The Industrial Revolution: Textiles And Their Role

992 words - 4 pages

During the industrial revolution, the textile industry was a vast market of economic prosperity and technological innovation. Friedel even quotes it as being “the most important trade in England” (Friedel, p. 213). But why was it this particular industry that thrived and flourished? Both the lecture and course readings seem to point at the fact that it catered to the already materialistic society. This essay will address points of interest from the lecture regarding the industrial revolution. It will also expand upon Friedel’s view of the textile industry as being a staple industry and the beginning of factory production. Finally, I will share my own view of the industrial revolution as ...view middle of the document...

For example, steel replaced wood in the construction of bridges, ships, and buildings; machine frames and parts were now made of cast iron or steel. These are just a few examples. Thus began the rise of factory production and the formation of the English working class. A class subjected to “factory discipline” and hardships which may or may not have been outweighed by the benefits of the industrial revolution.

Due to technology, cheap labour, and new resources, luxury goods were covering England like dew. Once they experienced the extravagant goods which hard work could produce for them, there was no going back. Cotton was one of these much admired goods. Friedel talks of common people having clean new clothes, dressing properly was no longer only for the well to do. For pages he details about technological improvements in the textile industry; more efficient spinning machines, weaving machines and looms to create silk, woollens, and cotton fabrics. Cotton became a good of such demand that many riots began over it. Through increased efficiency via technological improvements, the textile industry rivalled all others. Although other industries experienced technological improvements, they did not offer luxury goods to the public. This is what created the difference and caused prosperity. Also, both Friedel and the lecture notes associate the textile industry with factories and factory labour. Other industries were not as modernized and did not experience the same level of efficiency as the textile industry. Either way, it set a benchmark to measure productivity by.

“The textile industry’s changes, as dramatic as they were both in size and in the form of manufacture, did not in themselves make a revolution. But they were powerful, highly visible, much remarked-on symbols, and they, more than any other developments of the late eighteenth century, gave evidence of not simply the capacity for technological improvement – improvement for some, at least – but the inevitability of it.” (Friedel,...

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