The Inventions in the Late 1800s


In the United States, more than 250,000 patents were issued from 1860 to 1900, compared to less than 40,000 patents from the period before 1860. This huge surge of technological inventions, along with several other industrial developments, such as railroad expansions, as well as oil and steel industry innovations, has greatly transformed life in the world.

The Light Bulb and Electric Lighting

  • One of the most prevalent and useful inventions in the late 1800s was the light bulb. Experiments on electric light existed since the early 1800s, however, electric lighting didn't become practical until the late 1880s when Joseph Wilson Swan in England and Thomas Alva Edison in the United States came up with functional light bulbs that could last for days and ultimately up to 1,000 hours. This gas lamp replacement began the revolution of electrical lighting.

The Telephone

  • Another ground-breaking innovation that came about in the late 1800s was the invention of the telephone. Alexander Graham Bell worked for years on the development of an electrical device that would transmit sound and successfully invented the telephone in 1876. He later presented this invention in an international science exhibition. A few years later, thousands of Bell's telephones were in use and a switchboard was implemented to route telephone calls.

The Typewriter

  • In 1868, an invention that would modernize the book publishing industry was introduced by Christopher Latham Sholes in his version of a type-writing machine. His machine called Sholes & Glidden was later transformed into a more efficient model by the Remington manufacturing company in 1878, a model that would remain popular until the 20th century. Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi" is known as the first type-written novel.

Household Appliances

  • Different kinds of household appliances came about in the late 1800s. For pressing clothes and removing wrinkles, Henry W. Seeley devised an electric flat iron in 1882, which would replace gas and charcoal irons. John S. Thurman introduced a vacuum cleaner at the end of 19th century, making cleaning easier. Thurman developed a gasoline-operated model, but electric versions of the vacuum cleaner came out several years later. Dishwashers didn't become popular in homes until the late 20th century; however, the first functional dishwasher was invented in 1889 by a woman named Josephine Garis Cochran.

Food and Apparels

  • Among the inventions of the late 1800s that have remained popular are Coca-Cola and Levi's jeans. Coca-Cola was first introduced by John Pemberton in 1886. As for Levi's, the brand has endured and remains to be one of the best-selling denims since Levi Strauss invented his trademark jeans in 1873.

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