Lives of Machines & The Industrial Revolution: 6

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Steampunk Machinery and the Industrial Revolution on Granite Bay Graphic DesignLives of Machines and
The Industrial Revolution: Part 6

Milestones & Terminology


Invention of the Elevator Safety Break: Elevators were already invented by 1853, but people worried about elevator cars falling. Elisha Otis invented a safety break to prevent them from falling if a cable breaks, making people feel more confident about using elevators in tall buildings. Older non-proportional electric brake controllers are activated when the driver presses on the car’s brakes, applying braking force over time based on the chosen setting. The drawback of this kind of brake controller is that even though the pressure applied on the tow vehicle’s brake pedal can vary (for instance, compare a gentle brake to an abrupt one), the response of the trailer brakes will be the same, the one configured in its settings. [1]

Where Does the Word “Machine” Come From?

The English word machine comes through Middle French from Latin machina, which in turn derives from the Greek (Doric μαχανά makhana, Ionic μηχανή mekhane ‘contrivance, machine, engine’, a derivation from μῆχος mekhos ‘means, expedient, remedy’ The word mechanical (Greek: μηχανικός) comes from the same Greek roots. A wider meaning of ‘fabric, structure’ is found in classical Latin, but not in Greek usage. This meaning is found in late medieval French, and is adopted from the French into English in the mid-16th century. In the 17th century, the word machine could also mean a scheme or plot, a meaning now expressed by the derived machination. The modern meaning develops out of specialized application of the term to stage engines used in theater and to military siege engines, both in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The OED traces the formal, modern meaning to John Harris’ Lexicon Technicum (1704), which has: Machine, or Engine, in Mechanicks, is whatsoever hath Force sufficient either to raise or stop the Motion of a Body. Simple Machines are commonly reckoned to be Six in Number, viz. the Ballance, Leaver, Pulley, Wheel, Wedge, and Screw. Compound Machines, or Engines, are innumerable. The word engine used as a (near-) synonym both by Harris and in later language derives ultimately (via Old French) from Latin ingenium ‘ingenuity, an invention’. [2]

“As equipment and machines are becoming more and more complex, we are asking workers to keep track of more and more data. We believe AR is the way to help workers keep up with the complexity of manufacturing operations.”

J.P. Provencher


The Industrial Revolution

Industrial Revolution Turn-of-the-Century Factory Production. American Labor Movement.
Industrial Revolution Turn-of-the-Century Factory Production. American Labor Movement.
Industrial Revolution Turn-of-the-Century Factory Production. American Labor Movement.

What Key Innovations Took Place During the Industrial Revolution? The first cotton mill was built after Samuel Slater brought Britain’s manufacturing technology to the United States. The mill was powered by water bringing jobs and commerce to the Northeast. In the following years, many factories and mills were built using the same technologies. In 1869, the first transcontinental railroad was completed and was a major accomplishment for the U.S. since it allowed the transportation of goods, people, and raw materials nationwide. Also, during the American Industrial Revolution, Samuel Morse created the telegraph, which sent electric signals over a wire allowing the nation to communicate. Andrew Carnegie built the first steel mills in the U.S. while Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. [3]

[1] is from one of two sources, either Riyasamdani or Historic UK. [2] is from Wikipedia and [3] is from The Gutenberg Project section on The Industrial Revolution. The period photographs are from a variety of public domain sources. You can use the thumbnail gallery below to navigate through the site.