At the close of the 19th century, Indiana's main source of statewide wealth was tied to agriculture. Mining and limestone extraction were also a source of income for the state. The emergence of Indiana as a leading industrial manufacturing state is related to at least four factors:
1. large quantities of agricultural and forestry products that furnished raw material to manufacturers
2. deposits of natural mineral resources that were located within Indiana (coal, gas and petroleum)
3. transportation network of railroads that crisscrossed the state as well as the harbor at Michigan City for waterway freight transportation.
4. the state of Indiana's location to the center part of the United States placed it in the path of a large commercial pathway from the East.1
Increases in the population of cities within Indiana was also part of the emergence as a industrial-leading state.
Several changes occurred within manufacturing during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Steam power, used to power factory machinery, only grew slightly until it was no longer used because of the use of electricity (around 1914). Water powered factories quickly declined as the internal combustion engine became important to factory production.
Some of the largest industrial cities within Indiana included: Gary, Hammond, South Bend, Elkhart, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.
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1 Phillips, Clifton J. Indiana in Transition. Indiana Historical Bureau. Indianapolis, 1968.