Image: A photograph shows an early telegraph key made with brass fixtures on a wooden plank. The pad that is touched to send signals is visible on the right.
The first transcontinental telegraph line is completed, allowing people across the country to communicate with one another almost instantly. Originally developed by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail in the 1830s, Morse Code let people send telegraph messages easily.
Image: A photograph shows the interior of the "Pioneer," the first railroad sleeping car. A woman is seated on the right. Overhead, fold-up beds line both the sides of the car.
George Pullman creates the first railroad sleeping car, the "Pioneer." Pullman later became president of the Pullman Palace Car Company. This company made and operated sleeping cars on contract with railroad companies. The company became so large that it had its own town for its workers just south of Chicago. Pullman workers held one of the most famous strikes of the 19th century in 1894.
Image: A patent application diagram shows a design for high-pressure steam valve. The cylindrical object is shown in cutaway view with a rod in the middle of the revealed space.
Elijah McCoy patents a steam engine self-lubricator. This device used the high pressure of steam valves to keep moving parts greased and moving smoothly. McCoy received more than 50 patents in his career, mostly for improvements to the steam engine. He founded his own company, the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company, in 1920
Image: A photograph shows a formally dressed, seated Alexander Graham Bell demonstrating his invention in front of a group of men dressed in suits and standing behind him.
Alexander Graham Bell receives the patent for the telephone. The telephone improved on the telegraph by using electricity to transmit sound. Several lawsuits over the true inventor of the device followed, but Bell ultimately won.
Image: A photograph shows four early incandescent electric light bulbs mounted in a row on a board for display.
Thomas Edison develops an improved incandescent electric light bulb. Among Edison's numerous other inventions were the phonograph, an improved telephone, and a motion picture camera.
Image: A blueprint drawing from a patent application shows the first machine to successfully attach the tops and bottom of shoes over the last, a mold in the shape of a foot. The individual parts of the machine are noted with letters and numbers.
Jan E. Matzeliger patents the first machine to successfully attach the tops and bottoms of shoes over the last, a mold in the shape of a foot. The machine could finish between 100 and 650 more pairs of shoes per day than a person doing so by hand. Shoe prices plummeted as machine-made shoes flooded the market.
Image: An 1884 drawing shows a series of improved incandescent light bulbs. From left to right: a bulb with filament beginning at the bottom and curving downward; a bulb with filament beginning at the bottom, rotating in a circle, and curving downward; a bulb with filament beginning at the bottom, and curving downward, upward, and downward again; a bulb with filament beginning at thTimeline - Text Versione bottom, rotating three times before curving downward.
Lewis Howard Latimer becomes the only African American member of Thomas Edison's inventing lab. He had already developed improved electric lamps and a light bulb filament. While working for Edison, Latimer wrote an engineering handbook about incandescent lights.
Image: Blueprint for an object from four different views. The object appears to be a rectangular box with covers that fold over its top and are fastened.
Sarah E. Goode becomes the first African American woman to receive a patent. Her cabinet bed allowed users to transform their beds into desks to save space in small city apartments. The bed had hinged sections that could be folded or unfolded as needed.
Image: A photograph shows two