Steam Power!

by ayildiri ~ April 23rd, 2010. Filed under: Chapter 18: Industry, Society, and Environment.

In 1760’s James Watts has built the first efficient steam engine. His early machines were used to help pump water out of coal mines. Since coal was one of the major sources of energy in that time, they smelted it with led to improve metallurgy, which resulted in construction of a better steam engine. These steam engines led to newer adaptations of heavy machinery. Water was replaced by coal and steam to drive textile machines. In 1820 the steam powered loom had taken over the British cotton industry. Spinning jennies were working more efficiently. Workers could operate more machines which resulted in larger production.

Now that the steam engine was working effectively, new developments were being invented. George Stephenson invented a locomotive called “the Rocket”. It was said to haul three times it own weight on iron rails at a speed of 30 mph. That year, Manchester and Liverpool were connected by rail. Although it was designed to only carry coal and other heavy goods, it soon became a hit with passengers. It was known as the “iron horse”. Eventually, Britain, France, Belgium and the German states all had a network of railways. Thousands of miles of railroads had been constructed, and France even built systems as a part of their National Economic Development Policy. With demand of coal and steel, new employment opportunities have arisen, and with day excursions and vacation packages developed by the railway system companies, more people had the chance to travel, including the middle class.

Robert Fulton experimented with a steam boat in New York City on the Hudson River. Now, people were introduced to new means of water travel with the steam ship, and crossings were made across the Atlantic Ocean to England. However later, new steam propelled ships had been created which reduced travel across the Atlantic from one month to two weeks! Thousands of people were migrating to America and establishing homes.

This map shows the routes that were used during these times of immigration. Eventually, routes were to countries other than America.

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