V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > A. Global and Comparative Dimensions > 3. Technological Developments, 1800–1914
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See Science and Technology)
3. Technological Developments, 1800–1914
Major technological innovations originated in Europe and North America. Although industrialization owed much to new inventions, the early stages (to the 1840s) were fueled more by the tinkerings of inventors and craftspeople than by scientists. The late 19th century witnessed the marriage of science and industry that continues to this day. The development of technology, no longer strictly the realm of independent inventors, was guided and financed by companies searching for new products, resulting in the burgeoning chemical and petrochemical industries. At the same time, technology became a part of everyday life, made the world a smaller place, and became a more important force in shaping European and world events.  1
The major achievements in technology included:  2
a. Energy and Power Sources
The galvanic cell, or Voltaic pile, of Alessandro Volta (1745–1827) was the first electric battery (converting chemical energy into electrical energy).  3
Richard Trevithick (1771–1833) built the first high-pressure steam engine, although the American Oliver Evans (1755–1819) had patented one in the United States in 1797. Other advances in steam engine technology included the compound engine (adding a high-pressure cylinder to the original Watt engine) by William McNaught (1813–81) in 1845.  4
First gas lighting of cotton mills. Improvements made in production and distribution of gas as heat source (Bunsen burner, 1855) and for illumination (Welsbach gas mantle, 1885).  5
Benoit Fourneyron (1802–67) developed the water turbine.  6
The first mechanical generation of electricity by Hippolyte Pixii. Major improvements in electric generators followed: the improved armature (1856) designed by Werner von Siemens (1816–92); and the ring armature (1870) of Zénobe T. Gramme (1826–1901), which represented the first practical dynamo.  7
Abraham Gesner (1797–1864) manufactured kerosene.  8
William M. J. Rankine (1820–72) published the first comprehensive manual of the steam engine. The steam engine stimulated theoretical studies in thermodynamics by Clapeyron, Clausius, Joule, Lord Kelvin, and Gibbs.  9
Edwin L. Drake (1819–80) drilled the first oil well in Titusville, Pa., opening up the Pennsylvania oil field and starting the large-scale commercial exploitation of petroleum. First oil pipeline (two-inch diameter, six miles long) constructed 1865 in Pennsylvania.  10
Nicholas August Otto (1832–91) built the first practical gas engine, working upon the so-called Otto cycle, which is now almost universally employed for all internal combustion engines. Otto's work was based upon previous engines of Étienne Lenoir (1822–1900) and Alphonse Beau de Rochas (1815–91). The Otto cycle was employed in the gasoline engine patented (1885) by Gottlieb Daimler (1834–1900).  11
The Pearl Street (New York City) electric generating station, a pioneer central power station designed by Thomas A. Edison (1847–1931), commenced operations a few months after Edison dynamos had been installed at Holborn Viaduct Station in England.  12
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.