There was a time in the history of the United States that making something move was an example of ingenuity, imagination and innovation. Whether it was a wrench turning a nut, a gear turning a spoke or a chain hoist lifting something into place, movement has always been intricately woven into our society. Designing something to do the work is at the heart of manufacturing and the core of everything that we do as a people. As you drive home from work or school each day you pass the results of pre-planned work, from the tiniest structure to the widest roadways. You can even trace this in the history of manufacturing all the way back to the founding fathers of our nation itself.
THE FOUNDING FATHERS WERE BUILDERS
- Benjamin Franklin was the creator and designer of the multiple plate capacitor. He created it after he began his study of electricity in 1746. These are the capacitors that are used in radios and are still used to this day.
- In 1791, Alexander Hamilton released a report endorsing and justifying the expanse of and reliability of American manufacturing to Congress. As a result of the report, Hamilton as well as several entrepreneurs from New York founded the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures. In addition, Hamilton encouraged immigration for people to better themselves in similar employment in the manufacturing sector.
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
During the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, America would be witness to our nation changing from one that is made by hand, to one that is made by machine. From crafts honed on farms and in the living rooms of one bedroom cottages, to the creation of Sulfuric Acid and bleaching powder which would be the cornerstone of the new Chemical Manufacturing process.
- The rapid changes in chemical processing resulted in an explosive growth of Chemical Manufacturing, notably made famous by Charles Tennant. He founded St. Rollox Chemical Works that became the largest chemical manufacturer in the world in 1831. As a direct result, approximately 34 years later, the company BASF was founded which now employees 113,830 worldwide, with multiple old and brand new facilities right here the United States.
- Overall the U.S. chemical industry has directly employed more than 810,000 workers, with additional indirect employment by industry suppliers of more than 2.6 million in the U.S. alone.
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION PART DEUX
After the second Industrial Revolution in late 19th century and early 20th century, the world began to see rapid technological advancement. Leaps made in the Steel and Rubber industry ultimately saw rise to the automobile, transcontinental railways and telecommunications industries.
- Due to the creation of the Bessemer process allowing for cheaper mass production of steel, we saw the rise of companies like the Barrow Hematite Steel Company as well as shipyards and engineering companies.
- Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering is a company that came out of the revolution. We know that company as BAE Systems Inc., the company that sells more to the US Department of Defense than the United Kingdom’s entire Ministry of Defense!
- This sudden technological advancement made the United States capable of expanding its telecommunications network that we still enjoy to this day.
THE FUTURE OF MOVEMENT
Technology is rapidly increasing and moving forward. Things that once were appealing because of their height like the Empire State building, or because of their capacity to problem solve like ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), have been replaced with astonishing things that are complex or tiny. The end result is the healthy promotion of thinking outside the box and acknowledging the long line of dominoes that had to fall into place in order for you to buy that very tasty hamburger or to hop on the WiFi. But most of all knowing that everything you buy, everything you eat and drink from the grocery store, has a moving set of wheels. A physical and metaphorical wheel that delivered it to you and helped it get made. In everything we do, we make America move. How will you help it move from here?
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