“The Civil War,” says one writer, “cut a wide gash through the history

of the country; it dramatized in a stroke the changes that had begun to take place during the preceding 20 or 30 years . . . .” War needs had enor- mously stimulated manufacturing, speeding an economic process based on the exploitation of iron, steam, and electric power, as well as the for- ward march of science and inven- tion . In the years before 1860, 36,000 patents were granted; in the next 30 years, 440,000 patents were issued, and in the first quarter of the 20th century, the number reached nearly a million .

As early as 1844, Samuel F .B . Morse had perfected electrical te- legraphy; soon afterward distant parts of the continent were linked by a network of poles and wires . In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell exhib- ited a telephone instrument; within half a century, 16 million telephones would quicken the social and eco- nomic life of the nation . The growth


“Upon the sacredness of property,

civilization itself depends.”

Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, 1889



of business was hastened by the in- vention of the typewriter in 1867, the adding machine in 1888, and the cash register in 1897 . The lino- type composing machine, invented in 1886, and rotary press and paper- folding machinery made it possible to print 240,000 eight-page newspa- pers in an hour . Thomas Edison’s incandescent lamp eventually lit millions of homes . The talking ma- chine, or phonograph, was perfected by Edison, who, in conjunction with George Eastman, also helped devel- op the motion picture . These and many other applications of science and ingenuity resulted in a new level of productivity in almost every field .

Concurrently, the nation’s basic industry — iron and steel — forged ahead, protected by a high tariff . The iron industry moved westward as ge- ologists discovered new ore depos- its, notably the great Mesabi range at the head of Lake Superior, which became one of the largest produc- ers in the world . Easy and cheap to mine, remarkably free of chemical impurities, Mesabi ore could be pro- cessed into steel of superior quality at about one-tenth the previously prevailing cost .

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