American Industrial Revolution Lesson for Kids: Timeline & Facts

Instructor: Ashley Davis

Ashley has taught first, fourth, and fifth grades and holds a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

In this lesson, you will learn about the American Industrial Revolution. You will learn about when it happened, inventions of the time period, and the impact these changes had on people.

Lights Out

Can you imagine a world without electricity, cars, and phones? Probably not! Well, just 200 years ago, that was life. All that changed when the Industrial Revolution began in America. The Industrial Revolution was a time period when new technologies began to make life easier for many.

Samuel Slater, an immigrant from Great Britain, is credited with bringing the Industrial Revolution to America. Slater learned how to run textile mills in Great Britain before moving to America. By 1793, he opened his first mill in Rhode Island. Eventually, he would open a total of 13 factories.

New Technology

Just like we see new technology today, people living in America during the 1800s and early 1900s also saw inventions that would change their lives. From machines to produce goods faster to electricity and transportation changes, those living during the American Industrial Revolution created technology that paved the way for many things we have today. Let's look at a few important inventions of the time and their impact in America.

The Cotton Gin

Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1794. His machine made the process of taking seeds out of cotton faster. This meant that cotton could be turned into cloth and sold more quickly than ever before.

The Clermont

In 1807, Robert Fulton launched the Clermont, a steamboat, on the Hudson River in New York. With his steam engine boat, he was able to transport people and goods along the river at record speeds - about 5 miles per hour!

The Telegraph

In 1835, Samuel Morse proved that signals could be sent through a wire and eventually invented Morse Code, a system of dots and dashes used to send messages. He showed his telegraph to everyone in 1838, but it wasn't until the American government built a telegraph wire from Washington to Baltimore (40 miles) in 1843 that his invention was able to become useful. Eventually, it spread around the world, making quick communication possible between people who were far apart.

Sewing Machine

Elias Howe is given credit for the first sewing machine in 1844. In the early 1850s, Isaac Singer improved the sewing machine, and it changed the way clothes were made in factories and homes. Without them, you'd still be making your clothes by hand!


Alexander Graham Bell discovered that sounds could be transmitted by wire in 1875. Just a year later in 1876, he spoke the first words ever transmitted by telephone: ''Mr. Watson - come here - I want to see you.'' His assistant was on the phone in another room. Can you imagine life without your phone?

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