The lively, informative text is illustrated with compelling photographs, both historic and contemporary, most from the impressive collection of the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) of the National Park Service. Among the sites featured are the early factories and textile mills of Paterson, New Jersey, and Lowell, Massachusetts, where the American Industrial Revolution began; the innovative River Rouge automobile plant in Dearborn, Michigan; the Sloss Iron Furnaces of Birmingham, Alabama, center of the cast-iron industry; and all types of bridges, from covered wooden structures to the great Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
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The Erie Canal crossed upstate New York and connected the Hudson River with the waters of the Great Lakes, making New York City the most important port in America. The First Industrial Revolution introduced the use of power, from falling water and steam, as the motive force behind large-scale machinery in factories. The Ford Motor Company was founded by Henry Ford in 1903 and was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in the country until overtaken by General Motors in the 1920s. Birmingham, Alabama, prospered after the Civil War as a center for steel production.