The Impact of Industrialization on Transportation

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About this sample


Words: 833 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Oct 2, 2020

Words: 833|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Oct 2, 2020

The industrial revolution marked one of the most imperative periods in history. Before the Industrial Revolution, there was a significant interruption in nearly every procedure in the United States, where it often took months to send packages, letters or any sort of information across the country. As a result, the Transportation Revolution dramatically accelerated the development of the 18th century, which remarkably altered largely rural societies into industrialized, urban ones, both in America and Europe. Consequently, goods that were skilfully manoeuvred by hand began to be produced in mass quantities through machines in factories. Nonetheless, the Industrial Revolution began in Britain and spread to the rest of the world by the 1830’s.

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The expansion of the Industrial revolution was influenced by the capability to transport raw materials and finished goods across extensive distances. There were three elements that transformed transportation: Waterways, Roads and Railroads. Prior to these developments, transportation relied on animals and boats, but there were numerous issues concerning the conditions of the roads in the 17th century. The United States tailed its own path to industrialization, stimulated by innovations derived from Britain. As of mid-19th century, industrialization was well-established across western Europe and America’s north-eastern region. By the beginning of the 20th century, the U.S. had become the world’s leading industrial nation.

A symbol of the Industrial Revolution emerged in the early 1700s, when Thomas Newcomen introduced the first modern steam engine. Newcomen’s invention was previously practical to power the machines used to pump water out of mine channels. In the 1760s, Scottish engineer James Watt produced the first efficient steam influenced by Newcomen’s model, adding a water condenser that made it more efficient. Once his discovery was put to consumption, it became a power source for the transportation of goods. Likewise, Robert Fulton made the first steam-powered engine to start up a steamboat, and in 1807 he proved its use by travelling from New York City to Albany via the Hudson River, leading to the introduction of steamboats in the Unites States, permitting the transportation of goods through the Atlantic ocean in the 1800’s. In 1928, John Stephenson created the first effective steam locomotive titled the 'Rocket.' Upon his accomplishment, the railroad boom exploded across Europe and the United States. This was crucial for the United States as it required long distance traveling. By 1840, the United States had around 3,000 miles of railroad tracks.

Before the industrial revolution, citizens were dependent on rivers to transport goods. Boats could easily travel downstream using the current, however, made traveling upstream more difficult. This setback was solved by Robert Fulton’s steam engine, facilitating the upstream travels. Cities were connected through canals which made inland shipping quicker and easier. Throughout this time period, transportation across water was the inexpensive way to move weighty products and canals were enlarged to permit boats to pass. The most significant canal built in the United States was the Erie Canal that linked Lake Erie to the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean. It was finalized in 1825 and developed a foundation of commerce and travel from the western states to New York. This steered to a growth in agriculture and the national markets, also known as the Market Revolution. Steamboats were quickly used as methods of transportation in canals and other waterways, highly promoting trade. As a result, shipping costs greatly decreased, and the industry significantly prolonged.

Beyond all the advances from the Transportation Revolution, the construction of railroads was the most significant. Engineers wanted to be able to create a railroad that could be used to travel long distances. It created an exceptional demand for coal and fuel for the locomotives, and iron to make the tracks. Engineers were needed to build bridges, dig tunnels, and plan routes. Railroads became crucial for commuters in the city and factories greatly benefitted from this as raw material were brought in at reduced prices, and the finished products were shipped daily. In 1830, railroads began to be constructed in the eastern part of the United States and by the 1870s, a person could travel from New York to California within a few days.

Unfortunately, the rapid urbanization brought substantial challenges, as swarming cities suffered from pollution, insufficient sanitation and an absence of clean drinking water. Canals were expensive to dig and useless in the winter as the water froze and Railroads were expensive, lead to accidents and delays, Furthermore, the mechanization of labour became increasingly tiresome as workers were forced to work long hours for miserably low wages.

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Nevertheless, over time, locomotives became more efficient as longer-lasting steel rails replaced those made of iron or wood, and steam was replaced by electricity and diesel. Further railroads were built and nowadays trains can travel wherever tracks could be built, and transportation is not limited to rivers. Up until now, railroad tracks were infrequently used for long distances, canals and rivers were usually used to transport heavy goods, and railroads made goods transportable anywhere for a price that was more affordable.

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The Impact of Industrialization on Transportation. (2020, October 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“The Impact of Industrialization on Transportation.” GradesFixer, 10 Oct. 2020,
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