The Industrial Revolution Essay

2885 words - 12 pages

The Industrial Revolution
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The Industrial Revolution may be defined as the application of power-driven machinery to manufacturing. It had its beginning in remote times, and is still continuing in some places. In the eighteenth century all of western Europe began to industrialize rapidly, but in England the process was most highly accelerated. England's head start may be attributed to the emergence of a number of simultaneous factors.

Britain had burned up her magnificent oak forests in its fireplaces, but large deposits of coal were still available for industrial fuel. There was an abundant labor supply to mine coal and iron, and to man the factories. From the old commercial empire ...view middle of the document...

''Turnip'' Townshend was famous for his cultivation of turnips and clover on his estate of Raynham in Norfolk.

He introduced the four-course rotation of crops:
• wheat
• turnips
• oats or barley
• clover.
Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) pioneered in the field of systematic stock breeding. Prior to this, sheep had been valued for wool and cattle for strength; Bakewell showed how to breed for food quality. Bakewell selected his animals, inbred them, kept elaborate genealogical records, and maintained his stock carefully. He was especially successful with sheep, and before the century's end his principle of inbreeding was well established. Under Bakewell's influence, Coke of Holkham in Norfolk not only improved his own farms, but every year held ''sheep shearings'' to which farmers from all over Europe came for instruction and the exchange of knowledge.

Propaganda for the new agriculture was largely the work of Arthur Young. In 1793 the Board of Agriculture was established, and Arthur Young was its secretary. Although a failure as a practical farmer, he was a great success as a publicist for scientific agriculture. Even George III ploughed some land at Buckingham Palace and asked his friends to call him ''Farmer George.''
II. Technological Change since 1700
The technological changes of the eighteenth century did not appear suddenly. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the methods of making glass, clocks, and chemicals advanced markedly. By 1700 in England, and by 1750 in France, the tendency of the state and the guilds to resist industrialization was weakening. In fact, popular interest in industrialization resembled the wave of enthusiasm elicited by experimental agriculture.

By the beginning of the eighteenth century in England, the use of machines in manufacturing was already widespread. In 1762 Matthew Boulton built a factory which employed more than six hundred workers, and installed a steam engine to supplement power from two large waterwheels which ran a variety of lathes and polishing and grinding machines. In Staffordshire an industry developed which gave the world good cheap pottery; chinaware brought in by the East India Company often furnished a model. Josiah Wedgewood (1730-1795) was one of those who revolutionized the production and sale of pottery. From 1700 on, the Staffordshire potters used waterwheels or windmills to turn machines which ground and mixed their materials. After 1850 machinery was used extensively in the pottery-making process. The price of crockery fell, and eating and drinking consequently became more hygienic.

The textile industry had some special problems. It took four spinners to keep up with one cotton loom, and ten persons to prepare yarn for one woolen weaver. Spinners were busy, but weavers often had to be idle for lack of yarn. In 1733 John Kay, a Lancashire mechanic, patented his flying shuttle. Weaving could then be done more quickly, but it still was delayed...

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