Dates of Inventions, Discoveries and other Developments.
This section complements the pen portraits ‘Great Engineers and Pioneers and their Education’ on this website.
Again it must be stressed that the industrial revolution was driven by craftsmen like James Watt, self- taught business people like Matthew Boulton and artisans like Henry Maudslay. It did not develop from London or through royal patronage but from Cities like Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. The universities played little part it its creation as many of the inventors and individuals never attended formal educational institutions and as the history of technical education identifies dissenting academies, mechanics’ institutions and working men’s clubs etc. made important contributions to their education as did the apprenticeship schemes active at that time. However the majority were self-taught and possessed a remarkable inherent, innate talent and outstanding manual skills
It will be further expanded.
1563 William Lee invents the Stocking Frame for knitting stockings.
1658: Clock balance spring. Robert Hooke.
1698: First attempt to use steam power. Thomas Savery.
1671: Silk spinning machine. Edmund Blood.
1678 Coke to smelt introduced by a number of people including Clement Clerke.
1694 First Centre Bank establishes in England.
1701/08: Machine seed drill. Jethro Tull.
1709: Improved iron smelting process. Abraham Darby – Coke fuelled furnaces used by Abraham Darby of Coalbrookdale.
1712 Steam engine. Thomas Newcomen and Thomas Savery. Newcomen used a piston in his engine.
1718 Thomas Lombe’s silk mill, Derby.
1721: First mechanised water-powered silk mill at Derby. John Lombe.
1728: Ship chronometer. John Harrison.
1730 First successful iron plough introduced by Joseph Foljambe Rotherham.
1732: Threshing machine. Michael Menzies.
1733: Flying shuttle (weaving). John Kay. Stephen Hales first measures blood pressure.
1736 John Harrison tests his first sea clock.
1738 Paul Lewis’s roller spinning machine.
1740s Crucible steel techniques introduced by Benjamin Huntsman in Doncaster.
1743: Wool carding machine. David Bourne. Chelsea Porcelain Works opened.
1744 Integrated brass mill in operation in Bristol.
1743: Compound lever. John Wyatt.
1746: Production of sulphuric acid by the lead chamber process. John Roebuck.
1750 After 1750 Turnpike Trusts were established to improve main roads. Investments in roads in the early 1800s was around £3 million.
1751 Worcester Porcelain Factory opened.
1759 First Canal Act in 1830 there were 4,000 miles of canals in Britain.
1758: First threshing machine.
1759 Wedgwood’s Burslem factory opened. Smeaton’s Eddystone Lighthouse started.
1760 Wyatt’s wood screw patented.
1761: Bridgewater Canal opened Worley to Manchester – James Brindley.
1763 Newcomen engine used in colliery winding.
1764/65: Spinning jenny – patented in 1770. James Hargreaves.
1765 James Watt produces a more efficient version of the Newcomen engine.
1766 Soho Ironworks opened, Birmingham.
1767 Joseph Priestly invents a method of producing carbonated water.
1769: Hydraulic spinning frame-spinning frame or water frame patented. Richard Arkwright. Arkwright’s first factory opened in Nottingham.
1770 First iron plough invented.
1771 Arkwright’s Cromford Mill opened.
1774: Leeds and Liverpool canal opened. Wilkinson’s boring machine invented.
1775: First efficient steam engine improved Newcomen engine. James Watt. Boulton and Watt partnership established.
1776 Adam Smith publishes ‘The Wealth of Nations’.
1777 Arkwright’s Birkacre Mill opened.
1778: Improved flush toilet. Joseph Braham. Mortise tumbler invented. Robert Barron. Ramsden’s screw cutting lathe invented.
1779: First steam powered mills utilises Hargreave’s and Arkwright’s machines. Samuel Crompton mule invented.
1781 Watt’s sun and planet gears developed.
1783: Improved iron manufacturing processes – rolling and puddling in 1784. Henry Cort.
1784: Invention of secure locks. Joseph Brahm.
1784: Threshing machine invented by Andrew Meikle. Lea mills founded by John Smedley.
1785: Vertical power loom patented. Edmund Cartwright. Ransome’s patent for ploughshare.
1786: Two man operated loom patented. Edmund Cartwright. Meikle’s threshing machine invented.
1787 First iron boat built by John Wilkinson.
1787 Cartwright builds a power loom.
1789: Thames and Severn canal opened. Edward Arkwright’s water frame patented.
1791 First compound steam engine introduced by Cornish engineer Jonathon Hornblower.
1792: First domestic gas lighting system in Redruth Cornwall. William Murdock. Cartwright’s wool combing machine invented.
1793 Minton Porcelain Factory opened, Stoke-on Trent
1793/1803: The Dee and Cierog iron aqueducts. Thomas Telford.
1793 Eli Whitney develops his cotton gin to clean raw cotton.
1795: Hydraulic press – first demonstration by Joseph Bramah. Soho Foundry opened by Boulton and Watt.
1796 Spode produced bone china.
1797 Henry Maudslay invents the first industrial lathe.
1798 Edward Jenner invents first successful vaccine for smallpox.
1799 Eddystone Lighthouse completed by John Smeaton stood until 1882. George Medhurst the motorised air compreesor.
1800: Development of bleaching powder. Charles Tennant.
1801/04: Steam locomotive. Richard Trevithick.
1802 High pressure steam engine patented by Richard Trevithick. William Cruickshank designed first electric battery capable of mass production. Soho Works partly lit by gas.
1802 William Cruickshank designs electric battery capable of mass production.
1803 Ploughshare of chilled cast irob developed by Robert Ransome of Clipswich, Suffolk. John Dalton developed the atomic theory.
1803 Between 1803 and 1822 Caledonian Canal cuts across Scotland.
1805 Micrometer invented by Henry Maudslay.
1805-1806 Steam dredger used on various river beds and docks by Richard Trevithrick. Pontcysylltau (Llangollen, Wales) opened for business by Thomas Telford.
1807 Robert Fulton’s Clermont first successful steamboat – greatly improved transport by sea and international trade. Alexander John Forsyth patents percussion cap.
1809 Humphry Davy invents first electric arc lamp. Dickinson’s papermaking machine invented. Bobbinet lace making machine invented.
1810 Chain bridge design patented by Samuel Brown.
1811 Plymouth breakwater started completed in 1838! John Rennie.
1812 Richard Trevithvick adapted steam engine to work at a pressure of 40 pounds per square inch.
1813: Mine safety lamp. Humphrey Davy and George Stephenson. Improved loom patented by Samuel Horrock.
1813: Improved loom developed. Samuel Horrocks.
1815 Doulton Pottery opened, Lambeth. Steam driven introduced in paper-making.
1816: First ‘macadamised’ road surface. Improved smelting process introduced by Joseph Hall of Tipton – greatly improved Henry Cort method of puddling. Davy safety lamp invented.
1817 Jacquard loom patented.
1818: Middleton milling machine. Robert Johnson and Simeon North.
1819 First steamship in the world to enter to enter sea-going service the Rob Roy by William Denny of Dumbarton.
1821: Demonstration of the principle of the electric motor through electro-magnetic rotation. Michael Faraday. Steam pump used to drain the Fens in east Anglia.
1823 Charles Mackintosh patents a water proof fabric.
1824: Chemical process patented for making Portland cement. Joseph Aspdin.
1825: Invention of the tunneling shield. Marc Brunel. Darlington-Stockton railway opened by George Stephenson. William Sturgeon invents the electromagnet.
1826 Journeymen Steam Engine Fitters established first major industrial trade union in Manchester. Fly frame patented by Henry Houldsworth. St. Helens Crown Glass Company established. John Walker invents friction match.
1828 Hot blast furnace/oven patented by James Beaumont Neilson. Bell’s reaping machine invented.
1830 George and Robert Stephenson worked together on the London-Birmingham railway. R Stephenson produced his Planet locomotive – 4 wheel design 2-2-0.
1830 Liverpool-Manchesrer Railway begins first regular commercial rail service.
1831: Electric generator. Michael Faraday used a method of electromagnet induction. Also discovered independently a year later by Joseph Henry.
1832 Sheet glass produced by Chance Brothers (Techniques discovered in Europe).
1833 Ericsson’s screw propeller invented.
1833/34: Differential calculating machine. Charles Babbage.
1834: Accurate measuring machine constructed to measure one-millionth of an inch. Joseph Whitworth.
1834: The photographic process discovered. Fox Talbot.
1835 Francis Smith invents the propeller. Joseph Henry invents the electromechanical relay.
1838 First successful screw steamer Archimedes launched by the Rennie Brothers at Millwall in November.
1839: Introduction of photographic paper. Fox Talbot. William Grove develops principles of hydrogen fuel cell. Nasmyth’s steam hammer invented.
1840 Manufacture of ferro-manganese by David Mushet – an excellent wearing resistance material. Roland Hill introduces prepaid mail and the first postage stamp. George Hudson built first railway station in York. Electroplating invented.
1841: Standard thread accepted. Joseph Whitworth. Fox Talbot’s calotype patented. Jacquard loom adapted for lace making. Shipbuilding yards opened at Govan by Robert Napier.
1842 Bessemser’s typesetting machine invented.
1843: First cement underwater tunnel opened– Thames Tunnel. Ransome’s made first all-iron plough.
1844 John Mercer invents mercertised cotton. Whitworth’s gear cutting machine invented.
1845 Compound steam engine invented by William McNaught.
1846 First hydraulic crane produced by William Armstrong.
1849 Steam plough patented by James Usher of Edinburgh.
1850 Britannia Bridge, Menai Straits, Anglesey by Robert Stephenson.
1850 Canal system was 4,000 miles.
1851 Hydraulic accumulator invented by William Armstrong (1850?).
1853: Piloted glider. George Cayley.
1854: Invention steel converter by Henry Bessemer. John Tyndall identifies principles of fibre optics. Fowler’s steam plough invented. First tarmac road laid in Paris invented by John McAdam.
1855 Joseph Whitworth produced a measuring machine capable of detecting a difference of a millionth part of an inch. James Clerk Maxwell invents first practical method for colour photography.
1855 Regius Chair of Technology founded at Edinburgh. William Bessemer patents new process for steel making.
1856: Production of aniline dyes. William Perkin. First practical commercial refrigeration system patented in England by James Harrison. Bessemer converter invented.
1857 New improved regenerative furnace invented by Friedrich Siemens. Steam driven generator used to produce electricity for lighting.
1858 First trans-Atlantic cable completed.
1860 HMS Warrior Britain’s first iron warship is launched.
1861 Siemens furnace first used for glass manufacture.
1862 Titanic Steel and Iron Company founded by Robert Mshet.
1873: Explanation of electromagnetism and waves. James Clerk Maxwell.
1884 Steam turbine engine patented by Charles Parsons.
1887 Large-scale manufacture of manganese steel in Sheffield by Robert Hadfield.
1892 James Dewar invents vacuum flask.
1894: Last major canal built in Britain – Manchester Ship Canal.
1896 First vessel propelled by turbines – Charles Parsons.
1926 John Logie Baird invents the TV.