Two Victorian Inventions Homework


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Victorian Inventions Timeline (1837 to 1901)


The first photograph taken, by Louis Daguerre in France and William Henry Fox-Talbot in Britain.


W.H. Fox-Talbot invented light sensitive photographic paper to produce photographs.


A Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan invented the first pedal bicycle. His machine was propelled by pedals, cranks and drive rods.


The first paddle steamships by Isambard Kingdom Brunel


The first postage stamps (Penny Post) came into use.


The first Christmas card was designed by John Calcott Horsely. Find out more


The first Morse Code message is sent. Invented by an American called Samuel Morse in 1837.


Rubber tyres invented. Robert Thomson discovered that rubber tyres filled with air (pneumatic) gave a far more comfortable ride for passengers than solid tyres, but they were too expensive.


London Road in Nottingham became the first road to be covered with tarmac (tarmacadam). Before this people had to suffer with roads made from cobbles ( round stones) and pot holes.


Sewing Machine invented by Elias Howe


Concrete developed by Monier. Concrete was cheap to make and opened up new possibilities for building.


Englishman George Cayley built the first glider to fly by a pilot.


The firstpost boxes are built
1850Petrol Developed
1850Isaac Singer produced a sewing machine which could be used at home.
1851Ice Cream is invented by Jacob Fussell, in the USA
1852The firstpublic flushing toiletopens in London. Before the 1850s most people had to use an earth closet, which was a toilet outside the house with just soil in it and no water.


Henry Bessemer found a way to convert iron into steel, which was both stronger and lighter than iron. This made it possible to build huge structures such as bridges and ships.
1855Lunstrom's new safety match first gains recognition
1856Louis Pasteur found how to make food safer to eat by pasteurizing it. This killed bacteria in certain foods.
1859Oil discovered in the USA leads to the birth of the modern oil industry.
1860The first horse-drawn tram
1863The world's first underground railway (the Tube) is opened in London. It is powered by steam.


The world's first jelly babies were made by an Austrian called Herr Steinbeck in Lancashire.


Invention of the penny-farthing bicycle. by British engineer, James Starley. The huge front wheel was almost six feet from top to bottom. and the seat was above the wheel. It had no brakes!


Typewriter invented by Christopher Sholes


The first chocolate Easter eggs were made by Fry's of Bristol.


Alexander Bell, a Scotsman living in America, invented the telephone on 7 March 1876. By 10 March 10 his apparatus was so good that the first complete sentence transmitted, “Watson, come here; I want you,”was distinctly heard by his assistant.


The world's first recording of the human voice is heard when the inventor of the phonograph, Thomas Edison, recited 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' and played it back


Electric street lighting began in London, replacing the old gas lamps, which had to be lit by hand every evening. (Michael Faraday discovered electricity)


Theelectric light bulbinvented by Swan and Edison for home use.


Safety Bicycle invented. It had a chain, sprocket driven rear wheel and equally sized wheels.


Firstelectric railway opened


First British electric tram network opened in the seaside town of Blackpool.


First petrolmotorcar built by Karl Benz. A three-wheeled vehicle powered by a one-cylinder gasoline engine.
The speed limit for cars was four miles per hour. It was increased to 20 miles per hour in 1896.


The invention of thegramophone by Emile Berliner


John Boyd Dunlop invented pneumatic tyres.


Photography became even more popular with invention of the Kodak box camera by American inventor George Eastman. Eastman's invention of the film roll and camera meant that photography became popular across the world. He named his camera Kodak because he liked the letter 'K'.


Moving pictures (cinematograph) invented by Lumiere brothers.


The first electric underground train to travel on a public railway ran in London on December 18.


The first comic book to ever be published in Britain was printed. It was called Comic Cuts


The first hydro-electric power station. making electricity from fast flowing water.


X-rays discovered by W K Roentgen


Guglielmo Marconi launches the wireless (radio)

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When the Victorian era began, Britain was going through the Industrial Revolution. Scientists had learned how to use steam to create power, and from that came a whole list of other inventions that used steam power to make machines operate.

One of these machines was the steam train in the early 1800s. It meant that travelling was a lot faster than using a horse and carriage, and that goods could be transported much more quickly than using the canal system.

This was good because more and more goods were being made! For instance, the textile industry was growing thanks to the invention of machines that could do the spinning and weaving instead of people, meaning it took much less time to produce. This is called mass production, and it was a key factor in the Industrial Revolution. It wasn’t a case anymore of just one person making one item – machines could do the same job in a fraction of the time.

While all this was going on, Britain was becoming bigger. The British Empire was the term used to describe all of the places that were under British rule, and during the Victorian era, this got so big that one poet said ‘the sun never sets on the British Empire’ (meaning that wherever the sun was shining at the time, it would be shining on something that belonged to Britain). The Great Exhibition in 1851 celebrated not just great accomplishments from around the world, but also within Britain and the British Empire. Many countries that were part of the British Empire are now part of the Commonwealth.

Names to know:

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) – a famous engineer who build steam ships, bridges, tunnels and even helped with the Crystal Palace used to house the Great Exhibition
James Watt (1736-1819) – a Scottish engineer who invented an improved steam engine used in factories and mines
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) – most famous for inventing the telephone
Thomas Edison (1847-1931) – an American inventor who made the phonograph and helped Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914) in Britain create the first electric light bulbs.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) – Prime Minister in 1868 and again from 1874-1880
William Gladstone (1809-1898) – Prime Minister four different times between 1868 and 1894, which is more than any other prime minister; he supported laws that allowed more people to vote
W. H. Fox-Talbot – an inventor who found ways to take photographs using negatives
Robert Peel (1788-1850) – Prime Minister from 1834-1835 and 1841-1846, who set up the Metropolitan Police Force in 1829.

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