American Industrial Revolution Inventions: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

Learn about the things Americans invented during the Industrial Revolution, like the telephone and the first movies. You've probably used some of these inventions in your own life.

The Industrial Revolution

Have you ever talked on the phone or seen a movie? Then you've used something that was invented during the Industrial Revolution.

During the Industrial Revolution, people started making things in factories for the first time. It was also a time when a lot of people were inventing things. In the United States, the Industrial Revolution saw a lot of inventions that we still use today. The Industrial Revolution started around 1760, but America got involved a little late. The American Industrial Revolution started around the middle of the 1800s and lasted until around 1900.

American Industrial Revolution Inventions

Talking and Listening

During the Industrial Revolution, American inventors created all kinds of things that let people talk to each other more easily. For example…

The Telegraph

The telegraph was a machine that let people send signals through wires. It was kind of like a telephone, but you couldn't talk through it. You could only send clicks. The inventor of the telegraph, Samuel Morse, also invented a way to translate every letter of the alphabet into clicks. Using his alphabet, which he called Morse code, you could spell out words through the telegraph and send messages. Morse sent the first telegraph message in 1844.

The Telephone

Not long after the telegraph came the telephone. American inventor Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in the 1870s. He was the first person who ever talked on the phone, and the first thing he said was 'Mr. Watson--come here--I want to see you.'

The Phonograph

The phonograph was the first machine for playing music. It's like the great-great-great-great-great grandfather of the iPod. Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. The first thing it played was the nursery rhyme 'Mary Had a Little Lamb.'

Thomas Edison with the phonograph
Thomas Edison

Seeing Each Other

American inventors also came up with new ways for people to see each other.

The Light bulb

There were light bulbs before the Industrial Revolution, but most people didn't use them because they didn't burn for a long time. They only burned for a few hours and then they were done. Imagine changing the light bulb every day! That would be a big pain. But in 1879, Thomas Edison and a group of scientists working with him made the first light bulb that lasted for a long time. That was when people really started using light bulbs.

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