Friday, 27 December 2013


The demand in Europe for cotton to make clothing and Britain’s easy access to coal deposits both sparked industrialization. At first, industrialization was isolated to Great Britain alone. Factory owners there knew that they were ahead in the game and forbade the export of technology, techniques or skilled workers abroad. Many entrepreneurs disobeyed laws enacted to prevent the export of this new knowledge and exported it anyways. Soon, industrialization had spread to France, Germany, Belgium and the United States. Coal, glass, and armaments production was successful in Belgium. France became advanced in the metallurgical industry. German coal and iron production soared. In the Americas, cotton was grown in the south for garment and textile production in New England. The cotton and textiles industries were major business in the early stages of industrialization but it soon spilled over into other industries. (Bentley, Ziegler and Streets, 2008)
The Industrial Revolution resulted in the innovation of many new machines and methods of production;
The steam engine: Developed in 1785 by Scottish inventor James Watt, the general purpose steam engine made the steam engine more applicable to a wider range of machinery. In 1815, George Stephenson built the first steam-powered locomotive. This further enabled steam ships and railroads to transport large cargoes cheaply and connected remote areas with industrialized regions and ports. (Bentley, 2008)
The Bessemer converter: Built in 1856 by Henry Bessemer, it was a refined blast furnace which made it possible for large quantities of Iron and steel to be produced quickly and inexpensively. (Bentley, 2008)
The flying shuttle: Invented in 1733 by Manchester mechanic John Kay, it sped up the weaving process by enabling it to be mechanized. (Bentley, 2008)
The water-driven loom: Built in 1785 by Edmund Cartwright, it paved the way for the loom to be steam powered and made hand looms virtually obsolete. (Bentley, 2008)
The cotton gin: Invented in 1793 by American inventor Eli Whitney, mechanized the separation of cotton fibers from seeds. (Bentley, 2008)
Mass production of standardized articles: A technique developed by Eli Whitney using machine tools to make interchangeable parts in the production of firearms. A skilled worker could make one part that fit every musket of the same model. The method was eventually applied to the making of other products such as clocks, shoes and uniforms. (Bentley, 2008)
The assembly line: Invented by Henry Ford in 1913, he applied it to the production of automobiles. Each worker along the conveyer belt performed a specialized task as opposed to building an entire item themselves. This sped up production considerably. (Bentley, 2008)
The factory system: Due to the size and cost of new machinery, it was necessary for the workplace to be moved from the home to a large building where multiple workers were employed.
Factory workers earned meager wages and often lived in squalor. They also worked long hours, on average twelve to fourteen hours six days a week. Conditions could be dangerous and there was always a risk of being maimed or fatally injured my machinery. Housing consisted of apartments with multiple families dwelling in one unit with no plumbing or electricity.
Instead of being home or in school, women and children joined the labor force and earned smaller wages than men. Even when pregnant, women worked in harsh conditions and children were not afforded any special treatment either.
Factory work had a negative effect on the workers because of the awful conditions they were forced to work in. Pay was barely enough to survive on. The exhausting nature of the work itself, not to mention the lack of safety precautions, took a toll on them both physically and mentally.

Industrialization had a significant overall effect on the world because it transformed agrarian and handicraft-centered economies into ones based on industry and machinery manufacturing. The need to invest in expensive factory equipment contributed to the development of large businesses and corporations. It moved the center of family life from the home to the factory because mothers, fathers and children all worked there. New cities were built and old ones expanded to meet the high demand for housing. Immigrants flooded into industrialized areas in search of opportunities. Areas of the world rich in natural resources found a source of income in them due to the high demand factories created by running off of them. Pollution and exploitation of raw material were intensified. More efficient modes of transportation came about and the world became much smaller because of it. In the long run, workers rights and children’s rights had to be improved and even a higher standard of living was a result. (Bentley, 2008)