan began experimenting with different filament types to act as a more affordable replacement. He eventually perfected his design in the late-1870s. Around the same time, Thomas Edison also began tinkering with his plan, which would ultimately lead to the founding of the Edison Electric Light Company.
Edison's designs closely resembled Swan's, who took Edison to court over copyright infringement. He won and was made a partner in Edison's new company.
32. The modern assembly line was, funnily enough, also a product of the Industrial Revolution
Yet another world-changing invention of the Industrial Revolution was the modern assembly line. This manufacturing process breaks down the assembly process into sections where the final product is sequentially completed along the line.
This helped considerably speed up the manufacturing process and used fewer workers than previously. Also termed division of labor, some early forms first appeared in China. But it would take the Industrial Revolution for the modern assembly line to take shape. Great strides were made in the early-1800s by Marc Isambard Brunel and at the Bridgewater Foundry.
Interchangeable parts further pushed the process forward in the early 19th century. Steam-powered conveyor belts were also developed in the latter quarter of the 1800s.
But probably the most significant development was the advent of the moving assembly line. Developed for the Ford Model T and beginning operation in 1913 at the Highland Park Ford Plant, it continued to evolve after that. Today, assembly lines, including those using robots, are the core of any factory and are used to assemble everything from automobiles to household consumer goods.
33. The tractor revolutionized farming
Tractors, more correctly termed traction engines, were another important invention of the era.
In 1859, British engineer Thomas Aveling converted a Clayton & Shuttleworth portable engine, which had to be pulled by horses from job to job, into a self-propelled one, creating the first real traction engine in the shape we recognize today.
Although there was a lot of experimenting during the first half of the 1860s, by the end of the decade, the conventional shape of the traction engine had developed and this was altered little over the following sixty years. It was extensively used in agriculture. The early tractors were steam-driven engines for plowing. They were employed in pairs and set on either side of a field to move a plow back and forth between them.
In England, the hard, damp soil made steam tractors for direct plowing (created in Britain by Mann and Garrett) less efficient than a team of horses. In the United States, where soil conditions were more favorable, steam tractors were often utilized. Agricultural steam engines were still used well into the 20th century before dependable internal combustion engines were created.
34. The Davy lamp saved thousands of miners' lives
And finally, while a small invention in the grand scheme of things, the Davy safety lamp deserves a place here due to its life-saving purpose.
Sir Humphry Davy created the Davy lamp in 1815 as a safety lamp for use in explosive environments. It consists of a wick lamp with a mesh screen covering the flame.
It was developed for use in coal mines to lessen the risk of explosions caused by methane and other flammable gases, also known as "firedamp" or "minedamp." The lamp would prove a huge success and be used for many decades before being replaced with more modern electrical lighting.
And that is your lot for today.
The Industrial Revolution was undoubtedly a period of enormous technological advancement and development. It paved the way for many aspects of our modern world and will likely not be matched until significant breakthroughs in our understanding of physics are found.
However, some believe we may be experiencing a new form of industrial revolution right now!