The Second Industrial Revolution


Small Scale Manufacturing

1790 - 1840

Most industry in pre-1840 America was small, family-owned, and technologically primitive. Prior to 1840, there were almost no manufacturing enterprises sophisticated enough to require anything more than traditional methods of direct factory management by the owners.

Advances in Textile Industry by Slater

Approx. 1790 - 1799

Practical Demonstration of the Uniformity System by Whitney, North & Lee

Approx. 1800 - 1809

The opening of the anthracite coal fields in Pennsylvania

Approx. 1830 - 1839

The spread of the factory system was limited by the dependence on water power until this opening. From 1840, this blast furnaces began providing an inexpensive supply of pig iron for the first time. The availability of energy and raw material prompted a variety of industries to build large factories.

Survey of Manufacturing in 10 states by Louis McLane

Approx. 1832

Survey found only 36 enterprises with 250 or more workers, of which 31 were textile factories. The majority enterprises had assets of only a few thousand dollars, had fewer than a dozen employees, and relied on water power.

Newly Invented Technologies began production

1840 - 1849

E.g. Sewing machines and reapers

Innovations in Transportation & Communication

Approx. 1850 - 1880

Railroad, steamship, and telegraph

A revolution in Mass Production Technology

1880 - 1890

Breakthroughs in distribution technology led revolution in MPT including the Bonsack machine for cigarettes, the "automatic-line" canning process for foods, practical implementation of the Bessemer steel process and eletrolytic aluminum refining.