Imagine a life without electricity, refrigeration, cars, TVs, and computers. Hard to picture, right? But not for people living in the U.S. less than 200 years ago. All of this changed, however, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, which changed every aspect of everyday life, from how we wash our clothes to how we work, how we communicate, and how we travel. Industrial Revolution, for kids, explores the full scope of these changes, starting with inventions like the cotton gin, which revolutionized agriculture in the South, to the spinning jenny, which led to an explosion of textile mills in the North.
The impacts of other inventions – such as the steam engine and the telegraph – are also fully explored, along with the downside of these rapid changes. Many of the advances of the Industrial Revolution, kids will learn, relied on the exploited labor of the poor, and led later to worker riots and uprisings that were also a feature of the period. On the other hand, the explosion of scientific learning during this period also led to positive changes, such as the development of a vaccine for smallpox, advances in anesthesia, and the first pasteurized dairy products. As a turning point in American history, the Industrial Revolution, for kids, is shown to be equal parts boon and bust, with the changes still playing out today in the development of life-changing devices like computers and the Internet.