What Were Your Ancestors Doing in the 1830s?

The 1830s were the decade that laid the foundations for the Industrial Revolution. This means that a lot of prototype inventions and preliminary discoveries were made that were the basis of many of the modern amenities we enjoy today. These are some of the highlights of the decade that our ancestors were there to enjoy.

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What was going on in the 1830s that might have affected your ancestors? This was a decade of emerging technologies, and was, in fact, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It was also the age of Imperialism and Colonialism of European countries in Asian and African countries. Also, it was the beginning of the Victorian era, as it was the decade in which Queen Victoria ascended to the British throne. These are some of the other things happening in the 1830s that your ancestors would have known about, talked about, and even enjoyed.

There were many inventions in this decade, particularly ones that involved mechanical engineering. The patent for the invention of the lawnmower was granted to Edwin Beard Budding in 1830. The patent for the Colt revolver was granted to Samuel Colt in 1836. The patent for the steam shovel was granted to William Otis in 1839.

The first form of photography, the daguerreotype, was invented, and was used to take the first photograph of the moon in 1839. That same year, Louis Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotype, was granted a patent for his camera. Because this invention was so special and important, the French government gave Louis Daguerre a pension and gave the camera “for the whole world.”

While electricity was already known in the 1830s, thanks to Benjamin Franklin’s experiments a few decades before, there were some important key discoveries made about it in the 1830s. The concept of electromagnetic induction was discovered in 1831 by Michael Faraday and by Joseph Henry, actually independently of each other, though Faraday was the first one to publish the results of the experiments he did to discover it. This discovery was important because electromagnetic induction is crucial to the later invention of things like transformers, inductors, generators, solenoids, and electrical motors.

Other discoveries about electricity from the 1830s were the Law of Electrolysis, also discovered by Michael Faraday, and the Peltier Effect, discovered by Jean C. A. Peltier. The latter is the presence of heating or cooling at an electrified junction of two conductors. Also, John Daniel invented a primary cell where hydrogen was eliminated in generating electricity in this decade.

Literature and Language
There were several notable literature achievements in this decade. Charles Dickens published his first novel, The Pickwick Papers in this decade, and followed it up with Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby in the same decade. Victor Hugo published The Hunchback of Notre Dame in this decade, as well. In addition, Hans Christian Andersen published his first book of fairly tales.

In the world of language, the first recorded use of the word “OK” in print was done in The Boston Morning Post in 1839.

The 1830s were a decade of change in the world, and innovation as well as invention. It laid the foundation for many of the amenities of today’s modern life that came later. And to think, our ancestors were there to experience and enjoy them.