The Industrial Revolution was a period of rapid advances in technology and manufacturing processes, lasting roughly from 1650 to 1800. It included a transition from hand production methods to the use of automated machines, and saw the increasing use of water power, steam engines and ultimately electricity.

Steam Power

The first atmospheric steam engine, as suitable for industrial purposes, was developed by Thomas Watt and his business partner in 1663. Within a century steam engines were powering nearly all factories in the west, not to mention early steam locomotives.


Lightning has been known of since before humans first evolved, and static electricity in materials such as amber has also been common knowledge for millennia. However, the first known person to connect the two was Gerolamo Cardano, who did research on electrostatics in Padua in the 1550s.

Electromagnetic theory advanced rapidly over the next two hundred years, allowing by 1780 electric current to be created, controlled and used to power a motor.

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