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One key element that set the stage for the Industrial revolution in England was the revolution in agricultural techniques that made it possible for significant numbers of people to focus their energies on something other than farming. The seed drill, crop rotation and fertilization were huge.
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No single individual is responsible for the Industrial Revolution. The Revolution occurred due to the confluence of several factors in England in the mid 18th century, and can be argued is still occurring in other countries today. England had denuded its forests for shipbuilding over the preceding centuries, but wood was also the only fuel source. When wood became scarce, England discovered she was fortunate to have large coal supplies underground. When she started using coal instead of wood as a fuel source, a variety of new techniques and industries emerged. By burning coal, higher temperatures could be reached, and iron could be produced in quantity and cheaply. This allowed for the key development of railways, which revolutionized transportation. The critical development of the Age, the refinement of an efficient steam engine (which could only be built from the new metals created by burning coal), created a new (coal powered!) energy source that could be used for a multitude of mechanical purposes, which created factories which could mass produce goods cheaply. By the mid 1800's England had established an extensive empire on her ability to efficiently trade her manufactured goods the world around.
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