New sources of energy, manufacturing techniques, and business practices all played a role in the United States becoming the world’s industrial leader by 1900 during the Second Industrial Revolution.
Kerosene, or a fuel of unprocessed oil, created a new fuel source that changed how the world obtained their light and power. In the 1850s, chemists produced the first kerosene, igniting an entirely new industry. Kerosene could be used for cooking, heating, and lighting. One oil company supervisor said that oil workers were “men who are supplying light for the world.” This shows how important kerosene was to the public. A demand for oil sprang, and people started looking for a dependable source of oil to feed the industry, which was found underground. Oil prospectors soon began drilling for oil in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Oil now served as a colossal industry in these states, as they sold millions of barrels per year.
The light bulb, invented by Thomas Edison in 1879, also provided light for people. Edison’s power plant and Westinghouse’s long distance power system ensured that electricity could be transported to people across the country. This played a role in the United States becoming the world’s industrial leader by 1900 by creating a new industry and a new fuel source, which was used everywhere.
The Bessemer process is a way of crafting steel invented by Henry Bessemer in 1854. The Bessemer process is more than 70 xs faster than previous methods, and is cheaper. This new method increased steel production rapidly and after only 25 years of the Bessemer process, over 1 million tons of steel were produced every year. Huge mills were built to produce all the steel, which had long pipes shooting skyward called smokestacks. The drop of steel prices paved the road for railroad construction. Now that steel was much cheaper, many new tracks were laid. It created a new industry, which Andrew Carnegie dominated with Carnegie Steel Company, which was worth $250 billion dollars in 1901. The Bessemer process played a role in the United States’ industrial success by making steel more accessible and cheaper, while creating a new industry.
New business practices and forms helped make the United States more industrial. New Corporations formed, controlling the market. Corporations are companies that sell portions of ownership called shares. Corporations were superior over previous business forms because of their stock holders. Stockholders buy their stocks to get a profit later. Stockholders are not responsible for debts. They are also free to sell their stock to whoever they wanted. By 1900, over 100 million shares per year were traded. Business men developed new tactics like vertical integration, horizontal integration, and trusts. Vertical integration is ownership of businesses involved in each step of the manufacturing process. Vertical integration allows for people to save money from buying every product of the process wholesale, which helped make America more industrial. Horizontal integration is owning all the businesses in a certain field. This takes out competition and allows people to control the price and quality of the product because people have to buy it. When someone successfully owns all the businesses in a certain field, it is called a monopoly. Another business practice was a trust. A trust is a legal arrangement grouping multiple companies under a single board of directors. Trusts often strived to eliminate competition and control production.
New energy sources such as electricity and kerosene, the Bessemer process, and business tactics during the Second Industrial Revolution played a role in the United States becoming the world’s industrial leader by 1900 by creating new industry and inventions, and developing business practices that dominated the market.