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100 of the greatest innovations of the Industrial Revolution honoured in new Haynes manual

28th March 2019
Simon Forty
Thursday, 21 March, 2019


28th March 2019: The Industrial Revolution changed our world in a way that few other periods of history have done before or since. It saw inventions and innovations that led to significant social changes and the freedoms that are the foundation of today’s political systems. Now, a new manual from Haynes, 100 Innovations of the Industrial Revolution, looks at how this fascinating period of human history, 1700–1860, continues to impact our lives today. 

100 Innovations of the Industrial Revolution examines this important period of change through a detailed exploration of 100 of its most significant inventions. Listing the ground-breaking developments in chronological order, entries include the papermaking machine, which resulted in a huge rise in literacy, and the Difference Engine – the first step towards modern computing. The book also takes a look at major feats of engineering and construction from the first iron foundry in 1709 to the monumental Suez Canal in 1859. 

Each scientific and industrial breakthrough is put into context and explored in depth. The manual examines inventions large and small and includes the flying shuttle, Ironbridge, vaccination, the Davy lamp, the hydraulic crane and the first transatlantic cable. 

The book is illustrated throughout and features informative text from author Simon Forty. Talking about his latest book, Simon says: “Two things become obvious when we first start reading about the Industrial Revolution. First, the importance of specific individuals and wealth. The second, that the men at the sharp end were more than just inventors. They were practical men who spent their lifetimes involved in making things work.   

“Before the start of the 18th Century, most scientific discoveries were driven by pure science rather than practicalities. In many ways, the definition of what we know as the Industrial Revolution is that it was a period when science and reason came together to allow people to make mechanisms and structures previously impossible, both possible and practical.

“The Industrial Revolution was a driving force behind the creation of new power sources, precision machinery, transportation, and of course, factories. It was these developments that led to the great inventions that we take for granted today, including lighting and heating in our homes, to the speed and efficiency of our transport systems.” 

This manual tells the story of how everything changed in a breath-taking 150 years, through marking the 100 key inventions and ideas that led the way. 


10 Industrial innovations that continue to impact life today


1. Ditherington Flax Mill:

This was the birth of the skyscraper. Its revolutionary flameproof iron frame paved the way for later, taller buildings using steel.

2. Papermaking machine: 

This led to the mass-production of affordable printed material, which had the unintended consequence of a huge increase in literacy and the dissemination of ideas.

3. The first transatlantic cable:

The world shrank as communications over huge distances became almost instantaneous.

4. Tin Cans:

This significant advance in the preservation of food was initially invented to help feed armies on the move. It also enabled ships to sail without fear of scurvy or malnutrition.

5. Difference Engine:

An automatic mechanical calculator, this was one of the precursors of the computer.

6. First steam engine:

Revolutionising industry by providing a reliable power source, the steam engine would go on to transform public transport, through the invention of the steam locomotive.

7. Gas street lighting:

Reducing crime and  improving nightlife, public entertainments and socialising, gas lighting also meant the start of night shifts in factories and, later, brought controllable light into our homes.

8. Electromagnet:

Without them there would be no bells, no buzzers, no headphones, loudspeakers, electric motors, VCRs, hard discs or MRI machines. 

9. Photographic image:

This eventually led to moving images, cinema and the digital camera.

10. The pedal bicycle:

Long-distance personal mobility for everyone, helping to emancipate workers – giving them access to a wider range of jobs and services – as well as improving opportunities for schooling, and enlarging social circles. It also increased women’s independence, and became an emblem for women’s rights.


Title Details

100 Innovations of the Industrial Revolution is priced at £24.99 and available from The book number is H6566. The ISBN is 9781785215667. It is published in April 2019.


About the author

Simon Forty has worked as a publisher and author for more than 40 years. He is the author of Hadrian’s Wall Operations Manual for Haynes, and has a particular interest in industrial history.  


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