Advancementsin America Between 1840 and 1860

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Between 1840 and 1860, many technological improvements increased industrial productivity. Before this, earlier in the 1800s, there was an industrial revolution where steam-run textile mills were put to use in northern America. The North’s economy, focused around manufacturing and wheat, was recovering from the Panic of 1837. Investors had stopped putting all their money into agriculture and began to invest in factories, railroads, and development of new machines. Industries of America became more productive from the American way of manufacturing, new agricultural developments, and the building of improved railroads.

Americans developed their own, new system of manufacturing that was able to efficiently produce many parts for products. In the early 1800s, Eli Whitney created the origins of this system with his introduction of interchangeable parts. Before, a skilled worker was needed to handcraft individual parts that would only work in a specific product. Whitney used them to make identical muskets with Smith and Wesson. During the industrial revolution, new steam-run factories were built. These factories did not have to be near a water source like older water-run factories and were operable year-round. They kept a constant production of products and their parts. In 1851, The “America System of Manufacturing” was the term the British gave to the manufacturing process used only in America. Factories adopted Whitney’s idea and made products into many interchangeable parts that could be quickly assembled into a final product. This allowed for mass production, the rapid manufacture of a large number of a product. Some products of this system are firearms, clocks, and sewing machines. The American System had many successes. It made getting replacement parts for products possible, people no longer had to pay a skilled worker to hand file a part. It increased the number of new inventions on the market by making it easier to produce products. Also,...
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