The Industrial Revolution was a period of development in the 18th and 19th centuries. The revolution transformed the European as well as American societies that were agrarian in nature into urban and industrialized ones.
Britain-A Center of Industrial Revolution
The early industries in Britain were small-scale and unsophisticated. In fact, the textile industry, the most prominent industry in Britain was a “cottage industry.” In the early 1700s, industrial development was very slow because of limited sources of power. Old technologies of power like waterwheels, windmills, and horsepower were the only sources available.
With a large number of spinners, dyers, and weavers in England, the country became the center of the industrial revolution.
Innovations in the 18th and 19th Centuries
In the mid-eighteenth century, several innovations were made that brought about major changes in the manner in which the industries in England operated. Changes in steam technology and the invention of the steam engine changed how the industry was powered.
The introduction of the steam engine allowed steam power to be used across different industries in Britain including paper, flour, cotton mills, ironworks, distilleries, and waterworks. The use of steam engines improved the quality of metals and also enabled the industries to get the most essential raw material coal quickly and efficiently.
The next big innovation was the power loom that changed the face of the textile industry. The use of power loom enabled the production of cheap and light cloth in a large quantity. Additionally, the availability of constant power allowed the industry to work for longer hours stably to enhance productivity.
Despite the technological advancement, the factories remained places where accidents frequently took place. The factories also employed children and the workers were required to abide by strict disciplinary practices.
Another major improvement was in the transport system used in Britain. With the help of steam engines and new techniques for road-building, the road and rail networks during the industrial revolution underwent major changes. The improvement in the transport system reduced the traveling time. Communication was also improved with the invention of railroad signaling as well as the telegraphy system.
Impacts of Industrial Revolution
The industrial revolution brought about major changes in the economic and social aspects. Some of the major impacts were:
- The adoption of the factory system wherein manufacturing was concentrated in large and centralized establishments.
- The use of water and steam power improved the power supply to the industries and mechanized the processes of cloth weaving.
- The wealth was widely distributed and this increased international trade.
- Cities grew larger, but these were usually dirty.
- Managerial hierarchies were developed to oversee the work in factories and the concept of division of labor was introduced.
- The population in urban areas increased as more and more people moved to cities to earn a living.
- With increased production, the products became cheaper to buy and the factory owners became the rich strata of society.
- The establishment of laws to protect factory workers.
- Increased pollution and urban crowding.
The industrial revolution in many ways helped to shape the society that it is today and led to developments and innovations that are still used in the different nations of the world.
- The industrial revolution was an era in the 18th and 19th centuries that brought about a change in which the industries operated.
- The revolution began in Europe and later shifted to the United States.
- The inventions like steam power and steam engine improved the production capacity of the industries.
- Transport and communication systems improved during the industrial revolution.
- The industrial revolution improved the financial and social conditions of people.
Increased pollution and population were major cons of the industrial revolution.