The Almanac consists of 8 chapters, approximately 60 black-and-white photographs, sources for further study, a time line, a glossary, and an index. The first four chapters focus on England, where the first phase of the Industrial Revolution (1750-1850) was dominated by the coal-driven steam engine and textile machines. The last four chapters focus on the second phase, which occurred mainly in the U.S and continental Europe, from 1850 to 1940, and was driven by the internal combustion engine and electricity.
The 25 essays in Biographies provide biographical information with an emphasis on each person's contribution or impact on the Industrial Revolution. Personages include economic philosophers (such as Karl Marx and Adam Smith); innovators (Henry Ford, Robert Fulton, Eli Whitney); financial giants and robber barons (Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller); crusading journalists (Upton Sinclair and Ida Tarbell); and unionizer Mother Jones. More than 50 black-and-white photographs complement the text together with further reading, a time line, and index.
Primary Sources offers 27 full or excerpted documents, speeches, or testimony from the period. The documents are arranged in four thematic chapters with each entry including an introduction, "Things to Remember" while reading the document, definitions of difficult terms, and a follow-up of what happened after the document was published. Among the documents are excerpts from Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, letters from Luddites, newspaper accounts regarding the telegraph, and an excerpt from the U.S. Supreme Court decision Northern Secu rities Co. v. United States, 1904. Forty black-and-white photographs, sources for further reading, a time line, and an index round out the Primary Sources volume.