Tech Timeline Assignment

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from the LIVING HISTORY series:

Directions: From the Timeline below, fill the dates in the blanks.

1. The invention of photography or the phonograph ______________

2. The invention of the light bulb or the motion picture camera _____________

3. The invention of the telegraph or the power loom _______________

4. The invention of the cotton gin or the steam engine _____________

5. The invention of the telephone or the first motor-driven airplane _____________


1698 The first commercial steam engine is produced.

1733 The flying shuttle for handlooms is invented.

1738 The first spinning machine is patented in England.

1740s The first textile mills were built in England.

1760s The spinning jenny and water frame are invented for spinning


1764 James Watt invents a condenser for a steam engine.

1769 The first steam-powered carriage is invented.

1773 The first cast iron bridge is built in England.

1774 A boring machine is invented for making cylinders for steam


1775 James Watt perfects the steam engine. The outbreak of the

American War for Independence.

1779 The spinning mule is perfected.

1784 The threshing machine is invented.

1785 The first steam engine is used to power a loom.

1787 A steamboat is launched on the Delaware River.

1789 Samuel Slater installs copied spinning machines at his mill in

Rhode Island. George Washington is elected president of the U.S.A.

1793 Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin.

1794 The first telegraph is invented in Paris.

1796 The first vaccination against smallpox, by Edward Jenner in


1801 The first submarine is built by Robert Fulton in America.

1802 John Dalton introduces atomic theory to chemistry.

1811 Luddites (unemployed cottage textile workers in England) riot

against new textile machines.

1814 Francis Lowell opens his modern textile factory in Massachusetts,

using designs for machines copied from British factories.

1819 Electromagnetism is discovered.

1825 The Stockton-to-Darlington passenger railroad line is opened in


1827 The first photographs are produced.

1830 Charles Babbage invents a mechanical computing machine, the

world's first computer. The first American steam train is in operation

in Maryland.

1831 Michael Faraday demonstrates the phenomenon of electromagnetic

induction that is essential in making electric motors.

1833 A telegraph is invented that carries messages nearly two miles.

1835 The first efforts to propel railroad vehicles using electric batteries

is attempted. Great Britain has more than 120,000 power looms in


1837 Samuel Morse demonstrates the electric telegraph.

1839 The first electric clock is designed.

1844 Telegraph messages are sent between Baltimore and

Washington, D.C.

1846 Electric arc lighting is used at the Paris opera.

1859 The first practical battery for storing electricity is used.

1860 The first practical internal combustion engine is used in automobiles.

1865 The completion of the first transatlantic telegraph cable.

1876 Alexander Graham bell patents the telephone.

1877 Thomas Edison invents the photograph.

1879 Thomas Edison perfects the electric light bulb. A company in

San Francisco, California builds the first centralized power plant for

generating electricity.

1882 Thomas Edison designs the first hydroelectric plant in

Appleton, Wisconsin, and builds a steam powered electric generating

plant in New York City.

1888 Nikola Tesla constructs an electric motor (manufactured by

George Westinghouse), George Eastman perfects the "Kodak" box


1893 Henry Ford builds his first automobile.

1895 A camera is developed for motion pictures. Guglielmo Marconi

sends telegraph signals by radio.

1896 A hydroelectric plant opens at Niagara Falls, N.Y.

1900 Over 3600 electric utilities exist in the U.S.

1901 Guglielmo Marconi sends the first transatlantic radio signal.

1903 The Wright brothers fly the first motor-driven airplane.

1914 Henry Ford mass-produces Model T-Ford automobiles on an

assembly line.

1918 Free and compulsory public education exists in every U.S. state.

The following are important words and names

assembly-line - A manufacturing system in which a product

is completed step-by-step by different workers.

Bell, Alexander Graham - The inventor of the telephone.

capital - Money or wealth used in trade, manufacturing,

or business.

capitalism - An economic system in which factories and

utilities are privately owned and operated for a profit.

cottage industry - Home based manufacturing, same as

domestic industries.

cotton gin - A machine that removes seeds from cotton.

Edison, Thomas Alva - American inventor of hundreds

of products including the light bulb and phonograph.

factory - A place where workers use machines to make


Ford, Henry - Founder of the Ford Motor Company, the

man who created an assembly- line of workers to produce

inexpensive cars.

industrial espionage - Industrial spying to obtain secrets

about manufacturing methods.

interchangeable parts - Machine parts that are mass produced

and identical as opposed to being hand-made and

"one of a kind."

internal combustion engine - Engines that consume fuel

that burns and explodes inside the engine to drive a piston.

Automobile engines are internal combustion engines.

loom - A machine for weaving thread into cloth.

Lowell, Francis - Important New England industrialist

and industrial spy.

Luddites - Unemployed cottage textile workers that rioted

against new textile machines in the early part of the

19th century.

mass production - Making products on a large scale usually

by machine.

middle class - The part of a population of people between

the wealthy upper class and poor lower class.

Marconi, Guglielmo - Inventor of the radio.

putting-out system - The manufacturing system whereby

yarn was distributed or "put out" to cottage workers to be

woven into thread.

Slater, Samuel - The man who first brought English spinning

technology to America in 1789.

spinning - The process of twisting fibers into thread or

yarn for weaving.

spinning jenny - A machine for spinning that did the

work of 16 hand operated spinning wheels.

spinning mule - A machine for spinning that did the work

of 3000 hand-operated spinning wheels.

steam engine - An external combustion engine in which

fuel is burned to heat water and convert it into steam. The

steam is used to push a piston.

water frame - A spinning machine of the 1760s.

weaving - The process of turning thread or yarn into cloth

that is done on a loom.

Whitney, Eli - Inventor of the cotton gin.

ANSWERS for the timeline exercise: 

1. photography

2. light bulb

3. power loom

4. steam engine

5. telephone

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