Untitled timeline

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Lightning Rod

1752

Benjamin Franklin's electricity experiments lead him to a valuable application -- the lightning rod, which when placed at the apex of a barn, church steeple, or other structure, conducts lightning bolts harmlessly into the ground.

Cotton Gin

1794

Eli Whitney patents his machine to comb and deseed bolls of cotton. His invention makes possible a revolution in the cotton industry and the rise of "King Cotton" as the main cash crop in the South

Interchangeable Parts

1797

Eli Whitney contracts to manufacture 10,000 muskets for the U.S. Army. At the time, an entire musket would be made by a single person, without standardized measurements. Whitney divided the labor into several discrete steps and standardized parts to make them interchangeable.

Steamboat

1807

Robert Fulton opens American rivers to two-way travel. His steamboat the "Clermont" travels 150 miles upstream between New York and Albany at an average speed of 5 mph.

Plough

1814

John Jethro Woods of Poplar Ridge, New York, creates a plough with a replaceable cast-iron tip, making farming in America easier.

Erie Canal

1817

Engineers propose a plan to supplement natural water systems by digging a 363 mile canal to connect the Hudson River with Lake Erie.

Sewing Machine

1833

Walter Hunt invents the first lock-stitch sewing machine