The foundation of the industrial revolution was laid in the United Kingdom, and some of the most significant technological inventions were from Britain. The revolution took place in 1815 and continued till the next century. Steam power was a breakthrough in this revolution. The engine transformed water vapor thermal energy into mechanical energy. This invention revolutionized society like never before. The steam engine was mainly used in transportation and factories.
The use of the steam engine changed object manufacturing completely. These objects previously made in small workshops were now produced in big factories. For this reason, small workshops practically disappeared. This helped the economy to prosper. Steam engines were also used in transportation trade, commerce, and also long-distance traveling became more effortless. Freight trains could transport heavy cargo at a too high speed for that climb, almost 40 km/h. Steamships were a breakthrough because navigating wouldn’t have to depend on or be interrupted by weather conditions for the first time in history.
A brief history of industrial revolution
The Industrial Revolution began in England in the 18th century with James Watts’s steam engine. The idea was mainly to pump out water from the English iron and coal mines. And this artificial power rapidly converted to a driving force for the coming century. This invention was used in textile production, mining, iron smelting, and many other industrial quests in years to come.
The beginning of the 19th century witnessed yet another invention after the steam engine: railroads. The steam engines also directed the way to the invention of the first steamboats and then steamships. It made regular journeys across the ocean, radically decreasing the time taken to travel overseas. Many factors can be taken into consideration that leads to Industrial Revolution. However, there are three main factors to which this industrial age could be entrenched:
Coal was used to fire the steam engines and was produced in huge quantities in England. These mechanical devices and other machines were designed and forged out of iron. The vagaries that started in the Industrial Revolution never actually came to an end. The roots of this revolution dated back to thousand years ago.
The beginning of the industrial revolution has been labeled as the most significant occurrence in the history of humankind. Between 1840 and 1870, technology and economy progressed rapidly, embracing steam transport and mass production of machine tools. The usage of machines in factories was powered by steam. So, the first Industrial Revolution evolved to Second Industrial Revolution.
In 1837 Samuel Morris invented the Telegraph in Boston. This device enabled people to communicate over long distances. In addition, Morse created a code in which letters were represented by sound signals nowadays known as the Morse code. The first telegraph message from Washington DC to Baltimore was sent seven years later. Both cities were just 60 kilometers apart. Few years after that, telegraph lines connected the continents of America and Europe.
History speaks of the Iron Age, which began in 1000 B.C. when man carved weapons and tools of iron. The Iron Age sustains as we are still dependant on this essential metal. And the effects of the Industrial Revolution persist in amending modern economies, creating undulations in the industrialized world. The Industrial Revolution symbols a key turn-off in history.
Nearly every facet of day-to-day life was swayed in some way. In specific, average revenue and populace began to display extraordinary constant progress. Many economists say that the main effect of this revolution was that the standard of living for the overall people rose steadily for the first time in history. However, others say that it did not progress until the late 19th and 20th centuries evocatively.
At about the same time the Industrial Revolution was happening, Britain experienced an agricultural revolution, which expanded the standard of living. In the early 19th century, textile production in a mechanized way spread from Great Britain to Europe, France being the home to the most important centers. A vital iron manufacturing center established in Belgium, industrialization spread fast throughout the world since its inception.
The exact start and end date of the Industrial Revolution are still argued by historians, as is the stride of social and economic change. GDP per capita was approximately steady before the revolution. Also, the advent of the modern capitalist economy, whereas the capitalist economies witnessed an age of per capita economic growth in the capitalist economies.
During the many wars in the century, particularly the Seven Years War, Britain extended their control over many colonies across the seas. England’s main rival, France, lost control of Canada and India to the English mid-century. The English navy commanded powerful trading ships spread across the world. They faced many problems on various fronts. The population of the British Isles multiplied quickly, which led to a shortage of wood and cloth.
People replaced wood for coal and used wood to cook, heat the homes for smelting and blacksmithing. Huge demands for coal lead to extensive mining. Miners dug deep to supply the people with coal, and to find coal on the surface was no more possible. Deep mines posed a problem because water seeped in them, and something needed to be done to pump out the water from the mines.
The solution was soon invented: steam-powered pumps. These machines forced water out of the flooded coal mines, making it mineable again. Earlier the English used wood to smelt iron which they soon replaced with coal. First, they used charcoal to heat iron and to remove its carbon impurities. But later on, in the 18th century, these smelting industries started using coke. It was a greyish, hard substance produced when soft coal was heated in an air-tight oven which removed the coke gas and coal tar as the fuel for smelting iron. This expanded the business of coal mining in England.
Since Middle Ages, England was home to the wool trade. The English men raised sheep in their farms and spun thread, later turned into woolen clothes and garments. The growing population now required clothes and to overcome this shortage. Many new machines took over the old system of cloth production.
When the English expanded their trade to Egypt and India, they were introduced to a new material: cotton. There were thousands of women who worked on spinning wool and now cotton. But since the requirement was too much, they lagged in mass production.
The old ways of using the spinning wheel could not keep up with the demand. Two things required more quantity and better quality, for which two things were needed good machines and to build faster. These setups required bigger space and more extensive facilities. And it led to the establishment of factories which was also the result of the Metal Revolution.
Revolution of metal industry
Once coal replaced wood and other natural fuels, there came a drastic revolution in the metal industries. When given a certain amount of heat, coal needed less labor in mining than chopping wood and turning it into charcoal. Coal was naturally obtainable in plentiful. Coal gained its importance in 1678 when Sir Clement Clerke. And a few other inventors started using it in reverberatory furnaces called cupolas. These cupolas were operated by controlling flames on the charcoal, coke mixture, and ore, which reduced the oxide to metal.
The advantage of using this mechanism was that the impurities like sulfur ash did not combine with the metal. The same technology was later applied to smelt lead and copper in 1678 and 1687, respectively. Later in 1709, Abraham Darby successfully fuelled his blast furnaces at Coalbrookdale with coke. The coke iron that he manufactured was used to make cast-iron products like kettles and pots. He had patented his cast and hence had an advantage over his rivals. Because the pots Darby manufactured were thinner and cheaper compared to his competitor’s products.
Darby’s sons established two furnaces at Ketley and Horsehay, who produced bar iron in the mid-1750s. Coke pig iron was now cheaper than charcoal pig iron. Since the iron cast was also affordable and was available in plenty, it was used as materials to build new structures like the Iron Bridge of 1778. The ironsmiths still used the finery forges to make daily consumer products from the bar iron. But with time, new procedures were developed and implemented in the years to come.
The earlier methods were potting and stamping, which were later modified by Henry Cort’s pudding process. The court made two important iron-producing processes:
- In 1783, he developed the rolling process, and in 1784, he made the puddling process.
To consolidate wrought iron and remove scum, hammering was replaced by rolling. It was about 15 times faster than hammering. Initially, the rolling mills were used to make sheets, but later on, the process was used to roll structural shapes like rails and angles. The pig iron was decarburized using slow oxidation. And iron ore was used as a source of oxygen. As it was stirred manually with the help of a long rod, the process was known as puddling. Decarburized iron has a higher melting point compared to cast iron. So it was scraped into blobs by the puddler, and once the blob was big enough, the puddler removed it.
It was not easy to puddle in such high temperatures in the reverberatory furnace. And there were only some puddlers who made it to the age of 40. Puddling was used till the 19th century when steel was slowly taking the place of iron. The puddling process could never be mechanized as it needed the skills of a human to sense the iron blobs.
Till mid 17th century, the British iron manufacturers used substantial quantities of iron. It was imported to add on the local provisions, which mostly came from Sweden and Russia. Later in 1785, they stopped importing iron from the countries.
The most important development of the 19th century was the hot blast made and patented by James Beaumont Neilson. The process saved energy in the process of making pig iron. The combustion air was preheated by using waste exhaust heat. So the quantity of fuel required to make one unit of pig iron was decreased by around one-third. If coal was using and two-thirds of coke was used, the effectiveness increased every time the technology was bettered.
Hot blasts kept the temperatures of the furnaces high and helped in growing their capacity. The lesser the coke or coal was used, the fewer impurities were present in the pig iron. This also meant that anthracite or lower-quality coal could be used in places where coking could not be done. Or the process was too expensive to be performed.
Nevertheless, by the end of the 19th century, transportation costs fell extensively. About twenty years before the Industrial Revolution laid its foundations, the production of steel. An expensive commodity that was improved and used to make products like springs and cutting edge tools as iron couldn’t be used to make such commodities.
In the 1740s, Benjamin Huntsman developed a crucible steel technique that uses blister steel as raw material made by the cementation process. Inexpensive steel and iron helped many industries like nails, wire, hinges, and hardware products. Improvement in the machine tools made it easy to work with iron because it was used to make machines and engine industries.
Revolution of textiles industries
For years England was the spearhead in the making and extension of the Industrial Revolution. There are some important reasons why England’s sudden shift; from being dependent on agriculture to increased industrialization.
For example, in the 1700s, Britain was led by parliamentarians and ministers who reacted compassionately to commerce, trade, and industrial expansion. Their lands were rich with raw materials such as coal, iron ore and human labor was cheap. Many financial institutions like banks and lending houses helped raise capital to purchase steam engines, make factories, construct mills, and employ workers. Moreover, England had many overseas markets. They had to be ready with products used for trading like coal, iron, textiles, or any other things.
One of the causes of the Industrial Revolution was originated in the textile industry. When cotton material was introduced to England in the 1600s, it completely changed, producing cotton thread and cotton materials. There were a series of improvements and creations that brought about the change.
An English weaver John Kay from Lancashire invented the flying shuttle in 1733. In which a handloom could be operated by a single person instead of two. However, the mass was not entirely happy with the invention as they thought the new machine could leave many people unemployed. The angry crowd attacked Kay’s home and demolished it. Kay’s flying shuttle took time to gain recognition, which helped improve the production speed of a single weaver. But the one-person loom needed thread from four to five spinners to keep a loom worker busy.
In 1765, a carpenter from Lancashire, James Hargreaves, invented the spinning machine that could spin eight threads at a time. He named the machine “Jenny” after his wife.” He patented his new invention in 1770. Slowly the number of threads that a spinning machine could produce increased to 100, however. The cloth worker’s reception of such new inventions was slow. Hargreaves, too, faced the same consequences as Kay. His house was attacked, and his newly invented spinning jenny was burned.
These beautiful devices transformed the cotton thread industry. The spinners were now spinning around 20000 spinning jennies by 1778. This machine cut down the working hours which were spent in spinning thread and yarn. Earlier, one had to work for 1000 hours to make about 22 pounds of cotton thread. In comparison, the spinning jenny brought down the spinning hours to 400 and with further improvements. It came down to just 20 hours!
Lancashire seemed to be home to many inventors. In 1769, Richard Arkwright, a barber from the same place, held the patent to water-frame. These rollers were powered by water which was used with spindles to produce coarse but strong thread. Some years later, Samuel Crompton, a tinkerer from Lancashire, produced fine and strong cotton thread by combining Hargreaves spinning and Arkwright’s water frame. They called it Spinning Mule. These machines brought about a revolution in the textile industry to the extent that the English. They were spinning about 8 million pounds of thread in 1770 started spinning 37 million pounds of cotton by 1790.
The quantity kept increasing, and in 1815, the English reached the 100 million pound mark. And by 1850, the English weavers boasted of spinning around 250 million pounds of cotton. Edmund Cartwright had built two factories, both of which were destroyed by his workers and burned down. Cartwright’s machine design had many faults, especially thread breaks. In 1813 Samuel Horrocks patented a better loom which proved to be fairly good and was successful too.
Richard Roberts bettered his loom in 1822, and Roberts, Hill & Co. manufactured these looms were manufactured in huge numbers. The increasing demand for cotton was a good prospect for the planters of Southern United States if they could remove the seed with ease.
Steam engine revolution
What drove the Industrialization age was primarily to exploit a natural source of power? It was steam! The innovative minds of the ancient ages also understood the marvelous power of steam. In A.D 60, a Greek tinkerer, Hero of Alexandria, made a small machine of metal spheres with sprouting jets and was mounted on the center shaft. When the water in the sphere was heated using fire, the ball moved when steam spurted out of the jets. It cannot be called a perfect device as it did not serve any cause. It was more like a toy, and the rudimentary device was named aeolipile.
The device was built many years later, but it was for a specific purpose this time. Increased demands of coal required the English to dig deeper into mines which drove water in them. To get rid of this problem, these devices were used to pump out the water. The deeper the mines more acute the problem became. When the water problems were closer to the earth’s surface were solved by using horse gins. It was the short word for the engine.
The method involved horses who walked in circles with a massive drum tied to a pulley and a bucket. Since the mines were now deep, the horse gins could not solve this problematic situation. So a new technology was required.
Thomas Savery, a British citizen, came to the rescue for this problem. In 1698 he invented a low-power steam engine that functioned as a pump. The water pump that was branded by the name Miners Friend produced around one horsepower. And it was put to work for many water-related works and coal mines. For minor horsepower ranges-related jobs. Savery’s pump was very cost-effective but was susceptible to the explosion of its boiler for large horsepower ranges.
These pumps were sustained in the market till late in the 18th century till an English metal. And iron salesman Thomas Newcomen built his piston steam engine in 1712 in the Midlands near Dudley Castle near Coalbrookdale. The engines were productively used in the deep mines, which were blocked by water. Since these engines were kept on the surface, they were huge, needed a lot of investment to be built, and produced five horsepower.
If we look at the machine from our perspective, it was incompetent as per our modern standards. But if they were set on pit heads where the coal was cheap, it gave way to deep coal mining. Despite a few disadvantages, the engines of Newcomen were easy to maintain and dependable too. Hence they continued to provide their services to the coal mines till the early 19th century.
By the time Newcomen died, his work had spread far and wide, beginning with Hungary, Austria, Sweden, and Germany. According to the records, an aggregate of 110 engines was built by 1733 after the joint patent expired, and 14 of which were abroad. Within years an engineer, John Smeaton, built many large and improved engines. And the total number of engines built reached 1,454 by 1800.
James Watt from Scotland brought about an essential variation in the operating principles. Englishman Matthew Boulton had almost perfected his steam engine by 1778, which assimilated many essential enhancements. The most noticeable thing was that the upper part of the cylinder was sealed off, enabling the low-pressure steam engine to drive the top of the piston in place of the atmosphere. There was a separate chamber for the condenser and the usage of a steam jacket.
The cooling water, inserted right into the cylinder to cool it and was used to waste steam, was removed because of a separate condenser. The inclusion of a steam jacket retained the steam from condensing in the cylinder. It also improved the competence of the engine. The better ways and processes that had now been integrated into the steam engine by Watts and Boulton. It was used just 20 to 25 percent as much coal per horsepower per hour than Newcomen’s engine.
Watts and Boulton manufactured such engines in the Soho Foundry, which was established in 1795. By 1800, the Watts steam engine could straight away drive the rotary machinery of a mill or a factory. It had been completely transformed into a double-acting rotative type. Watts engines were profitable and popular. Boulton & Watts had made 496 engines, 24 serving blast furnaces, 164 driving pumps, and 308 powering mill machinery. Almost all the engines produced 5 to 10 horsepower!
Many metal machinery tools played an essential role in making these powerful engines. Engine planning, milling, lathe, and shaping machines were power-driven by these engines, enabling the accurate cutting of the metal parts. The steam engine design until 1800 was based on a beam engine, made as an essential part of a brick or stone engine house. But soon, many different outlines of a self-sufficient rotative engine were produced like the table engine. At the beginning of the 19th century, Richard Trevithick, a Cornish engineer, and an American, Oliver Evans, built non-condensing high-pressure steam engines, fatiguing against the atmosphere. The engines were solid enough and could work on rail locomotives, mobile roads, and steamboats.
Machine tools revolution
The many machines that were being developed increasingly required machinery to cut metal parts. Some small tools were developed earlier by the watch and other small instrument repairers. Before machine tools were invented, many hand tools were used, like files, scrapers, hammers, chisels, and saws. Metal was hardly used, and the wood products would split or crack with weather changes.
With the revolution, metal frames and parts became famous and had soaring high prices because of the hard labor to achieve meticulousness. Many artisans gave their inputs by crafting windmills and wooden frames etc. The first big machine tool build was the cylinder boring machine used to bore the large-diameter cylinders on the earlier built steam engines. The planning, shaping, and milling machines followed.
In the early parts of the 19th century Joseph Bramah an inventor and locksmith who had patented a lathe similar to that of a slide rest lathe hired Henry Maudslay to produce high-security metal locks, which required meticulous workmanship. Maudslay was a perfectionist in the slide rest lathe, which could perfectly cut screws with various thread pitches using variable gears between the lead screw and the spindle. Later on, Maudslay set up his shop and trained many men on this machine.
John Roebuck has been credited with producing the first chemical sulphuric acid, which he did use the lead chamber process in 1746. He replaced the expensive glass containers with compartments made of lead and produced large quantities, around 100 pounds. Production of alkali and sodium carbonate followed, which was produced by Nicholas Leblanc in 1791. He also introduced the Leblanc process in which sodium chloride was reacted with sulphuric acid to produce hydrochloric acid and sodium sulfate.
Sodium carbonate had many uses in industries like soap, paper, textile, and glass. Earlier sulphuric acid was used to remove rust from iron and to bleach clothes. Based on the discoveries of Claude Louis in 1800, Charles Tennant improved the production of bleaching powder. Earlier, the process had required months which he now reduced to days.
His factory at North Glasgow had become the biggest chemical factory in the world. Later in the 1860s, Germans took the lead in producing dye and had many ambitious chemists rushed to Germany to learn the procedure. British did not set up any universities as an alternative, just employed German chemists.
Revolution in other trades
Cement: A British, Joseph Aspdin, patented portland cement in 1824. The portland cement was used to construct the London sewerage system and the Thames tunnel.
Gas Lighting: William Murdoch was the person who brought in this revolution, and in London, between 1812 and 1820, the first gas lighting utilities were set up. Gaslighting played a crucial role in industrial organizations as because of light, the factories and other sets up could remain open for a longer time.
Paper Machine: Nicholas Louis Robert invented a machine that made continuous sheets of paper, and the machine was named Fourdrinier. This method of paper production is still used by today, although there have been many alternations made to it.
Glass Making: In 1832, Lucas and William Chance (Chance Brothers) first used the cylinder to make glass sheets. The continuous sheets of glass helped in planning many interiors freely.
Agriculture: The primary machines that helped agriculture were the Dutch plough, threshing machine, and seed drill. In 1701 a better seed drill was invented by Jethro Tull, but it was an expensive machine. Joseph Foljambe Rotherham made the first marketable plough in 1730, and Andrew Meikle made the threshing machine in 1784. The threshing machine bought about riots and revolts as manual threshing required a lot of labor, many laborers lost jobs and caused the agricultural rebellion Swing Riots.
Transportation: The turnpike road network, railway lines, waterways, and canals were all improved because of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. It was now easy to move products, commodities, and raw materials speedily, quickly, and lower. Better transportation helped new ideas to spread across fast.
Canals: The first canal Bridgewater Canal in North West England, was built in the 18th century, and most of the funds came from the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. Many canals followed soon. And Thames, Severn Canal, Leeds, Liverpool canal were the most noticeable ones on the list. Later on, Manchester Ship Canal was the largest canal globally and was inaugurated in the year 1894.
Roads & Railways: Before the revolution could start, roads were not properly kept. And later on, after 1720, turnpike trusts were set up to maintain the roads. John McAdam, Thomas Telford, and John Metcalf were responsible for engineering the streets. They did not disappoint their fellow countrymen. The first steam-run public railways began in 1825 with Stockton and Darlington Railway. In 1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railways were opened for the public. Railways took pace in 1829 when a hot blast was developed earlier, which lessened the fuel intake of making iron.
Industrial Revolution was a roller coaster in the lives of those who witnessed it. However, the changes were for good in the long term. Many suffered modern machinery and inventions of various machines and products. The cottage industry was practically applicable in every home, where a farmer and his family mainly produced goods themselves.
The spinning jenny was reasonably priced and could be afforded, but the products which replaced it were costly. And the only thing a man could do was get a job in the factory. The factory laborers were poorly paid. It was not until the late 1980’s that the standard of living for the common masses improved. Most of the population constituted of the poorer class who endured many declines in their standards of living.
The wages were increased only by 15% in the late 1780s. Many died of hunger and malnutrition in France and Britain, and on average, people lived only for about 35 years. This was because of the increasing population with the Industrial Revolution, things became cheaper, and food prices were decreased.
People during these times lived in extremes. Factory owners had beautiful houses, whereas the laborers of the factories did not even have a proper enclosed home that lacked sanitation facilities. People shared small rooms and slept on sawdust. Unhygienic situations gave rise to many diseases. And many diseases were caused by water, like typhoid and cholera, which were common among the children. Conditions improved only in the 19th century when many health regulations were followed, and conditions improved.
Industrial revolution in other countries
Many countries have been active participants in this revolution. However, it all started with Great Britain, which slowly moved to America, Europe, and the rest of the continent. Great Britain Heads the Way Earlier. The English had become one the most powerful nations of the world. Early in the 18th century, overseas trade made Britain a wealthy country.
Traditional rural living way of life and the countryside owned by the aristocracy lose their importance during the industrial revolution. In urban class emerges the Bruges Ozzie. These were the factory owners who had become wealthy peasants who were now forming the so-called proletariat. Wage-earners worked in the factories for very little money. They were poor, and their working conditions were dreadful. But a century went by, and workers started trade unions and worker associations that helped improve their situation.
Only some parts of the British inventions were ado. Ted was in many situations as their locally available resources were different from the English. There were many mining areas build in Liege and Charleroi. John Cockerill set up a factory in Seraing which had all the processes from production to supply.
Historians have also stated many iron-making developments, especially in Sambre, Haine, and Meuse Valleys. The revolution was considered to be quite traditional. It didn’t affect most of the population except those situated near the coal mining and iron-making areas.
Unite States of America (USA)
While other countries were experiencing Industrialization, America continued to be an agricultural economy. Railways, roads, waterways, and canals were essential to moving the agricultural products and the natural, especially in a vast but thinly populated country. America saw Industrial Revolution with the invention of the cotton gin and a method of making interchangeable parts.
The invention of machine tools and the making of interchangeable parts lay the foundations for the industrial revolution. Oliver Evans made an automatic four mill that required no labor from loading the grain to the flour discharge.
Later in 1787, Cabot Brothers and Thomas Somers found the biggest cotton mill’s Beverly Cotton Manufactory. The American industrial revolution was set on the banks of the Blackstone River. And its tributaries and around 1100 mills functioned in this valley.
In 1854 Waltham Watch Company, situated in Waltham in Massachusetts, was recognized to bring industrialization in the watch industry. Samuel Slater set up the Slater Mill in 1793. He mastered his skills from Derbyshire in England and moved to New York. In 1789, he later owned 13 textile mills after founding the Slater Mill by breaking the British laws of skilled workers’ emigration.
The Germans were excellent chemists, and they flourished in their chemistry. People flocked from all over to study in their universities and learn the new ways of dye. Earlier because of a lack of unity, the Germans lagged in building efficient roads and railways. But Britain’s rapid development buckled them up, and they were soon constructing railways and roads.
Sweden experienced two revolutions, simultaneously the agriculture revolution and the industrial revolution. They had large estates, new farming tools, and crops and developed a system of proto-industrialization where the farmers could grow their crops. And when they were free after the harvest in the winters, they could move to the industries to earn wages.
The industrial revolution focused on their local markets, circling on paper making, textiles, mechanical engineering, and power utilities. The country prospered with trade and commerce when they opened the gates for free business and exported wood, steel, and crops.
The leaders from the Meiji period helped in bringing about an industrial revolution in Japan in 1870. They sent thousands of youngsters to Europe and the United States to learn their ways and employed over 3,000 experts from the western world to learn their language, technology, mathematics, and modern science. The Iwakura Mission of Japan was a breakthrough in their revolution, and Japan quickly caught up with the others.
In 1882, the Bank of Japan was founded and used taxes to set up textile factories and model steel. Japan’s first modern industries came up in textiles which comprised cotton and the famous silk. Silk was made in many workshops, which were at home, mainly in the rural areas. History has experienced much turmoil, and revolution has contributed much to it. This phase saw the most intelligent people who set base to modern machines, tools, and techniques that we use.
Effects & causes of industrial revolution
In late 1700, most people worked in the fields on land they did not own. Those who owned the aristocrats’ land lived refined lives, an elegant manor, houses servants, raised their children, and did their housework. The landowners and the people who worked for them depended upon each other. It was a system that had existed for centuries. In towns across England and the United States, a series of extraordinary innovations would alter the way people lived and worked for the next 150 years. Inventors had found new ways to harness nature’s energy. They built new kinds of machines powered by water, steam, and coal. The new machines replaced hand power tools. They did the same work, only cheaper and faster.
Much of the work was done outside the home in specially designed buildings. Mechanization began in England’s textile mills, where one machine attached to a spinning wheel could do the work of 50 people, fuel, clothing, and food all became more affordable. With the development of locomotives and steamboats, manufactured goods could now be sold halfway around the world. Families moved from the villages of their ancestors to new industrial towns. And a new class of people emerged workers who produced goods.
Industrialists, the people who owned the factories, employed hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. And they made enormous profits in their industrial centers. But while the industrial revolution brought wealth to some and jobs for others, it came with a price tag. Pollution from coal-powered factories turned the city’s black. Lack of housing created the first urban slums. And the demand for more and more goods and higher profits brought the exploitation of workers, including children. Some of the worst conditions were seen in the textile mills of New England.
It was the hiring of children, some as young as five years old. Workers throughout the eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds outraged the public. Workers and reformers protested. They formed unions and associations and fought for government regulations to limit the workday and protect children. These laws helped address many of the abuses brought on by the Industrial Revolution.
Historians have varied opinions about the industrial revolution, which cannot be summed up easily. Capitalism was caused when science was on its boom and developments that brought about an upgrade in society. The machines helped the people to work with ease and provided jobs to everyone in the factories. It led to an increase in wealth, and only the adults worked while the children and adults were free.
Socialism came up as an evaluation of capitalism. According to Karl Marx Industrial Revolution divided society into two:
- Bourgeoisie was who possessed the means of production, the land, and the factories.
- The other was the proletariat, the laborers who performed the factories under the bourgeoisie.
He saw the industrialization procedure as the rational dialectical development of feudal economic modes, essential for the complete growth of capitalism, which he saw as a required predecessor to the growth of socialism and, ultimately, communism.
The debate can be endless; however, it can be concluded that the industrial revolution was a significant era. And humankind is still evolving with those fundamental principles of inventions which took place during that period. Today we are in the middle of another revolution, a technological revolution. We live in a global village because we can connect with people worldwide as if they lived next door. And we can now work any time and anywhere. We will have to wait and see where this new revolution leads.
Strayer, Robert W. Ways of the World: A Brief Global History. Vol. II: Since 1500, Ch. 18: “Revolutions of Industrialization, 1750–1914.”
Uglow, Jenny. The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
Allen, Robert C. The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Marks, Robert B. The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.