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Industrial Revolution Inventions

Updated on December 29, 2014

Industrial (R)evolution or industrial degradation?

My parents are a typical example of the workers of Industrial Revolution: they have always worked hard without seeing the light of day sometimes. They have lots of health problems in their fifties after decades of hard labor, but life does not pay them back: now some of the positions they used to occupy years ago do not even exist anymore, so in some point they had to look for another job to be able to continue feeding the family. However, they have a piece of land in the country and are still dreaming about living there instead of an industrial city. All these issues brought me to the question: was industrial revolution as beneficial as many critics believe?

A typical factory of the Industrial Revolution period
A typical factory of the Industrial Revolution period | Source

The period from the beginning of the 18th century until the middle 20th century was the most active time span in the history of mankind: a vast number of inventions took place over the years, changing our lives forever. But were they all beneficial to the way we live our lives now? Certainly not. Many discoveries triggered the growth of slavery, increases crime rates in big cities and polluted the planet so fast, that it is now already impossible to estimate the damage done.

Inventions and Influence pt. 1

  • 1712 - Invention of steam engine.
  • 1775 - Steamship invented.
  • 1804 - First steam power locomotive.
  • 1892 - Rudolf Diesel invents the first diesel engine.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, steam engine is "a machine using steam power to perform mechanical work through the agency of heat." (1). This invention triggered the creation of new means of transportation and helped speed up the processes of delivery and production of many goods. However, it required huge amounts of coal or wood to produce steam from boiling water. This, in turn, led to massive destruction of forests.

Diesel engine was a more compact type of engine that used internal combustion (the system of converting gasoline into motion) to move a vehicle. This type of engine is widely used in almost all types of transportation vehicles and machines that work in the fields. Diesel engines, although they are still widely used, pollute the planet's atmosphere with high emissions of CO2.


Inventions and Influence pt. 2

  • 1799 - battery was invented by Alessandro Volta.
  • 1876 - telephone was invented.
  • 1879 - Thomas Edison's light bulb was invented.
  • 1891 - Escalator was invented.
  • 1901 - first radio receiver.
  • 1921 - invention of the first robot.
  • 1942 - the first digital computer invented.

It seems to me sometimes that it is not as difficult to produce electricity as it is to make a steam engine or a gasoline engine work - all you need nowadays is to build a power plant on a flowing river. However, it was not until nineteenth century that we learned to tame the beast and make it serve humanity. Luckily, we learned to produce hydroelectricity soon enough to start replacing fossil fuel powered energy plants. Hydroelectricity is one of the most widely known ways of producing renewable energy nowadays. Stations that currently produce electricity were built in many countries of the world and serve the needs of millions of people worldwide. In addition to water power plants, we are now widely using wind generators to produce electricity from wind.

Hundreds of electronic devices now use electricity to serve our needs. Hopefully, in the nearest future we will be able to fully utilize the power of renewable energy sources to produce safe electricity.

Inventions and Influence pt. 3

  • 1836 - the first revolver invented by Samuel Colt.
  • 1862 – Richard Gatling patented the invention of machine gun.

How useful were these inventions? Was it a breakthrough or a step forward to another war, a world wide war? A question that is difficult to answer now. So many centuries have passed, but the peace on earth is only a dream. I believe that, despite the harm that the Industrial Revolutions caused to the planet Earth, these are the only inventions that should have been banned since the beginning. They have absolutely no use except their main purpose: killing. Hunting is the only area where the devices can be used, but not to the extent of massively destroying other life forms.


Conclusion

Many years have passed since the event that is now called the Industrial Revolution, many things have changed and we are now in the middle of technological revolution. Who knows, maybe it would have been easier for simple people to stay in the countrysides and enjoy the quiet life there by regulating the amount of work they can complete during the day instead of slaving for a big boss. After all, not everybody is capable of changing their lifestyle to fit the needs of the civilization that is developing at fast pace. It would not hurt us to have, for example, clothes and organic food produced solely on private farms to keep the people healthier. Maybe, if supporters of the Industrial Revolution learned to control the changes more wisely, the world would have been different by now, maybe greener than it is.

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