Timeline: What happened when the world transformed?

The world changesthe church responds

1708  Jethro Tull invents mechanical sower for large-scale planting in rows  

1709  Abraham Darby improves iron ore smelting by using coke for fuel

1712  Thomas Newcomen invents the first practical steam engine

1746  John Wesley publishes Primitive Physic

1765  Spinning jenny invented, initiating the automation of weaving  

1760s  Arthur Guinness inspired to begin charity to the poor of Dublin

1772  Extension of Bridgewater Canal in NW England kicks off   “canal mania”  

1784  Andrew Meikle develops a threshing machine

1779  First steam-powered mills established 

1789  Archibald Cochrane lights his estate with gas

1793  Eli Whitney develops cotton gin 

Early 1800s  Many new mission societies founded 

1801  Steam locomotive  demonstrated

1807  First successful steamboat launched 

1807  Slave trade outlawed in Great Britain after decades of political effort led by Christians

1807  Primitive Methodism founded in Great Britain, combining  American-style worship with outreach to the poor

1811–15  Luddite riots: laborers attack factories and break up machines they fear will replace them  

1830  Liverpool and Manchester Railway begins first regular commercial rail service  

1831  Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction, making electric engines possible

1834  Charles Babbage develops analytic engine, forerunner of the computer 

1833  Society of St.  Vincent de Paul founded to serve poor slum dwellers

1837  Telegraph and Morse code developed; first ocean-going steamship launches   

1840s  Dr. William Lockhart criticizes opium trade as impediment to missions

1840s  Benjamin Lee and Arthur Lee Guinness give generously to help victims of Irish potato famine

1842  Amana Colony moves to America, decides to hold property in common

1844  Morse’s telegraph first used commercially

1846  Evangelical Alliance inaugurated

1850  Petrol (gasoline) first refined 

1851  Isaac Singer invents practical sewing machine 

1852  Elisha Otis invents elevator safety brake, making skyscrapers practical

1858  First trans-Atlantic cable completed  

1859  First successful gasoline engine used

1860  Free Methodist Church founded in the United States: antislavery, pro-holiness, free pews for the poor

1860s  William and Catherine Booth begin Christian Mission in London, later renamed The Salvation Army

1863  Slavery ends in the United States 

1867  Alfred Nobel produces dynamite 

1870s–1914  Supporters of the Nonconformist Conscience in Britain work for alcohol prohibition, sexual purity, other causes

1873  Remington typewriter invented

1874 Anglo-Oriental Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade founded

1874  Women’s Christian Temperance Union founded

1874  John Bascom becomes president of the University of Wisconsin, where the Social Gospel influences his “Wisconsin Idea”

1876  Alexander Bell invents the telephone  

1877  Thomas Edison invents the phonograph  

1879  Thomas Edison invents a practical incandescent lamp

1879  Salvation Army work begins in America 

1883  First modern skyscraper (10 stories) built in Chicago; Brooklyn Bridge opens 

1884  Hiram Maxim invents machine gun, facilitating mass slaughter and advancing mechanized warfare 

1885  Karl Benz introduces  automobile with internal-combustion engine

1885  Methodists begin deaconess work, based on a German Lutheran model

1885  John Wilson becomes a member of Parliament, works for social reform

1885  Josiah Strong publishes Our Country

1886  Edward Cecil Guinness establishes the Guinness Trust to help the “laboring poor”

1880s–1890s  Guinness company follows John Lumsden’s recommendations for worker treatment

1888  Heinrich Hertz puts the study of radio waves on a scientific basis

1890  William Booth publishes In Darkest England and the Way Out

1891  Pope Leo XIII issues “On Capital and Labor”

1891  Abraham Kuyper helps organize the first Christian Social Congress in the Netherlands 

1893  Cadbury begins to build the model village of Bournville

1894  W.  T. Stead publishes If Christ Came to Chicago

1896 William Jennings Bryan, Social Gospel proponent, runs unsuccessfullyfor president

1896  Guglielmo Marconi patents wireless telegraph

1899  Aspirin invented  

1899 William Sheppard discovers Congo massacre

1899 Joseph Rowntree publishes The Temperance Problem and Social Reform

1899-1901  Boxer uprising rages in China

Early 1900s  Charles Welch active philanthropically in Westfield, New Jersey

1902–1904  Rowntree Cocoa builds its model village,  New Earswick

1903  Asa Candler assists in building Wesley MECS and associated hospital facilities 

1903  Wright brothers first achieve manned, powered, heavier than air flight  

1908  Henry Ford mass-produces the Model T  

1908  Federal Council of Churches formed

1910  Edinburgh World Missionary Conference convenes

1914  Bouck White issues “Socialist Creed”

1925  First “Life and Work” Congress convenes

1931  Pope Pius XI issues“On Reconstruction of the Social Order”

1933  Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin begin to publish the Catholic Worker and found CW communities

1935  E. Stanley Jones publishes Christ’s Alternative to Communism

1940s  Koinonia Farms founded as interracial farming community in rural Georgia

1948  World Council of Churches formed

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #104 in 2013]

“The world changes” adapted from “The Industrial Revolution: A Timeline” by George Landow; “The church responds” compiled by Jennifer Woodruff Tait
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