Industrialization and Its Economic Impact


The Second Industrial Revolution (or the technological revolution) is a transformation in the global industry, covering the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Unlike the first industrial revolution that was based on steam engines and the development of the textile industry, the technological revolution is associated with the production of high-quality steel, the distribution of railways, and electricity. In the era of the Second Industrial Revolution, the development of the economy was mainly based on scientific achievements and not just successful inventions. The given paper discusses scientific discoveries made during this period, as well as new materials and power sources, and their impact on industrialization.

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Scientific Discoveries in the Context of Industrialization

One may argue that contrary to the first industrial revolution, the technological revolution was much more a product of science and organized research. In particular, this refers to new developments in the process of steelmaking. Taking into account that steel was an expensive refinement of iron, it was a challenge to produce steel directly from irons. It was Henry Bessemer who discovered how to make steel from pig iron within an hour (“The Second Industrial Revolution,” n.d.).

Since then the US steel industry produced a series of important improvements. As steel was strong and cheap, it was used in building rail lines at competitive costs and constructing ships and bridges. Electrification was another significant scientific discovery that became the basis for the further development of the technological revolution. Mass production would have been impossible without electricity, because it provided the work of many machines and other equipment on the conveyor. Invented by Thomas Edison, the electric light bulb was used by large factories in extending shifts and increasing manufacturing output.

New Power Sources

During the Second Industrial Revolution, electricity replaced steam that was considered the key power source in the industry. Electricity was generally used in transportation and communications, and it was also instrumental in chemical and steel productions. Produced as a by-product of coke manufacture, gasoline became the first fuel power source. As it was a very economical method of lighting, coal gas lights allowed factories to operate much longer hours. Other combustible gases composed of sulphurated and carbonated hydrogen were used in lighting houses without the use of lamps (Porter, 2009). Therefore, the use of electricity and gas fuel facilitated the industrialization.

New Materials

Raw materials including cast iron and steel were majorly used in the railroad industry, roofing, making cannons using galvanic process, and pavement. One should also mention “India rubber”, or caoutchouc, that was brought from South America (Porter, 2009). The material served as a basis for the rubber industry, in particular, the production of rubber tires. This made a significant contribution to the development of road transport and commercial production at the end of the XIXth century.

Advances in Communication

With the discovery of electricity during the technological revolution, significant advances in communication technology were made. In particular, the dots-and-dashed technology used in electric telegraph enabled people to make communication quick and clear across vast distances. The first telegraph lines were extended from the great cities of the US to Canadian cities that allowed for rapid communication between these countries (Porter, 2009). Invented in 1876 by Alexander Bell, the telephone revolutionized communication tools during the Second Industrial Revolution by transmitting and receiving sounds (“The Second Industrial Revolution,” n.d.). The telephone was of help in modernization as it promoted separation of homes and businesses.


To sum up, the Second Industrial Revolution saw rapid growth in industrial development due to a number of scientific discoveries and inventions. Advancements made in production technology contributed to the promotion of the wide use of telegraph and railroad networks. Replacement steam power with electricity and using gas energy enabled to facilitate the development of steel production, communication, and transport industries. Even though the technological revolution did not last long, its discoveries significantly accelerated the process of industrialization.

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Porter, R. (Ed.). (2009). The advocate of industry and journal of scientific, mechanical and other improvements. Scientific American Magazine, 2(1). Web.

The Second Industrial Revolution. (n.d.). Web.

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StudyCorgi. "Industrialization and Its Economic Impact." May 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Industrialization and Its Economic Impact." May 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Industrialization and Its Economic Impact'. 31 May.

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