Did the Second Industrial Revolution differ from the first?

Expert Answers
thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are significant differences between the first and second industrialization periods. It is important to mention that the second period was building on the ideas and products of the first period. The second industrial revolution featured the introduction and expansion of the railroad. The railroads were important in accessing and transporting raw materials such as steel which were required by the large industries. The first industrial revolution was based more on mechanization while the second was based on advancing synergies. For instance, the first revolution experienced technical developments in the textile industries like the spinning jenny used in cotton processing. The second revolution on the other hand developed efficiency in the production and distribution process. This was achieved through mobilization of the labor force into factory production units, improvement of transportation and mining.

In summary, the first revolution featured:

  • Increased use of coal
  • A shift in hand production methods to machines
  • Development of steam power

The second revolution featured:

  • Introduction of electricity and electric light
  • development of automatic signals
  • Introduction of structural steel for construction
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There was a difference between the first industrial revolution and the second industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution saw a move from small workplaces where products were made by hand to factories where products were made by machines. The machines were powered, at first, by water power and then, later, by coal. The first industrial revolution impacted the clothes industry significantly. With inventions like the spinning jenny and power loom, clothes could be produced much quicker and easier.

The second industrial revolution began in the late 1800s and continued into the early 1900s. The second industrial revolution was aided by the growth of railroads and the use of electricity. The use of steel was a big part of the second industrial revolution. With the second industrial revolution, it was much easier to move products from region to region. The second industrial revolution spread to more countries beyond Great Britain and the United States. Japan, for example, was involved in the second industrial revolution.

There were differences between the first and second industrial revolutions.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The First Industrial Revolution, which originated in Great Britain and then spread to parts of Europe and the United States, was centered around the use of steam and water power to drive machinery, including machinery to produce textiles. During this revolution, which occurred during the 18th century, and continued to the early 19th century, manual production was replaced by machines that were powered by water and coal. Iron was also critical in manufacturing. 

The Second Industrial Revolution, which took place from around the 1840s to World War I, involved the growth of railroads and the production of steel. It continued the use of machines in the production process that started in the First Industrial Revolution and involved the development of new forms of technology, including electricity, petroleum, and chemicals. This revolution particularly affected the United States and Germany, where many new products and forms of technology (including the automobile) were built using steel.

In conclusion, the locations, time periods, and technologies of the two revolutions differed. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, the Second Industrial Revolution did differ from the first in some important ways.  Here are a few:

  • Different products.  The Second Industrial Revolution was about electricity and chemicals and petroleum and all the things that can be made and consumed using these.  The First was about textiles and coal and iron.
  • A worldwide economy.  The Second Industrial Revolution was not confined to Western Europe and North America.  This one spread to places like Russia and Japan.
  • Different (to some extent) kinds of jobs.  The Second Industrial Revolution created a large number of white collar jobs, particularly for women.  The big companies needed cheap typists and telephone operators and secretaries.  All of these kinds of jobs tended to be filled by women.