Pictures From the Industrial Revolution

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1712 - Newcomen Steam Engine and the Industrial Revolution

Thomas Newcomen's engine
Illustration of steam train and smaller images of Rocket steam locomotive and mechanism of Thomas Newcomen's engine. Getty Images

In 1712, Thomas Newcomen and John Calley built their first steam engine on top of a water-filled mine shaft and used it to pump water out of the mine. The Newcomen steam engine was the predecessor to the Watt steam engine and it was one of the most interesting pieces of technology developed during the 1700's. The invention of engines, the first being steam engines, was very important to the industrial revolution.

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1733 - Flying Shuttle, Automation of Textiles and the Industrial Revolution

John Kay, Inventor of the Fly Shuttle A.D. 1753
Manchester City Council/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain Due to Age

In 1733, John Kay invented the flying shuttle, an improvement to looms that enabled weavers to weave faster.

By using a flying shuttle, a single weaver could produce a wide piece of cloth. The original shuttle contained a bobbin on to which the weft (weaving term for the crossways yarn) yarn was wound. It was normally pushed from one side of the warp (weaving term for the the series of yarns that extended lengthways in a loom) to the other side by hand. Before the flying shuttle wide looms needed two or more weavers to throw the shuttle.

The automation of making textiles (fabrics, clothing, etc) marked the beginning of the industrial revolution.

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1764 - Increased Yarn and Thread Production During Industrial Revolution

Engraving of a Spinning Jenny by T.E. Nicholson
Bettmann / Contributor/Getty Images

In 1764, a British carpenter and weaver named James Hargreaves invented an improved spinning jenny, a hand-powered multiple spinning machine that was the first machine to improve upon the spinning wheel by making it possible to spin more than one ball of yarn or thread.{p] Spinner machines like the spinning wheel and the spinning jenny made the threads and yarns used by weavers in their looms. As weaving looms became faster, inventors had to find ways for spinners to keep up.

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1769 - James Watt's Improved Steam Engine Powers the Industrial Revolution

James Watt's double-acting steam engine (1769), wood engraving, published 1882
ZU_09/Getty Images

James Watt was sent a Newcomen steam engine to repair that led him to invented improvements for steam engines.​

Steam engines were now true reciprocating engine and not atmospheric engines. Watt added a crank and flywheel to his engine so that it could provide rotary motion. Watt's steam engine machine was four times more powerful than those engines based on Thomas Newcomen's steam engine design

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1769 - Spinning Frame or Water Frame

Spinning-frame. Designed in 1767 by Richard Arkwright (1732-1792). Colored engraving.
Ipsumpix / Contributor/Getty Images

Richard Arkwright patented the spinning frame or water frame that could produce stronger threads for yarns. The first models were powered by waterwheels so the device came to be first known as the water frame.

It was the first powered, automatic, and continuous textile machine and enabled the move away from small home manufacturing towards factory production of textiles. The water frame was also the first machine that could spin cotton threads.

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1779 - Spinning Mule Increased Variety in Threads and Yarns

Crompton's Mule
Hulton Archive / Stringer/Getty Images

In 1779, Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule that combined the moving carriage of the spinning jenny with the rollers of the water frame.

The spinning mule gave the spinner great control over the weaving process. Spinners could now make many different types of yarn and finer cloth could now be made.

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1785 - Power Loom's Effect on the Women of the Industrial Revolution

Power Loom
Hulton Archive / Stringer/Getty Images

The power loom was a steam-powered, mechanically-operated version of a regular loom. A loom is a device that combined threads to make cloth.

When the power loom became efficient, women replaced most men as weavers in the textile factories. Learn about the mills of Francis Cabot Lowell.

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1830 - Practical Sewing Machines & Ready Made Clothing

a rich and splendid assortment of ready made clothing & furnishing goods
George Blanchard Gentlemen can, at all times, find a rich and splendid assortment of ready made clothing & furnishing goods. LOC

After the sewing machine was invented, the ready-made clothing industry took off. Before sewing machines, nearly all clothing was local and hand-sewn.

The first functional sewing machine was invented by the French tailor, Barthelemy Thimonnier, in 1830.

About 1831, George Opdyke was one of the first American merchants to begin the small-scale manufacture of ready-made clothing. But it was not until after the power-driven sewing machine was invented, that factory production of clothes on a large scale occurred.