The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution
His 104: World Civilizations II
July 29, 2010
In the late 18th century Europe a revolution occurred that??™s power was so immense, and strong, it would change the course of World history forever. This wasn??™t a violent, or political one either, it was one that changed profoundly the way goods were created and sold in Europe. This was the Industrial Revolution, and it marked a time in history when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, social and economic changes. These changes began rapidly in Europe, and spread virally throughout the World. Such changes like the cotton gin, changed the face of slavery, or the use of metal in farming equipment, and many other changes all made possible the more readily available good and services at everyone??™s fingers. This change didn??™t create the best living conditions, at least not right away, and the demand for labor was so great not even children were spared in producing goods. It is proven that the Industrial Revolution changed the face of World Civilization as a whole, but with many great advances, but also great consequences. The Industrial Revolution had profound changes in the World abroad in manufacture, mining, agriculture, and the socioeconomic conditions of the World.
The smaller, slower production of goods was changed almost overnight with the introduction of the Industrial Revolution. Up until the Industrial Revolution, great economies of the World relied heavily on guilds to produce skilled products, and large labor groups which main goal was the output of agriculture. Production of goods in manufacturing and agriculture was local manual labor, and larger village groups came together for harvesting and building of streets. Slavery was used for the mass production of commercial goods like sugar and tobacco. But during this era very little ingenuity created new inventions, or new ways of doing business. Basic elements for doing agriculture remained deep rooted in agricultural societies, and new inventions ceased to exist for up until this point. Historians have realized why the Industrial Revolution did not start earlier in World history because of the simplicity of the manufacturing system. Domestic manufacturing used simplistic equipment, that they purchased themselves, requiring very little amount of investment. Wealthier members of society purchased raw materials to be manufactured into sellable goods, and arranged for their sales. Output only expanded because of population growth, not technology. Although the system worked in producing goods to sustain smaller economies, the low wages that were paid reduced the inspiration to implement technological change.
The agricultural changes that occurred during the Industrial Revolution led to major population growth with the larger food supply it produced. By the late 17th century major changes in agriculture led to large growths in population. This started primarily by the way they grew crops. Up until this time grains were the primary form of agricultural products. The major problem with growing grain was the lands were left fallow because the initial growth of product robbed the soil of vital nutrients for production. It was eventually learned that certain crops like potatoes, often looked with scorn because of the high calorie, and the misunderstood use, became a major staple. This happened because the crop actually added nitrogen to the soil, and land wasn??™t needed to fallow because it didn??™t rob the soil of nutrients like grain did. The Dutch also showed the World new methods of draining marshlands, and uses of fertilizer, expanding more land available for crop production. With more crops equaled more people. At this time there was also a lag in mortality rates from disease like the Black Death, which decimated 1/3 of Europe centuries prior. The growth of the population required people to push further than they were used to into society to find work. They often were subjected to taking new and sometimes unpleasant jobs, providing growing markets for inexpensive goods.
Vast improvements in European science added another avenue for the Industrial Revolution to take place. Europe was already starting to be more active commercially, when advances in science became a driving force. Scientists and researchers got with merchants and manufacturers to talk about the very real possibility of inventions to be made that would advance society at a whole. Chemistry advancements during this time expanded exponentially. New techniques for manufacturing and glazing pottery came about through these changes. A more impressive use for chemistry was the research that led to understanding of how gases worked. This scientific discovery pushed the invention of using steam, and the power it held. Before this discovery wind, and water were used, but both of these mediums required certain rules that wasn??™t always conducive to mass production. For instance location was always important for using water, the factory always needed to be built near a river or stream, and did little to expand outward. Wind was always left up to nature, and was very unpredictable. Through numerous ideas of the steam engine, Thomas Newcomen, who took applications from the drainage pumps used in the coalmines, perfected it around 1700. Eventually the technology was used as a driving force in manufacturing in the Industrial Revolution.
The use of coal burning provided a catalyst to the advancement of the Industrial Revolution. Coal production had increased before the Industrial Revolution, but its use was minimal in relation to its needs for industry. Coal was a non- technological advancement that powered Europe during these times. For the first time through the use of coal you could switch the labor from human to machine quickly, and this power was crucial to developing the high output of goods necessary in this period. During this period Europe was chocked full of coal supplies imbedded deep in the earth, and with these natural resource provided a way to enhance the industrialization of Europe. With the abundant supply of coal, and the increased ingenuity of coal burning machinery, it was a very real possibility at this time to increase mechanization. The increase in mechanization provided small manufactures the ability to grow to large industries. More industries transitioned to burning coal to power their machines: steam engines powered spinning and weaving machinery, coal provided the extra heat necessary in iron making, and the nonferrous smelting, and firing and glazing of pottery. Even lesser businesses like flour milling and breweries eventually transitioned to using steam-powered machinery, which all demanded the use of coal.
One industry in the Industrial Revolution that caused such a profound effect on World history was the textile industry. Prior to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the manufacture of textiles was primarily done exclusively in the home. Women knit clothing in the household, and supplies were purchased at wholesale outlets. In the early 18th century inventors soon realized the possibility of inventing certain machines that could mass-produce textiles, making household knitting obsolete. The first example was the flying shuttle in 1733. The machine consisted of a large frame in which a series of thread through which a shuttle carrying more thread could be passed. The laborers eventually came so proficient with the invention that they make the shuttle ???fly??? through the framework as cloth was being woven, hence the name. Over the next fifty years many other inventions were made in the mechanization of cloth. Some of these inventions were the spinning jenny, water frame, the spinning mule, the power loom and the cotton gin. The quicker advancement could be made the more money it made for the inventor and the factory owners. During this time ingenuity and businesses growth was indicative of the inventions made. The high demand for cheaply made textiles, furthered the in depth advancements of inventions. Another way of looking at the rate of technology was the amount of patents being filed during this time. Historians have also agreed that the dates to which the inventions were made can be disputed by the dates the patents were issued. With textiles being one of the most prominent businesses of the revolution, with the increased demand of textiles came the encouragement of business expansion, and the search for more efficient and cost effective forms of technology.
Just as technology improved as a necessary resource to the Industrial Revolution, the need for labor increased heavily during these times. One of the negative repercussions for the Industrial Revolution was the heavy use of child labor in the production of goods. Children had been a main source of labor for years leading into the era of Industrial Revolution. The parents wanted, and needed children to work for many reasons, but mostly it was for the sake of survival. The contribution of the children provided more food on the table, as it provided more coal for the furnace. It also was a matter of necessary child development, because the parents needed the children to learn a skill or craft to become functioning members of society. Many occasions proved that this was a social norm, and it didn??™t matter what the parents wanted as much as it was the need for business production. Social norms at the time believed that the poor and working class must adopt strict, strong work ethics, as a way to climb the ladder and move out of poverty. ???A busy child was a ???good??? child??? (Tuttle p.43). By the end of the 18th century, and well into the 19th century the idea of child labor had changed. Children were not helpers to a more family oriented enterprise as much as they were individual wage earners at different places of employment. Child labor was a primary contributor to the workforce in general of many textile, coal, copper, and tin mines. Some rural textile mills solicited for children to become apprentices, while factories used children and youths from large families called free labor. It became more and more familiar for adults to bring their children to the copper and coalmines to help out with the grueling work. As the parents went into the mines the children stayed at the top to work on the surface. Many historians and writers of literature have cited that poverty, greed, parental abuse, large-scale operations, technological innovation, and profit maximization were the leading reason for child labor, but the main reason was there was nothing stopping it. The demand for labor was so high that waiting for a child to reach adulthood took too much time, opening the opportunity for child labor. Families were also rewarded for having large families, because girls and boys hands were readily available to pull in a payday. Child labor was also cheap and factory owners weren??™t going to pay high wages to a child whose job was to watch a machine that was running on coal. These times had no restriction on labor, pay, or hours worked, and the more hands at work meant bigger money and more output. There was no reason to not use children in these times, there were more of them, they worked for fewer wage, and everyone was in a win-win situation.
The social impact of the Industrial Revolution had many consequences. With more work available than ever before, long hours, and long workweeks, wages were kept low, and prices for necessary goods often increased. Along the way some factory workers earned some benefits, but the idea of the revolution itself was to increase the standard of living. Factory life destabilized the traditional way of work life that agriculture and certain crafts had brought with it. The newly invented machines worked quickly, and workers were expected to keep pace. It was a requirement to be on time at the whistle every morning, and if late the doors were locked and workers were fined, or docked a half a days pay. Strict rules of conduct were put in place like no wandering around the factory, conversation, or singing. Work was meant to be fast paced, productive, with no interruptions, for if one person stopped it could derail a whole machines production. Factories were filled with strict rules, fines, and upper and lower management that symbolized the factory owner??™s intent that production was not to be stopped. Work carried on six days a week, often 12-14 hours a day. Sunday was always a rest day, and as the Industrial Revolution moved along it was common for workers to take Monday??™s off extending their one-day off called ???holy Monday??™s???(Stearns p.60). The Industrial Revolution can be seen as a war theatre during these times where factory owners progressively transformed work habits, and workers constantly battled the working conditions. Later in the Industrial Revolution we begin to see a compromise workers were more inclined to follow work rules in exchange for higher pay. This change caused more production for factory owners, and retention of workers. The cities of the Industrial Revolution were denuded places, with very little but housing, churches and factories. Since the hours of work were long, many workers had neither the time nor energy to pursue other avenues outside of work life. There were no social places, extravagant shops, or restaurants. This wasn??™t because there wasn??™t a demand, as much as it was socially unacceptable. Employers and government officials lobbied against any social customs. Traditional village festivals that happened yearly for most individuals ceased to exist because it was deemed dangerous to the work atmosphere. Factories remained the main source of commerce in cities, and controlling the workforce was the utmost priority.
The Industrial Revolution influenced the change of the traditional family into forming an industrial family. The Industrial Revolution had a tremendous influence on family life by administering a change quickly. Statistics show that marriages increased during the Industrial Revolution, but many historians argue that this was more out of necessity rather than the old traditional reasons. Industrialization forced much strain on families causing them to regroup and determine each family members new role. Two models of family forging were evident in the Industrial Revolution. The first model was one in which the husband and wife came together in love and had children to augment their lives, and provide a sanctuary for the demands of factory life. The leisurely time spent with family could be enjoyed on down time with the reading of classical novels, and piano playing. This new family structure added to the desire to for families to decorate and go away from the old shelter and make their places a home. This also created a demand in new markets to manufacture things like carpet, home decor, and home furnishings. The second model of family was very common in the urban working class, and followed a more traditional family. Families still remained strong as one economic unit that relied on everyone to do their part, but the family was not the center of the economy. Families of this model could use their children as additional resources to aid in income. Some families were even able to work in intricate groups outside of husband and wives, and link up with extended family members for loans during tough times, and hints on job prospects.
Women??™s gender roles changed greatly during the Industrial Revolution. Women up until this time took care of making clothes, and knitting, but with new inventions a lot of this work went away. During the Industrial Revolution new inventions that revolutionized the textile industry had made many jobs that women did become more obsolete. Men were always in charge of heavier labor, and there wasn??™t much change in what they offered economically. The women??™s work roles eventually started going away in the factories. This system of using more men for heavier labor shaped the way families now did things. Men now became the earners, while the women took care of the domestic issues such as the cooking and laundry.
The Industrial Revolution changed the face of World civilization. There was never a time in history to this point that change had come so quick and fast like the Industrial Revolution. The idea behind it was the strong desire for capitalists to make money, while providing better living conditions for people abroad. This period of time ushered a new way of doing things economically, and in family lives. It also demanded the very best of technologies and innovation, which led to the creation of faster, better-made products. Production and output were main goals for the capitalist, while the workers had more availability of year round work. Through the desire of capitalists to make money and the peoples willingness to work the Industrial Revolution had profound changes in the World abroad in manufacture, mining, agriculture, and the socioeconomic conditions of the World.
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