The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain towards the end of the 18th century, when specialized machinery allowed companies to mass-produce goods. Previously, manufacturing was done by hand and was often accomplished by family-run businesses using basic tools at home. Along with new manufacturing techniques and machinery, the Industrial Revolution also led to the development of new strategies for transportation and finance.
Changes in the textile industry served as a catalyst for Britain's Industrial Revolution. While textiles and garments had previously been handcrafted in the homes of artisans, machines made it possible to produce massive quantities of goods at a far more efficient pace. The spinning jenny produced multiple spools of thread at the same time, while the power loom allowed manufacturers to weave cloth at a much faster rate. The invention of the steam engine was another key event that made it possible to remove water from mines and transport goods more efficiently.
Causes and Effects of the Industrial Revolution
The Agricultural Revolution was one of the primary causes of the Industrial Revolution. With the increased production of food, it became cheaper than ever for Great Britain to feed its growing population. Families in turn spent their excess money on manufactured products, which led to a greater demand for goods produced at low prices and in high quantities. Industrial machinery made it possible to produce items that were once considered luxuries at a cost the average worker could afford.
The Industrial Revolution had both positive and negative effects on the quality of life in Britain. The demand for workers led to the mass integration of children into the workforce, and a significant number of factory workers were under the age of 15. Child laborers were often subjected to harsh hours and grueling working conditions. The abuse of workers in the Industrial Revolution laid the groundwork for modern child labor laws and union regulations designed to protect workers.
Charles Wheatstone and William Cooke were two major players in the Industrial Revolution as the co-inventors of the telegraph. The electrical telegraph was used to aid communications across long distances, making it easier for businesses, governments, and individuals to communicate efficiently. An American named Robert Fulton built the first commercial steamboat during the height of the Industrial Revolution, allowing for faster transportation of cargo across the Atlantic Ocean. George Stephenson was another prominent figure of the Industrial Revolution, and he was commonly known as the "Father of Railways." His was the first commercial railway and locomotive system to be adopted across the world.