Industrial Revolution

Transition to new manufacturing process in Great Britain , central Europe , and the United States occurred in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840.

The main changes were in New chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power , the development of machine tools and in the rise of mechanized factory system.

The economic developments of the 1800s saw the development of agrarian and handicraft economies in Europe and America , and transformed it into industrial urbanized ones .

The term to describe this phenomenon would be known as the ” Industrial Revolution ” and was first used by French writers , but made popular by English economic historian Arnold Toynbee.

Unprecedented rise in population and in the rate of population growth was the immidiate effect.

Britain became a ‘ Workshop to the world ‘ – and made such a big difference to the modern world.

The industrial revolution changed England and world forever.

From the mid 18th century to the mid 19th century agricultural production increased significantly . The huge increase in farming supported the expansion and sustain the large population and boosted trade. The increased use of machines over humanely and animal power and farming also meant that less farm work needed and they would leads the farms to industrial towns.

Factory System : Under this system, the centre of production shifted from home to factory. The workers, for the first time now, travelled from home to work-sites on daily basis. They for the first time aggregated in such large numbers under a shed working on machines. The capital was owned by the Capitalists and the worker was just another factor of production and the capitalist was the owner.

The Revolution started with revolution in the textile industry, saw mechanization of textile industry, which was previously manufactured in the home, early the term “Cottage Industry”. Now production could be increased on a large scale because of new inventions, such as the spinning mule and the power loom.

Steam Power : The most significant invention was development of Steam Engine by James Watt in 1769. Steam Engines gave a big boost to production of goods and consequently led to huge increase in demand for raw materials.

Revolution in Iron production : Another revolution was in iron production. The iron industry developed with Henry bessemer’s inexpensive process for mass-producing steel.By the development of Blast furnaces, which allowed for use of coke instead of charcoal, this allowed the British steel industry to produce high-grade cast iron instead of just the pig iron. Iron and steel were key materials for constructing the tools in machinery, steam engines, and ships needed for the industrial progress. Ultimately led to increased and cheaper mechanization of all industrial processes. The steam power had led to demand for more machinery and England had huge deposits of iron and coal to make steal.

The steam engine , was the integral machine to industrialization with powered factories, locomotives and ships. The new steam engines used coal and iron both in the construction and as fuel, increasing the demands for these recourses.

Roads, canals and road ways changed dramatically connecting Britain and allowing goods to be sent over long distances.

Visually the revolution was clear in the new industrial towns with smoking factories dominating the skylines. The cities were horrible to live in . Overcrowded , dirty, dangerous with factory conditions.

It took place between about 1700 and 1900, and- so the simple explanation goes – it turned Britain into a tooled-up, factory -powered ‘ workshop of the world’. But there was plenty more to industrial revolution than just factories and machines.

It certainly didn’t happen overnight , and its root go even further back than 1700.

Many historians reckon the Industrial Revolution was not just one revolution , but a series of revolutions. A bit like a complicated machine : It had lots of different moving parts, and each of these parts was like its own revolution.

New revolutionary technologies and inventions meant that products could be made by machines rather than by hands.

Why Industrial Revolution first in England ? The events in England before 1750 set such conditions, which were favourable towards Industrial Revolution. The rise of capitalism after the end of Feudalism was crucial for industrial Revolution. This was so because with capitalism came the desire to make more monetary profits, which could be achieved by developing new ways to produce more goods at lower costs. There was demands for manufactured goods due to the new ways of life in the growing towns and cities.

Moving outside of Britain

Industrial labor opportunities drew people to the cities from the country side-

To such an extent that in 1750 only 15% of the population of Britain lived in towns.

By 1850, over 50% of the entire population of Great Britain lived in either a town or a city, and by 1900 it was 85%.London-4.5 million people,Glasgow-7,60,000 people,Manchester and Birmingham – 5,00,000 people each.

Great Britain was the birth place of the industrial revolution, and was the only mature industrial economy for a long time. Historians have speculated that this was because as an island there was relative peace and stability for Britain compared to mainland Europe.

Rather than spending on a large defensive standing army, capital could be spent on other ventures, and there was confidence for investors. Native resources were also respected and encouraged in British society, and were backed by wealthy patrons. A powerful navy and an empire bringing in vast wealth from its colonies also contributed to the catalyst for industrialization before others.

Nevertheless Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the ‘United States’ soon emulated Britain’s industrial change, and by 1900 Britain would no longer be at the top, with the United States as the World’s leading industrial nation in the 20th century.

The Slave Trades and Effects

The slave trade and the expansion of Britain’s colonies in the Americas also played a part in the Industrial Revolution.

British traders sold manufactured goods in West Africa , in return for enslaved Africans.

They were transported across the Atlantic to work on plantations that grew sugar and tobacco , and these were exported back to Britain.

This ‘ triangular trade ‘ fueled manufacturing in Britain and created enormous profits for wealthy Brits, with some of that money helping to fund new inventions, new infrastructure and new country houses.

But its important to remember that some of the money invested in industry came directly from a system that destroyed the lives of millions of African people , and impoverished Africa for generations to come.

Britain did abolish slavery in its own colonies in 1834, but even by 1860, England’s massive cotton textile industry was entirely reliant on cotton produced by 3 million enslaved Africans in the American South.

After effects of Industrial Revolution.

But the gap between rich and the poor widened, and quality of life didn’t improve for everyone.

Many skilled workers lost their jobs to machines, and factory workers endured dangerous conditions, six-day weeks , and 12 to 14 hour shifts.

In Industrial areas in the early 19th Century, the average age for children starting work was just eight and a half. It wasn’t until later in the century that children under 10 were banned from working in factories.

Towns and cities were breeding grounds for diseases. Life expectancy was around 30 to 33 in Urban areas until 1850, but 10 years more in country side.

Poor nutrition meant that the average height of British workers actually fell in the first half of the 19th century.

Campaigners tried to improve the lots of the working classes , eventually securing advances like free education , restrictions on child labor, improved sanitation and better working conditions .

Some industrialists made large donations to charities , or built new , modern towns for their workers.

But despite protests , many working people were denied the right to vote throughout this period , and reforms were almost always had won.

Ultimately , the industrial revolution was a time of great upheaval.

By the early 20th century , it had changed the people , the landscape and the politics of England beyond all recognition. in so many ways , it made the modern world.

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