Second Industrial Revolution: The Technological Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution was another great leap forward in technology and society. New innovations in steel production, petroleum and electricity led to the introduction of public automobiles and airplanes. You wanna know how everything began? Let's see

The Second Industrial Revolution, which began in the middle of 19th century (1850-1970). It was a period of growth for pre-existing industries and expansion of new ones; such as the steel, oil and electricity fields. The development of new technologies led to the introduction of two things that would change the world: public transport and planes.

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The Second Industrial Revolution enabled globalization and created a rough draft of our world today. Interesting, right? Let's take a look at what people invented during this period and how it affected mankind.


During the Second Industrial Revolution, the existing manufacturing and production methods were improve. For instance, steel replaced iron in the building business. It was strong and it was cheap. So, it made possible to build rail lines at competitive cost and spread transportation. Steel also facilitated the construction of ships, skyscrapers and larger bridges.

Steel displaced iron because it was stronger and cheaper - Photo Credit: Amazonaws

Although the Second Industrial Revolution happened just a few years after the first Industrial Revolution, it was as big of a leap forward as its predecessor. If you are reading this now, surely you can't imagine a world without electricity! But at the time of the Second Industrial Revolution, this was the norm.

Thomas Edison and his lightbulb - Phot Credit: Wikipedia


Faraday started playing with the idea of electricity. Then, a few years later, Edison and Swan perfected their design of a lightbulb which was practical for home use.

This, in addition to the appearance of the first efficient commercial electrical generators in the 1870s, made public electricity possible.

Swan took his incandescent lightbulbs to England. The English used Swan's lightbulbs to light Mosley Street in Newcastle upon Tyne. So, this was the first electrical street lighting installation in the world. Then, Swan gifted the Savoy Theatre in London with 1,200 of his lightbulbs. Thus making it the first public building to be lit entirely by electricity.

Mosley Street and the Savoy Theatre set the stage for the first large-scale power station. It was located at the Holborn Viaduct in London. Then followed the power station at Pearl Street in New York. Afterwards, Sebastian de Ferranti thought of "stepping down" high-voltage alternating current. De Ferranti's idea enabled the assembly line and mass production.

However, do you know how was the impact of the electricity en that century? In this video of a brief history: Electricity and its impact in the 1920s, you will see it!. We assure you that you will love it! Enojy


Without certain inventions from the Second Industrial Revolution, some of the ways we communicate today wouldn't be possible. For instance, in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Later on, in 1901, Guglielmo Marconi sent radio waves across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

Graham Bell's Telephone - Photo Credit: Education Scotland

There also were  innovations on paper-making. During this period, Charles Fenerty and Friedrich Gottlob Keller invented the current paper machine. This enabled the introduction of cheaper paper, and hence, wider distribution of books and newspapers. The fountain pain, the mass-produced pencil and the steam-driven rotary printing press also appeared during the Second Industrial Revolution.

Transportation became a whole lot easier! The internal combustion engine, which powers cars today, was invented during the Second Industrial Revolution. This engine used gas an air, which made it impractical for public use. But then liquid fuels, such as gasoline, came along. Ultimately, without this engine, airplanes and cars wouldn't be here today.

Very interesting right? So, you wanna know a little more about the invention of transportation? The youtube channel of "IT'S HISTORY" bring us a wonderful video about the history of the cars that we know you going to love it! Enjoy it


In the period from 1870 to 1890, there was an economy and productivity boom in the industrialized countries. As a consequence, living conditions improved significantly and the prices of goods fell dramatically.

Moreover, crop failures in the fields no longer meant famine and malnutrition as rural areas were connected to large markets through transport infrastructure. There were also fewer people in the fields. With industrialization, the share of the population that engaged in agriculture dropped drastically.

Photo Credit:Gap Year

Public health also improved greatly. This was thanks to the construction of sewage systems in cities. This was accompanied by the passage of laws that regulated filtered water supplies and minimum standards of water quality. These two measures reduced the rates of infections and death from many diseases.

The Second Industrial revolution brought unemployment - Photo Credit: Wikipedia

But not everything was fine and dandy. Electricity brought along mechanization. As we mentioned before, the Second Industrial Revolution was a time of quick and continuous progress. So, ships and other assets became obsolete in a short time span. People lost money and the unemployment rate went through the roof.


The Second Industrial Revolution transformed society in significant ways. Among the social effects that caused this revolution can include:

• Urbanization increased rapidly. The population moved into hastily built housing in cities to be nearer to the factories.

• Families were separate as the place of work shifted from the home to factories.

• Work lost its seasonal quality, as workers were require to follow a routine schedule.

• The pace of work, driven by machines, increase dramatically.

• The overall health of the workforce declined because of the harsh and unhealthy conditions of the factories.

• The availability of work became unpredictable as it rose and fell with the demand for goods.

• Gradually, women who had first been drawn into cities to work in the factories lost their manufacturing jobs as machines decrease the demand for labor. So, cut off from their families, many had no other option than prostitution.

• Artisans and craftsmen lost their livelihoods. So, unable to compete with the lower cost of mass-produced goods.

• The traditional impediment to marriage, which was the need for land, disappeared and people began to marry younger.

• A much greater portion of the population could afford factory-made goods.

• Close working and living conditions produced a sense of class consciousness among the working class.


The industrial revolution was a time of great imagination and progress. The inventions that allowed new products to be manufactured created a demand that caused a vicious cycle that propelled some people to prosperity, while at the same time held people down in poverty. It was almost never the intent of the inventors, scientists, and other brilliant people to cause such a chasm between the working class and the industrial machine, but it was, nonetheless, created.

However, we can not deny that thanks to all of these inventions and new ideas, the second industrial revolution would definitely have to be summed up as a positive, beneficial time for the history. Each new thing led to another and therefore created a new age of discoveries and inventions.

So, now the you know a brief of the history of Second Industrial Revolution... What do you think? And how do you think the world would be today if this revolution had never happened?

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