The textile industry was among the first to dominate the Industrial Revolution. The energy needed to spin the machines was tapped from flowing streams and rivers in New England. The textile industry in New England grew a lot after Samuel Slater built a mill on the Blackstone River in Rhode Island. In the 1820s Boston investors began to create a textile manufacturing center in Lowell, Massachusetts and “Mill girls” were recruited to operate the machines.
At the start, the mills girls were treated well. They were provided with the opportunity for education, recreation and attended religious services. However, as competition increased, they were subjected to harsher conditions and a drop in their wages. In the 1830s, the mill workers’ attempt to strike failed.
Steam power was critical to the expansion of the factory system and transportation industry. Soon steamboats began to ply America's waterways from the Mississippi eastward.
Charles Goodyear: made rubber more durable and flexible.
John Deere and Cyrus McCormick: invented new farm machinery that helped develop the agricultural industry in the United States in wheat, corn and other staples
Samuel F.B Morse: invented the telegraph which allowed for messages to be sent across the U.S.
Elias Howe & Isaac Singer: developed the sewing machine which revolutionized the clothing and shoe industry. John Fitch & Robert Fulton: developed the steamboat.
Eli Whitney: invented the cotton gin
Canals were built in the early 19th century to connect different water bodies and improve shipping; the most famous of them being the Erie Canal.Railroads had the largest impact on the American economy during the entire 19th century. Grants by the federal and state government of large tracts of land helped finance the building of railroads.
Source: American Economic Growth 1820-1860
Copyright © 2005-16, Henry J. Sage