The First Industrial Revolution

An article written by: Lee Sonogan

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“The industrial revolution allowed us, for the first time to start replacing human labour with machines.” – Vitalik Buterin

One of the biggest events in human history. Currently we are in the fourth industrial revolution. This article will go into detail of the first industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution was a transition to new manufacturing processes. Around 1760 these changes began to happen. The transitions included changed from hand production methods to machines, iron production, new chemical manufacturing, more use of steam power, development of machine tools and the rise of the factory. Starting from the industrial revolution the world has changed in a very quick amount of time.

For the first time in history, the population was expanding at an increasing rate. The industrial revolution also gave the average person an income. Before the industrial revolution manufacturing of agricultural was the dominate force. As factories grew the standard of living increased for some, while others were left to face famine in the post damage of the Napoleonic Wars. The industrial revolution created the first of economic growth in capitalist economies. Economic historians say agree that it was the most important even in human history since the domestication of animals and plants.

Textiles were the dominant industry of the Industrial Revolution in terms of employment, value of output and capital invested. The textile industry was also the first to use modern production methods. Rapid industrialization first began in Britain, starting with mechanized spinning in the 1780s, with high rates of growth in steam power and iron production occurring after 1800. Mechanized textile production spread from Great Britain to continental Europe and the United States in the early 19th century, with important centres of textiles, iron and coal emerging in Belgium and the United States and later textiles in France.

An economic recession occurred from the late 1830s to the early 1840s when the adoption of the original innovations of the Industrial Revolution, such as mechanized spinning and weaving, slowed and their markets matured. Innovations developed late in the period, such as the increasing adoptions of locomotives, steamboats and steamships, hot blast iron smelting and new technologies, such as the electrical telegraph. Rapid economic growth began to occur after 1870, creating the Second Industrial Revolution. The new innovations included new steel making processes, the large-scale manufacture of machine tools and the use of increasingly advanced machinery in steam-powered factories.

At first the industrial revolution would have been very hard for the people. You would have seen the chimneys of old England or heard of the slaves and children used. Also, a lot of money was invested into the industrial revolution. Organisation of labour had trade unions and various other groups to help advance the needs and interests of the working people. Still, most workers were working in poor working conditions. The working conditions were so bad they impacted the environment with toxic smoke population. The massive immigration from the countryside to urban areas meant housing couldn’t keep up, leading to overcrowded, polluted, and disease-ridden slums in the middle of most major cities.

The industrial revolution was worth it all things considering. The timeline of the industrial revolution made the world better during its time, similar to what war can do to a world for the better. Socially, events and inventions came out during such a change to a world. Listing some inventions some may include: First productive steam engine, Flying Shuttle, Spinning Jenny, the spinning mule, The Power Loom, sewing machine, Cotten gin, elevator safety brake, telegraph, method of processing steel and so much more.

Events during the timeline of the industrial revolution:

  • 1776 – Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations.
  • 1781 – Watt adapts his steam engine from a reciprocal to a rotary motion.
  • 1799 – Combination Acts make it illegal in England for workers to unionize in order to bargain for higher pay or better working conditions.
  • 1800 – 10 million tons of coal mined in Great Britain.
  • 1801 – Richard Trevithick drives the Cornish “puffer” steam powered locomotive down the street of Camborne, England.
  • 1812 – Parliament passes law making it illegal by penalty of death to destroy industrial machines.
  • 1833 – The First Factory Act provides first small regulation of child labour in textile factories.
  • 1834 – Poor Law created “poorhouses” for the destitute.
  • 1848 – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto.
  • 1849 – 10,000 people die in three months in London from Cholera epidemic.
  • 1850 – Petrol refining first used
  • 1859 – Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species
  • 1960 – Science degree at University of London
  • 1867 – Alfred Nobel produces dynamite, the first explosive which can be safely handled
  • So much more not listed…

In conclusion I am glad to be out of the first industrial revolution. The causes and time of the industrial revolution remains a topic for debate. Researching for this article I am interested to see what we will define what the firth industrial revolution is like. The industrial revolution will remain one of the most important events in human history and I am glad that it was way before my time. Much like technology, our methods have evolved. To be more efficient and consistent to faster and just way better in a short amount of time. I hope you liked my history article and I am considering doing more content on history or based on history.

“The industrial revolution was another of those extraordinary jumps forward in the story of civilization.” – Stephen Gardiner


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