Key Features of the Industrial Revolution
- Population shift – moving from rural agriculture to work in factories in cities.
- Mass production of goods, increased efficiency, reduced average costs and enabled more to be produced.
- The rise of steam power, e.g. steam trains, railways and steam-powered machines. Industrial and scientific discoveries enabled a revolution in our understanding of the material world.
- Rapid industrialisation had a cost in terms of pollution and poor working conditions for labour.
The First Industrial Revolution (from Britannica)
|From Biographyonline.net: “The first stage of the Industrial Revolution (1770-1870) – Centred on steam, water, iron and shift from agriculture.“|
|From Britannica, ” In the period 1760 to 1830 the Industrial Revolution was largely confined to Britain. Aware of their head start, the British forbade the export of machinery, skilled workers, and manufacturing techniques. The British monopoly could not last forever, especially since some Britons saw profitable industrial opportunities abroad, while continental European businessmen sought to lure British know-how to their countries. Two Englishmen, William and John Cockerill, brought the Industrial Revolution to Belgium by developing machine shops at Liège (c. 1807), and Belgium became the first country in continental Europe to be transformed economically. Like its British progenitor, the Belgian Industrial Revolution centred in iron, coal, and textiles.”|
The Second Industrial Revolution (from Britannica)
|From biographyonline.net, ‘The second stage of Industrial Revolution (1870-1914) – The second stage of Industrial Revolution (1870-1914) – New technologies of electricity, development of petrol engine, oil, and greater use of cheap steel. .”|
|From Britannica, “Despite considerable overlapping with the “old,” there was mounting evidence for a “new” Industrial Revolution in the late 19th and 20th centuries. In terms of basic materials, modern industry began to exploit many natural and synthetic resources not hitherto utilized: lighter metals, rare earths, new alloys, and synthetic products such as plastics, as well as new energy sources. Combined with these were developments in machines, tools, and computers that gave rise to the automatic factory. Although some segments of industry were almost completely mechanized in the early to mid-19th century, automatic operation, as distinct from the assembly line, first achieved major significance in the second half of the 20th century.”|
American Industrial Revolution
|From ThoughtCo, ” The American Industrial Revolution began in the years and decades following the end of the Civil War. As the nation re-solidified its bonds, American entrepreneurs were building on the advancements made in Britain. In the coming years, new forms of transportation, innovations in the industry, and the emergence of electricity would transform the nation in much the same way the U.K. had transformed into an earlier era.”|
| The Colonial Era: Cotton Gin, Interchangeable Parts, and Electricity|
From ThoughtCo, “Although the American Industrial Revolution wouldn’t take full effect until the middle of the 1800s, one colonial innovator did make his mark upon the young nation.
In 1794, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, which made the separation of cotton seeds from fiber much faster. The South increased its cotton supply, sending raw cotton north to be used in the manufacture of cloth. Francis C. Lowell increased the efficiency in cloth manufacture by bringing the spinning and weaving processes together into one factory. This led to the development of the textile industry throughout New England.
Whitney also came up with the idea to use interchangeable parts in 1798 to make muskets. If standard parts were made by machine, then they could be assembled at the end much more quickly. This became an important element of American industry and the second Industrial Revolution.
Another innovator and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, was busy experimenting with electricity during this era, which resulted in the invention of the lightning rod. At the same time, Michael Faraday in the U.K. was studying electromagnetism, which would lay the foundation for modern electrical motors.”
| 1800-1820: Transportation and Expansion |
From ThoughtCo,, “The young U.S. wasted no time expanding westward following independence. The nation’s westward expansion in the 1800s was aided in no small part by its vast network of rivers and lakes. In the early decades of the century, the Erie Canal created a route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, thereby helping stimulate the economy of New York and making New York City a great trading center.”