Join Our Discord

Learn More  👇

caret down
caret up

Join our Discord

1,000s of Fiveable Community students are already finding study help, meeting new friends, and sharing tons of opportunities among other students around the world! Don't miss out!  🎉

group of students
group of students



🚂 Unit 6

  •  ⏱️2 min read

6.5 Technological Innovation

Robby May

robby may

Ashley Rossi

ashley rossi

⏱️ June 1, 2020


New technological innovations, greater access to natural resources, and a rapidly growing labor force led to a boom in manufacturing. Output power and efficiency increased as companies switched their means of manufacturing and production (steam engines, kerosene, and the use of electricity after 1900). 

The United States began tapping into natural resources 🏞️ , mostly iron, coal, and oil, as a means of more efficient production. This created a boom in manufacturing and, down the line, would play a large role in our foreign policy. 


Some inventions transformed communications. The first radical change in the speed of communications was the invention of a workable telegraph by Samuel F.B. Morse, initially demonstrated in 1844. In 1866, Cyrus Field improved the transatlantic cable linking telegraph networks of Europe and the US. By the 1870s, they reached every continent. 

Alexander Graham Bell was a Scot who settled in Boston in 1871. He was interested in problems of the deaf. He experimented with ways to transmit speech electrically. After several years, he had developed electrified metal disks, that converted sound waves to electrical impulses and back again. On March 10, 1876, he transmitted the first sentence over a telephone “Mr. Watson, come here; I want you”


The high speed spindle, automatic looms, and electric sewing machines transformed the clothing industry which for the first time in history turned out ready made clothes for the masses. 

One of the most important innovations of the time was Andrew Carnegie’s use of the Henry Bessemer’s process of steel production. With this process, steel could be produced more efficiently and for much lower prices than ever before. This process, quite literally, led to national growth. It was used to build railroads in the West and cities in the East. 🏗️


Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Thomas Edison’s incandescent lightbulb 💡 was also a major innovation (duh). Although it was initially out of reach for the average American, it was used to light parts of Manhattan and led to one of the greatest conglomerates, General Electric.  

Edison based his system on low-voltage direct current, which could be transmitted only about 2 miles.  George Westinghouse, demonstrated the advantages of high-voltage alternating current for transmission over great distance. In 1886, he formed the Westinghouse Electric Company with the inventor Nikola Tesla. They developed an alternation current motor that could convert electricity into mechanical power. It now freed factories from having to be located near water or coal.

🎥 Watch: APUSH - Period 6 Review

A tent in the woods with a fire

Get your APUSH survival pack!

Download our APUSH survival pack and get access to every resource you need to get a 5.

APUSH study guides

🚀  Thematic Guides

🐎  Unit 4: 1800-1848

🌎  Unit 7: 1890-1945

🥶  Unit 8: 1945-1980

📲  Unit 9: 1980-Present

📋  Short Answer Questions (SAQ)

continue learning

Slide 1 of 16

Join Our Discord


Fiveable Community students are already meeting new friends, starting study groups, and sharing tons of opportunities for other high schoolers. Soon the Fiveable Community will be on a totally new platform where you can share, save, and organize your learning links and lead study groups among other students!🎉

*ap® and advanced placement® are registered trademarks of the college board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

© fiveable 2021 | all rights reserved.

2550 north lake drive
suite 2
milwaukee, wi 53211