21 October 2012
The First Industrial Revolution
With the production of new machines that replaced wind and water with coal and steam, Industrialization required a different way to organize the way work was being done. Industrialization also spread to various countries at different times and speeds during the nineteenth century. The Industrial Revolution triggered a huge leap in industrial production. There were technological and human labor changes, an impact on the working and middle classes, and also social impacts on the population growth and on urbanization. These are only a few reasons why the Industrial Revolution had such a big impact on America. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain and then spread to continental countries like Europe and the United States sometime after 1750, and it ended around 1850. The goal of the Industrial Revolution was to ultimately industrialize Britain. As well as improving agriculturally, Britain experienced a rapid population growth that provided a pool of surplus labor for the new factories of the emerging industry. Britain had a great supply of capital, and an effective central bank. Although Britain had an ample supply of mineral resources, their government too played an important role in the process of industrialization. Overall, the most significant factor leading to Britain’s success was their ability to produce the most demanded items cheaply. However, their methods of production weren’t up to par so manufacturers came up with other ways to speed up production. These creations started the Industrial Revolution. In order to produce more efficiently there had to be changes within the textile industry. In 1760 James Watt built a steam powered engine that pumped water from mines three times as quickly as engines previously created. This invention allowed for more coal to be recovered from the mines. In 1782, James invented a rotary engine that turned shafts and ultimately powered machinery. Using steam power with the spinning and cotton weaving machines, cotton mills and steam engines were multiplying all over Britain. Cotton was now Britain’s most important product in value. In 1787, Edmund Cartwright invented a “loom” that was powered by water. It was a more efficient way of bringing in workers to organize these machines in factories since these workplaces were located next to rivers and streams. There was a higher level of productivity within the cotton industry thanks to the steam engine. By 1840, about 370 million pounds of cotton were being imported and cotton goods were sold all over the world. The British iron industry was also transformed during the Industrial Revolution. A higher quality of iron was formed once a man named Henry Cort developed a new system. This system was called “puddling” where coke derived from coal, was used to burn impurities out of crude iron to produce a better quality of iron and thus, causing a big boom in the British iron industry.(Duiker) This newer quality of iron was used to create new machines and even brand new industries. Richard Trevithick worked on the first locomotive powered by steam. His ambition caused others to look into making better engines and locomotives. George Stephenson and his son made a “rocket” that was named superior than any other locomotives. This rocket was used on the first public railway line that stretched from Liverpool to Manchester. Within twenty years, Britain had almost six thousand miles of railroads. The railroad was significant to the success of the Industrial Revolution because it created new job opportunities specifically for farmers or peasants. The most important aspect was that there was now a cheaper and faster way to travel. As the prices of goods dropped, markets grew and increased sales meant more factories and more machinery, thereby reinforcing the self-sustaining aspect of the Industrial Revolution—a development that marked a fundamental break with...
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