How did technology aid the Industrial Revolution in the 1800's?

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It is really an understatement to talk about how technology was an “aid” to the Industrial Revolution.  Instead, it is probably more appropriate to say that technology made the Industrial Revolution.  Let us look at how this is so, using the Industrial Revolution of the middle-to-late 1800s in the United States.

In this time period, the Industrial Revolution was driven by the production of steel.  The production of steel was improved greatly by a technological breakthrough known as the Bessemer Process.  This process made steel much more quickly, and therefore more cheaply, than had ever been possible before.  The greater availability of steel, combined with advances in railroad technology, spurred the building of thousands of miles of railroads across the United States.  These railroads helped drive the Industrial Revolution by connecting mines to factories and by connecting factories to markets.  Now, the whole US was one large market, connected by railroad technology and the cheap steel made possible by the Bessemer Process.

In addition, other technologies helped railroads spread, driving the Industrial Revolution still more.  One of these technologies was the telegraph.  This technology made instantaneous long-distance communication possible.  This allowed railroads to coordinate their activities across long distances.  It also allowed businesses to communicate with one another.  Still other technologies, like the electric light, the typewriter, and the telephone helped make it possible for big, industrial firms to come into being. 

All of these technological advances drove the Industrial Revolution, making it appropriate for us to say that the technology actually made the Industrial Revolution, rather than just aiding it.  

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