Princeton Post

March 7, 1851- Dietrich Frayer and Oscar Hockin

Industrial Revolution

Article: The Industrial Revolution was a period of rapid growth of machines for manufacturing and production. The textile industry exploded when the water frame was invented by Richard Arkwright. Originally, textiles were made by hand, but the water frame increased the speed of textile production and lowered the cost of cloth. Water frames use flowing water as its source of power. Merchants have started building large textile mills near rivers and streams. Britain soon had the world’s most productive textile industry because of their additional improvements.

New textile machines allowed Great Britain to produce cloth more quickly and efficiently than other countries. British Parliament make it illegal for skilled mechanics or machine plans to leave the country. Samuel Slater, a British mechanic, moved to the United States after memorizing the designs of textile mills. He shared his secrets with Moses Brown, who confirmed that Slater’s plans worked. Slater formed a partnership with Moses Brown’s son Smith Brown, and his son-in-law William Almy. They opened their first mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Pawtucket Mill was a success, and Slater soon formed his own company in 1798. By the time he died, he owned 13 textile mills.

In the 1790s the U.S. government was worried about a possible war with France, so it wanted more muskets for it’s army. The only problem was that no two parts for a gun were exactly alike, and putting the pieces together took much time and skill. In 1798 inventor Eli Whitney attempted to fix some of these problems. He gave officials a proposal for mass-producing guns for the government using water-powered machines. Whitney came up with the idea of using interchangeable parts. Using interchangeable parts made machines easier to put together and broken parts easier to replace. The federal government gave him money to build his factory, and in 1801 Whitney gave a demonstration in Washington, D.C.

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Factory Work life

The spread of textile mills has affected our worker’s lives. To start out, mill owners started hiring apprentices to help them work, but when that proved unsuccessful, they started to hire entire families to work in his mills. Children and adults worked in mills, and the adults usually earned as much in a day as most children did in a week. Also, some mill owners build housing for their workers.

The Lowell System and the Rhode Island System are very different. The Lowell system was made by Francis Cabot Lowell, and is based on water powered textile mills that employ young, unmarried women from local farms. The system includes a loom that could both spin thread and weave cloth in the same mill. Lowell constructed housing for the women. The residents were given a room and meals along with their job. The women were paid about 2-4 dollars a week, and paid $1.25 for room and board. These wages are much better than most women made. A typical Lowell girl worked at the mill for 4 years. The Rhode Island System was developed by Samuel Slater. His strategy was to hire entire families and to divide factory work into simple tasks. He provided housing and a company store for his workers. Instead of paying the full price for an item at the store, small payments would be made over a period of time, which allowed Slater to reinvest his money in his business.

Low wages and the fear of losing their jobs, skilled workers formed trade unions. Unskilled factory workers also eventually formed trade unions. Sometimes labor unions went on strike. Most early strikes were unsuccessful. Courts and police usually supported companies, not striking union members. Labor reform efforts from Sarah G. Bagley convinced President Martin Van Buren to grant 10-hour workdays to federal employees. Bagley wants this rule to apply to private business employees too.

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The Transportation Revolution brought many new ways of travel and shipping in the America’s. These new ways of travel caused a boom of businesses across the county. Steamboats were the newest way to travel upriver while being able to hold people and many goods. Steamboats were developed in the late 1700’s, they were not used as much until the early 1800’s. Clermont the first full sized commercial steamboat was also the first to travel up the Hudson.

Now came steam powered trains, slow but powerful. Developed in Great Britain in the early 1800’s. They did not become popular until the 1830’s. Peter Cooper built the Tom Thumb and he raced a horse drawn railcar although it lost it was still very popular. Railroad fever was starting to spread. America had now laid 2,800 tracks more than Europe had ever had. By 1860 almost 30,000 tracks had been laid. Trains had now been improved, they now go about 10x faster than wagons. This new speed came with many risks but at a large price. The trains are starting to de-rail off tracks. People took these risks because they tied communities together. This revolution brought so many new changes to America and things that would help in the future. New industries had grown, the lumber industry for making paper. The railroad industry expanded tremendously.

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Advances in Technology

In 1832 Samuel Morse perfected the telegraph; a device that could send messages over wires across great distances. This needed lots of training with electricity and magnetism. The telegraph sends pulses, it sends pulses using the Morse code; different combinations of dots and dashes that represent each letter of the alphabet.

At the start of the new revolution things were almost always water powered. People had now started using steam to power their products. People had also started making businesses closer to cities so shipping and transportation would cost less this means that people were payed less. Workers improved the machines that they were working on. Within a short period of time the growing machine industry was even making customised machines.

During the 1830’s farmers had also been improving their materials and machines. A blacksmith named John Deer had seen a friend with an iron plow. This gave him the idea to use a steel blade which would work much better. In the 1840’s he had now sold 1,000 products.

The sewing machine, invented by Elias Howe. Isaac Singer made improvements to this machine. A ton of other advancements with machines in the 1830’s companies had now start mass production on past machines. Things from the past had cost a lot less. Additional useful items had been created during this period, the safety pin in 1849 and matches in the 1830’s. All of these items helped citizens at their homes. This had started to make the population go up.

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I think that this was one of the greatest revolutions to ever happen because so many of these items and things helped America grow and they are still helping us today even though we have advances in many ways. We have now started using products that run with electric power as opposed to running on steam or gas. We also have phones to communicate with each other. These ideas from the past are helping us so much right now.