Industrial revolution – WorldAtlas
The Industrial Revolution was a period of history in the West that marked the transition from an agrarian economy to an industrialized economy. It was a period that ushered in the mass production of goods and the rapid urbanization of the population. The Industrial Revolution began in England in the second half of the 18e century, and lasted until the middle of the 19e century. This revolution also happened in the United States, although later, from the beginning of the 19e century and until the second half of the century. The Industrial Revolution marked the birth of the modern economy to which we are accustomed today.
Origins of the industrial revolution
The main impetus of the industrial revolution was the invention of steam power, or more precisely of the steam engine. Development of this revolutionary invention began in the early 1700s, when an English inventor by the name of Thomas Newcomen designed a prototype of the first modern steam engine. In the 1760s, Newcomen’s work was followed by Scottish engineer James Watt, who added a separate water condenser to one of Newcomen’s models, making it more efficient.
Watt later collaborated with Matthew Boulton, who would become one of the first industrialists of the Industrial Revolution. Together they invented a steam engine with rotary motion, which was the key innovation that enabled UK industry to harness the power of steam on a large scale. Among the industries to begin using steam engines was the coal mining industry. The steam engine allowed coal miners to go further to extract the precious resource, which would fuel much of the Industrial Revolution. Indeed, it was the coal that was used to power the steam engines, as well as the factories that produced goods in mass, and the steamboats and railways that transported these goods.
Improvements and innovations in transportation methods and infrastructure also helped spark the industrial revolution. For example, improvements to the UK road network and the construction of canals in the country made the movement of goods much easier. In addition, the advent of steam power has enabled the development of two key innovations in transportation: the locomotive and the steamboat. In 1830, locomotives carried freight and passengers between the English industrial hubs of Manchester and Liverpool. At the same time, steamboats were used to transport goods along British rivers and canals and across the Atlantic Ocean.
The second industrial revolution
The Second Industrial Revolution is the term used to refer to the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, which took place primarily in the 19e century. Some historians mark the start of the American Industrial Revolution with the opening of a textile factory in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1793. The factory was built by the English immigrant Samuel Slater, who later built several more. cotton factories all over New England. His contributions have led historians to call him the “father of the American Industrial Revolution”. Slater’s cotton mills and the cotton manufacturing industry in general were spurred on by American inventor Eli Whitney, who invented cotton gin.
Innovations of the industrial revolution
The period of the industrial revolution saw the advent of many innovations. Besides the aforementioned steamboats and railways, the Industrial Revolution was also the period in which electricity was developed. This development began at the beginning of the 19e century in Britain, with experiments involving electric currents and magnetism. These experiments led to the creation of the electric motor and the electric generator. At the end of the 19e century, these new inventions led to the introduction of railways and electric streetcars. The end of the 19the century also saw the invention of the incandescent lamp, which would become the main source of artificial light in urban areas over the next 50 years.
The Industrial Revolution also revolutionized communications with two key inventions: the telephone and the telegraph. The latter was developed in the early and mid-19e century in the United States and Great Britain. Around the middle of the 19the century, telegraph cables had been installed across the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. Among other things, telegraphy allowed the rapid flow of information, such as the transmission of national and international news. The phone was developed at the end of the 19e century. The first phone call was made on March 10, 1876 by inventor Alexander Graham Bell, who was credited with inventing the device. Phones did not become mainstream household items, however, until the middle of the 20e century.
Another important innovation of the industrial revolution was the internal combustion engine, the development of which began in Europe in the middle of the 19e century. At the end of the 19e century, this engine was small and efficient enough to power an invention that would change the face of the world forever: the automobile. By the 1890s, a nascent auto industry was present in Europe and the United States, which primarily served wealthy customers. However, that all changed less than 20 years later, when industrialist Henry Ford perfected assembly-line methods of mass-producing automobiles.
Impact of the industrial revolution
The Industrial Revolution led to the creation of the modern world as we know it today. Among other things, it ushered in a new era of modern capitalism, including the mass production and consumption of goods and services. Indeed, more efficient modes of production led to lower prices for goods, which meant that more consumers could afford these goods. Industrialization has also led to new employment opportunities with the opening of factories and other mass production facilities. People who once lived off the land began to flock rapidly to urban centers to fill jobs in these facilities.
However, this rapid urbanization has also brought new problems, including overcrowding, lack of proper sanitation and lack of clean water. Industrialization has also led to environmental degradation, which would eventually lead to a new global problem that we still struggle to tackle today: climate change. Moreover, although mass production and increased economic production greatly improved the lives of the middle and upper classes, the working class struggled mightily. Many workers were working in horrible and dangerous conditions. They also worked long hours with very little monetary compensation. So today’s issues like climate change and workers’ rights have their origins in the industrial revolution.