Humanities › History & Culture Notable American Inventors of the Industrial Revolution Share Flipboard Email Print The Most Important Inventions of the Industrial Revolution Introduction The American Industrial Revolution Key Elements of the American Industrial Revolution Top Inventors Transportation The Steam Engine The Railroad The Diesel Engine The Airplane The Automobile Communication The Telegraph The Transatlantic Cable The Phonograph The Telephone Radio Technology Industry The Cotton Gin The Sewing Machine Electric Lights The Electric Motor By Martin Kelly History Expert M.A., History, University of Florida B.A., History, University of Florida Martin Kelly, M.A., is a history teacher and curriculum developer. He is the author of "The Everything American Presidents Book" and "Colonial Life: Government." our editorial process Martin Kelly Updated November 02, 2019 The Industrial Revolution that occurred in the 19th century was of great importance to the economic development of the United States. Industrialization in America involved three important developments. First, transportation was expanded. Second, electricity was effectively harnessed. Third, improvements were made to industrial processes. Many of these improvements were made possible by American inventors. Here is a look at ten of the most significant American inventors during the 19th century. 01 of 11 Thomas Edison Underwood Archives / Getty Images Thomas Edison and his workshop patented 1,093 inventions. Included in this were the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, and the motion picture. He was the most famous inventor of his time and his inventions had a huge impact on America's growth and history. 02 of 11 Samuel F. B. Morse Henry Guttmann / Getty Images Samuel Morse invented the telegraph which greatly increased the ability of information to move from one location to another. Along with the creation of the telegraph, he invented morse code which is still learned and used today. 03 of 11 Alexander Graham Bell Topical Press Agency / Stringer / Getty Images Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876. This invention allowed communication to extend to individuals. Before the telephone, businesses relied on the telegraph for most communications. 04 of 11 Elias Howe/Isaac Singer Bettmann / Getty Images Elias Howe and Isaac Singer both were involved in the invention of the sewing machine. This revolutionized the garment industry and made the Singer corporation one of the first modern industries. 05 of 11 Cyrus McCormick Chicago History Museum / Getty Images Cyrus McCormick invented the mechanical reaper which made the harvesting of grain more efficient and faster. This helped farmers have more time to devote to other chores. 06 of 11 George Eastman Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division George Eastman invented the Kodak camera. This inexpensive box camera allowed individuals to take black and white pictures to preserve their memories and historical events. 07 of 11 Charles Goodyear Hulton Archive / Getty Images Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber. This technique allowed rubber to have many more uses due to its ability to stand up to bad weather. Interestingly, many believe the technique was found by mistake. Rubber became important in industry as it could withstand large amounts of pressure. 08 of 11 Nikola Tesla Buyenlarge / Getty Images Nikola Tesla invented many important items including fluorescent lighting and the alternating current (AC) electrical power system. He also is credited with inventing the radio. The Tesla Coil is used in many items today including the modern radio and television. 09 of 11 George Westinghouse Bettmann / Getty Images George Westinghouse held the patent to many important inventions. Two of his most important inventions were the transformer, which allowed electricity to be sent over long distances, and the air brake. The latter invention allowed conductors to have the ability to stop a train. Prior to the invention, each car had its own brakeman who manually put on the brakes for that car. 10 of 11 Eli Whitney Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin. Bettmann / Getty Images Invented by Eli Whitney in 1794, the cotton gin stabilized the economy of the plantation era Antebellum South and established cotton as what would become one of America’s most profitable and essential crops. In addition, Whitney’s development of the process of mass production using interchangeable parts proved to be one of the most significant developments of the Industrial Revolution. 11 of 11 Robert Fulton Portrait of Robert Fulton (1765-1815) American inventor. Robert Fulton / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain Robert Fulton invented the world’s first commercially successful steamboat—the Clermont—in 1807. Steamboats like Fulton’s enabled the affordable and dependable transportation of raw materials and finished goods, and contributed significantly to America’s westward expansion. Fulton also contributed to the growth of the U.S. Navy into a world military power by inventing the first steam-powered warship. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Kelly, Martin. "Notable American Inventors of the Industrial Revolution." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/top-significant-industrial-revolution-inventors-104725. Kelly, Martin. (2020, August 28). Notable American Inventors of the Industrial Revolution. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-significant-industrial-revolution-inventors-104725 Kelly, Martin. "Notable American Inventors of the Industrial Revolution." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-significant-industrial-revolution-inventors-104725 (accessed July 30, 2021). copy citation Watch Now: What Was the Industrial Revolution?