Inventions Essay, Research Paper
There have been many inventions that came about in the Industrial Revolution that have shaped our lives. Some have changed very little and are still used today, while others have been “starting blocks” for many more inventions. With the following inventions I have given a brief summary, history, and how the invention affected industry at the time.
Telephone – The telephone is a “communication instrument designed to transmit speech and other sounds to a distant point by means of electricity and to reproduce them.” This instrument was invented in 1876 by American inventor Alexander Graham Bell. In 1877 he produced the first telephones to transmit and receive the human voice with all its quality.
I do not think that Mr. Bell could have foreseen the impact that his invention has had on the world as we know it. Can you imagine your life without telephones? No? What about fax machines? Still no? What about modems and the Internet? No? Neither can I. His invention alone has had a huge impact on society but so has modems, fax machines, the Internet, data transfers, etc.
Bell imagined great uses for his telephone, like this model from the 1920s, but would he ever have imagined telephone lines being used to transmit video images? Since his death in 1922, the telecommunications industry has undergone an amazing revolution. Today, non-hearing people are able to use a special display telephone to communicate. Fibre optics are improving the quality and speed of data transmission. Actually, your ability to access this information relies upon telecommunications technology. Bell’s “electrical speech machine” paved the way for the Information Superhighway.
At the time the telephone was probably the most important invention to come about. It gave people a means of communication other than second-hand news (newspapers, word of mouth). This enabled people to make important decisions sooner instead of waiting for mail. Telephones could not have come at a better time because the Industrial Revolution was encouraging entrepreneurship and the telephone helped make important business decisions quickly.
The uses for his inventions (and the others) are so numerous that it boggles the mind. In Canada, in 1986, there was a telephone in 99% of people’s homes!
Telegraph – This device or “system of communication employing electrical apparatus to transmit and receive signals in accordance with a code of electrical pulses.” The telegraph was invented in the United States by the American inventor Samuel Morse in 1837 and in Great Britain the same year by the British physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone with help from British engineer Sir William F. Cooke.
The telegraph, like the telephone, improved the means of communication for people. Unfortunately, telegraphy was too expensive for widespread use and too expensive for the common folk. However, several improvements were made:
Duplex telegraphy, where one message can be transmitted simultaneously over a single line in each direction between two stations.
Quadruplex telegraphy, where two messages were transmitted in each direction simultaneously.
Multiplex telegraphy, where the transmission of eight or more messages simultaneously became possible.
But these were too little too late. When these improvements were made the telephone had made its debut. The telegraph was a great invention but the telephone was better and the telegraph was gradually discontinued for commercial use and later replaced.
Diesel Engine – “An internal-combustion engine in which an air-fuel is ignited by heat generated from high compression in the cylinder.” Was invented and named after the German Rudolf Diesel. He patented his design in 1892 and built his first engine in 1893. As luck would have it, the engine blew up in his face but proved that fuel could be ignited pressure.
The diesel engine helped the heavy machinery industry, it enabled workers to carry heavier loads and do harder tasks. It was also a very efficient engine.
X-ray Machine – An x-ray machine is used to make radiographs of the bones and internal organs. X-rays were discovered in 1895 by the German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. Later he designed a “machine” that use these rays efficiently which was a high-voltage, gaseous-discharge tube encased in a black cardboard box.
The x-ray machine was used in medicine to take photographs or “radiographs” of organs and bones and still is with very little change in design. But how it affected industry was important, too. X-rays were used in industry as a research tool and for many testing processes. They were valuable in industry as a means of testing objects like metallic castings without destroying them. X-ray images were also used on photographic plates to reveal the presence of flaws.
Stethoscope – The stethoscope is used to detect and study sounds arising within organs such as the heart, lungs, and stomach. The stethoscope was invented by the French physician Rend Th ophile Hyacinthe La nnec in about 1819. The modern stethoscope was invented by the American physician George Philip Cammann. Since then the design has changed very little.
This invention gave doctors a relief in their jobs. It made easier for them to make a easier diagnosis on their patients and therefore a more accurate diagnosis. This invention also saved lives and putting more people in the workforce.
Radio – “The use of electromagnetic waves in the radio frequency range to transmit and receive electric signals without the use of wires.” Radio waves were pioneered by the German physicist Heinrich Hertz, whose name has been honorably given to the cycle per second (hertz, Hz). But the radio we know today was invented by the Italian electrical engineer and inventor Guglielmo Marconi in 1896.
The radio was another way of communicating and had its advantages over the telephone. The radio could reach further distances, it could be used for broadcasting, and it did not need wires to carry the signal. This enabled businessmen to listen for the stocks and make business decisions around them. Also, broadcasting enabled entrepreneurs to advertise their product or their business. This helped people financially.
Phonograph – A phonograph is “an instrument that uses a vibrating needle to reproduce sound from a groove cut into a disc.” Thomas A. Edison can be credited with this invention when it was patented in 1877. Edison recorded sound on a cylinder, which was then rotated against a needle.
You know, Edison had the right idea when he built his first phonograph, he wanted it to be used as a dictating machine in offices. This would have cut down on a lot of work and time wasted in offices. But, the American inventor Emile Berliner had a better idea; he was going to use it artistically by recording the great singers and music instrumentalists of the time. I guess it gave singers more money and big music companies were formed. In other words, Edison created an industry, the music industry (sort of).
Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopaedia. Funk & Wagnalls, Inc., 1986. Reference material for the young and old.
Webster’s II New Riverside Dictionary, Office Edition. Berkley Books, 1984. Over 55,000 precise definitions including many new words.