During the second half of the 19th century, the Chicago area became one of the world’s largest producers of steel, employing tens of thousands of local people, who worked to convert iron ore into steel and melted steel into various products, including train rails. Since then, steel and iron have been ranked major important economic enterprises in the U.S.
The development of the steel industry was associated with a geographical advantage, where mills could acquire raw materials from the expansive iron ore deposits in the Lake Superior region more easily and relatively cheaply. Initially, most of the iron ore used by the American steel industry was obtained from Minnesota and Michigan. The proliferation of the iron and steel industry in the Chicago area meant that companies could enjoy relatively lower costs than competitors located elsewhere. This was particularly made possible by the removal of “Pittsburgh Plus” regulation, which was the U.S. government's pricing system that had protected Pennsylvania mills against competition.
The steel industry led to the emergence of iron foundries that melted pre-processed iron ingots and cast them into products such as stoves and broilers. The most important development, however, was the establishment of the great iron-shaping enterprises in Chicago, which produced rails for railroads. During this period, the first rail-rolling mill was built in Chicago.Learn More
The United States built the Panama Canal to create a relatively short, direct link for commercial and military shipping traffic between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. France attempted to build a canal there in the late 1800s, but gave up the project. The United States completed the construction between 1904 and 1914.Full Answer >
During the Industrial Revolution, labor unions played a critical role in empowering workers. Not only were they effective in helping improve factory conditions and pay rates, they offered workers an important entry point into the political sphere, where they came to embody a powerful constituency with demands and views that required representation. As stated by History-World.org., unions thus helped workers gain “the right to vote and expand their political power.”Full Answer >
Steel was important to the second industrial revolution because it was cheaper and easier to use than other metals, such as iron. The rise of steel was responsible for new innovations in construction and transportation, as well.Full Answer >
A power loom is a mechanical loom that is powered by a drive shaft. Edmund Cartwright designed the power loom in 1784, and the first one was patented and built in 1785.Full Answer >