Between 1800 and 1870, the United States transformed from a primarily agrarian culture dominated by small farms and small cottage enterprises to a powerhouse of industry. This transformation was driven by technological innovations which not only increasingly automated labor, but also had the effect of shifting the population from rural centers to urban areas. Although there were improvements in agricultural technologies which increased output and spurred demand internationally for the agricultural products of the South, ironically, this also increased the need for cheap labor and increased the in country slave trade. Changes in the Northern economy such as the explosion of factory manufacturing also produced an increased need for laborers; however, unlike in the South, this niche was filled by immigrants flocking to newly developing cities all along the eastern seaboard. These new changes added to existing regional resentments and contributed to the Civil War. As you explore the Cultural Change pages, keep in mind how each shift in societal norms influences the other.
The "American Citizen" of August 17, 1807, says: - "Mr. Fulton's ingenious steamboat, invented with a view to the navigation of the Mississippi, from New Orleans upward, sails today from the North River, near State's Prison, to Albany. The velocity of the steamboat is calculated at four miles an hour. It is said it will make a progress of two against the current of the Mississippi, and if so it will certainly be a very valuable acquisition to the commerce of Western States." http://www.iment.com/maida/familytree/henry/history/clermont/
advertising "McCormick Harvesting Machine Co." and illustrating the McCormick Harvester & Self Binder, showing a two horse drawn harvester in a field of ripe wheat, farmstead in background. Marked in lower right "Shober & Carqueville, Litho. Co. Chicago;" 21" x 27.75" in modern frame, 24.5" x 31.5".
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10 Agricultural Inventions That Changed Farming
Joseph Dart and Robert Dunbar
The need for Grain elevators emerged in the mid 1800's in North America when agriculture moved to a cash crop economy following the invention of the Cyrus McCormick Mechanical Reaper
Henry Blair was the second Black inventor issued a patent by the United States Patent Office. Born in 1807 in Glen Ross, Maryland, Blair was a free man, his first invention was a seed planter which enabled farmers to plant more corn utilizing less labor in a smaller period of time. He received a patent for this invention on October 14, 1834, assigned number 8447x. Two years later, in 1836, Blair received a second patent for a cotton planter, assigned number 15. The cotton planter worked by splitting the ground with two shovel-like blades pulled along by a horse, followed by awheel-driven cylinder which dropped seen into the newly plowed furrow. Blair had been a successful farmer for years and developed the inventions as a means of increasing efficiency in farming.
It is noteworthy that in both of his patents he was listed as a “colored man”, the only example of an inventor’s race being listed or acknowledged on an issued patent.