Many different industries flourished in the North before the Civil War. Perhaps the biggest, and most lucrative, was the industry that spawned the Industrial Revolution in the United States--the textile industry. Centered in the Northeast, it employed thousands of people, including women and many immigrants. Other industries prospered, including the railroad industry, which was perhaps the fastest-growing in the Union. The railroads in turn created demand for steel, iron, and coal, each of which were also important to the Northern economy, and even petroleum, which was first desirable as a lubricant for machine parts and for heating and light. While far more Northerners remained engaged in agriculture than any other economic pursuit, the North's industrial base gave it a distinct advantage over the South, whose economy revolved around cash crop agriculture. The production of war material, in addition to the transportation advantages provided by the railroads, were important factors contributing to the North's eventual victory. The more industrialized North also featured a much larger population, supplying the army with manpower, and its farms, geared more toward the production of foodstuffs than staple crops for export, helped keep Northern armies well-fed.