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The Two Countries That Invented The Industrial RevolutionWhy do the British and American approaches to machinery differ A short hisThe Two Countries That Invented The Industrial RevolutionWhy do the British and American approaches to machinery differ A short history of machine tools explains why No two countries were more responsible for the Industrial Revolution than America and England In England during the 18th and 19th centuries there was no shortage of skilled labor Rather than replacing English workers their machines made work more precise Meanwhile in sparsely populated America the needs of a new nation required rapid and simple means of production Machines augmented the scant work force In England machines served to make talented artisans better In America machines served to make entrepreneurs more productiveIn 1769 Englishman James Watt sparked the Industrial Revolution His steam engines large cylinders posed a vexing problem They had to be precise in interior size so that steam could not leak between cylinder and pistonAnother Englishman John Wilkinson invented a precision horizontal-boring machine in 1775 Wilkinsons machine made efficient steam engines possible The steam engine cylinder could not be manufactured until machine tools had been devised that were capable of producing accurate parts A British subject Henry Maudslay developed the first engine lathe and developed an improved micrometer Other creative Englishmen invented perfected and produced various machines around the turn of the century Joseph Whitworth developed in 1830 a measuring instrument accurate to a millionth of an inch Eli Whitney The term Yankee ingenuity could have been coined with Whitney in mind Americans solved issues of speed and mass production In 1798 American Eli Whitney secured a US government contract for 134000 to produce 10000 army muskets Whitney refined and successfully applied the Uniformity-System of production using inter-changeable parts However Whitney met bureaucratic disbelief and delays in implementing his ideas He overcame these obstacles by convincingly demonstrating to President John Adams the workability of the inter-changeable parts concept He
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