V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > A. Global and Comparative Dimensions > 3. Technological Developments, 1800–1914 > c. Machines and Industrial Techniques
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
c. Machines and Industrial Techniques
Eli Whitney (1765–1825) was credited with the introduction of interchangeable parts for manufacturing muskets. The work of Simeon North (1765–1852) on uniform parts was, in fact, more decisive. Although it had European precedents, the system of interchangeable parts became known as “the American system” because it was most fully exploited in the United States and became the foundation of the mass production characteristic of American industry at a later date.  1
Joseph M. Jacquard (1752–1834) invented a loom for figured silk fabrics, later introduced into the making of worsteds. William Horrocks (1776–1849) developed the power loom (1813), improved (1822) by Richard Roberts (1789–1864). Machine combing of wool (1845) and ring spinning frame (1830) developed; the Brussels power loom invented by Erastus B. Bigelow (1814–79) of Massachusetts for the weaving of carpets (1845); and the loom invented by J. H. Northrop of Massachusetts (1892), which was almost completely automatic.  2
Friedrich Koenig's (1774–1833) power-driven press in use, followed by the flatbed press (1811). Other developments leading to mass production of printed matter, especially newspapers, were the rotary press of Robert Hoe (1846) and the web printing press, allowing for printing on a continuous roll (web) of paper by a rotary press, invented (1865) by William A. Bullock. In 1885 the Linotype of Ottmar Mergenthaler (1854–99) replaced Monotype.  3
Charles Babbage (1792–1871) attempted to build calculating machines (following the lead of Thomas de Colmar, who built the first practical calculating machine in 1820); Babbage's machines were never completed, being too advanced for the technology of the time, but his theories formed a basis for later work in this field.  4
Joseph Whitworth (1803–87) developed the standard screw gauge and a machine to measure one-millionth of an inch, for standards. Made possible more precise machine tools for planing, gear cutting, and milling.  5
1837 Ff
Rapid development of armament, keeping pace with improvements in metallurgy, machines, and explosives: Henri J. Paixhans's (1783–1854) shell-gun, adopted by France, 1837; rifled, breech-loading artillery used by Piedmont, 1845; the French '75, the first quick-firing artillery piece, firing both shrapnel and high explosive, 1898; the cast steel breech-loading Prussian artillery manufactured by the Krupps beginning in 1849. Small arms included the Colt revolver (1835), the Dreyse needle-gun (1841), the Minié bullet (1849), the Winchester repeating rifle (1860), the Gatling machine gun (1861), the French chassepot (1866), and the Maxim gun (1884). The self-propelled torpedo was invented by Robert Whitehead (1823–1905) in 1864; smokeless powder appeared in 1884.  6
Steam hammer invented by James Nasmyth (1808–90). Also developments in drog-forging and die stamping at this time.  7
Elias Howe (1819–67) invented the lockstitch sewing machine; in 1851 Isaac M. Singer (1811–75) invented the first practical domestic sewing machine. This became the first major consumer appliance, soon followed by the carpet sweeper of M. R. Bissell (1876), and the vacuum cleaner (I. W. McGaffey, 1869; J. Thurman, 1899).  8
Exploiting the increasing accuracy of machine tools, Samuel Colt (1814–62) and Elisha Root (1808–65) developed a practical system for manufacturing interchangeable parts, especially in connection with Colt's revolver.  9
Development of turret lathe by American machine tool makers. First true universal milling machine designed (1862) by Joseph R. Brown (1810–76). Other machine tool improvements included Mushet's tool steel, increasing the cutting speed (high-speed tool steel, 1898, by Taylor and White), gearbox mechanisms for better control, multiple-spindle lathes (1890), and tungsten carbide tools (1926).  10
First use of electricity to drive machinery, Vienna. Quickly adopted, usually with the motor incorporated into the machine rather than separate.  11
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.