V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > A. Global and Comparative Dimensions > 3. Technological Developments, 1800–1914 > e. Transportation and Communication
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
e. Transportation and Communication
Richard Trevithick (1771–1833) patented a steam carriage; earlier attempts to use steam power for transport purposes had been made by Nicolas Cugnot in France (1769), William Murdock in England (1785), and Oliver Evans in the United States. In 1804 Trevithick designed and built a locomotive to run on rails.  1
Robert Fulton (1765–1815) sailed the Clermont from New York to Albany. This was by no means the first steamboat: the Marquis Claude de Jouffroy d'Abbans (1751–1832) had built a paddle-wheel steamer in France (1783); John Fitch (1743–98) had launched a steamboat on the Delaware (1787), and James Rumsey (1743–92) one on the Potomac (1787); John Stevens (1749–1838) had designed a successful screw-propeller steamboat (1802). However, Fulton's boat was the first steamboat to represent a commercial success. By 1819 steam augmented sail on the first transatlantic steamship crossing, achieved by the Savannah.  2
George Stephenson (1781–1848) built his first locomotive, and in 1829 his Rocket, designed with the aid of his son Robert (1803–59), won a competition with locomotives of other design and thereby set the pattern for future locomotive developments.  3
Opening of the Stockton-Darlington Railway, the first successful railroad system, using a steam engine built by Stephenson. In 1829 the first railroads were opened in the United States (Pennsylvania) and France (Lyons–St. Étienne), both employing English-built locomotives. The first American locomotive was built (1830) by Peter Cooper (1791–1883).  4
Charles Wheatstone (1802–75) and William F. Cooke (1806–79) patented the telegraph, which was also independently invented by the American Samuel F. B. Morse (1791–1872), whose telegraphic code was universally adopted. By 1866, Cyrus W. Field (1819–92) succeeded in laying a transatlantic cable, after two previous failures and after overcoming tremendous financial and technical difficulties.  5
Louis J. M. Daguerre (1787–1851) evolved the daguerreotype photographic process, based on the work of Joseph Nicéphore Niepce (1765–1833). Although William H. F. Talbot (1800–77) produced paper positives (1841), the first fully practical medium for photography was the wet collodion plate process (1851) of Frederick S. Archer (1813–57).  6
Construction began on the London underground railway system, which was electrified in 1905. Construction began on the Paris métro in 1898, and on the New York City subway in 1900.  7
George M. Pullman (1831–97) built the first sleeping car, specially constructed for that purpose.  8
Ernest Michaux invented the velocipede, the first bicycle to put cranks and pedals directly on the front wheel; the “safety” bicycle with geared chain drive to the rear wheel was introduced in 1885.  9
Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads met to complete the first transcontinental line in America. The Trans-Siberian Railway was begun in 1891.  10
Opening of the Suez Canal, the work of the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805–94).  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.