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The beginning of industrial manufacturing has roots dating back to 7,000 B.C.E. after humans transitioned from stone tools to metal. The invention of copper, bronze, and iron weapons and materials have revolutionized the way humans have battled, traded, farmed, and developed cities, surging us forward to the world we live in today.

Many years into the future, from the late eighteenth century well into to the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution took shape in the Western world as factories and laborers became a way of life. Learn more about the history of manufacturing in the United States and how our modern world has developed below.

A Brief History of Manufacturing in the United States Since 1790

The Beginning: 1790

The first U.S. Patent was given to Samuel Slater for the creation of potash, an ingredient in fertilizer. This was only the beginning of accrediting inventors; now, there are over 6 million patents in the United States!

Transforming the Modern World: 1820

The Industrial Revolution kicked off in 1820 when the United States started using steam-powered machinery to manufacture products originally made by hand. This dramatically improved efficiency and product uniformity. Interchangeable parts also become more prevalent in factories after seeing their impact in the firearm industry, making products easier to repair.

Faster Shipping and Transportation: 1830

The first American-built steam locomotive was created in 1830 by Peter Cooper, transforming the landscape of the United States with railroads. Prior to the locomotive were horse-drawn trains that were much slower and could not carry as much cargo. The steam locomotive altered shipping and transportation by increasing speed and allowing for greater shipments across land.

Electricity: 1879

The term electricity was coined in the 1600s and has been studied since the ancient Greeks. However, the first person to generate electricity into light was Thomas Edison. In 1879, after many failed attempts, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. He demonstrated it for the first time in December of that year in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Before electricity, manufacturing was powered using steam. Edison revolutionized our energy source production, making manufacturing even more efficient.

Increased Rates of Production: 1913

In 1913, Henry Ford created the first moving assembly line for his automobiles, the Model T’s, by using a conveyor belt. Moving assembly lines drastically improved productivity while reducing waste during the manufacturing process.

Introducing Robots to Manufacturing: 1954

The first industrial robot, the Unimate, was created in 1954 by George Charles Devor and installed in General Motor’s factory in 1961. They continued to evolve and eventually became a staple in manufacturing in the 1970s.

Today, there are more than 3 million robots in operation worldwide, providing efficient and effective labor for companies of all industries.

Industrial manufacturing has changed our world into what we see today.

The ease of buying products and the variety we see in stores is due to the amazing leaps made in manufacturing since the eighteenth century. Industrial manufacturing has allowed us to get the supplies and products we need so that we can spend more time with family and friends, as well as focus on our passion projects and careers.

Are you looking to purchase a robot for your manufacturing facility?

iGAM is the leading online marketplace for used industrial robots and manufacturing equipment. With unbeatable prices, selection, and customer service, iGAM aims to be the ultimate destination for automation products across the industry and an essential part of every manufacturer’s asset management strategy. Our sister company, NRTC Automation, offers services to manufacture customized parts for your robot or equipment and build flexible robotic work cells for your manufacturing facility. Check out iGAM’s huge inventory of robots and NRTC Automation’s services for your manufacturing needs.


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iGAM is the leading online marketplace for used industrial robots, robot parts, and manufacturing equipment. Providing quality industrial equipment at an affordable price, iGAM has helped manufacturers of all sizes with their automation goals. Keep your production line up and running with products and services from iGAM. From supplying Industrial Automation equipment to asset appraisals, iGAM aims to be the ultimate destination for every manufacturer’s industrial automation needs.

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