by tashaun lawrence
- The Industrial revloution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840.
The Industrial Revolution, which took place from the 18th to 19th centuries, was a period during which predominantly agrarian, rural societies in Europe and America became industrial and urban. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the late 1700s, manufacturing was often done in people’s homes, using hand tools or basic machines. Industrialization marked a shift to powered, special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production. The iron and textile industries, along with the development of the steam engine, played central roles in the Industrial Revolution, which also saw improved systems of transportation, communication and banking. While industrialization brought about an increased volume and variety of manufactured goods and an improved standard of living for some, it also resulted in often grim employment and living conditions for the poor and working classes.
The textile industry, in particular, was transformed by industrialization. Before mechanization and factories, textiles were made mainly in people’s homes giving rise to the term cottage industry with merchants often providing the raw materials and basic equipment, and then picking up the finished product. Workers set their own schedules under this system, which proved difficult for merchants to regulate and resulted in numerous inefficiencies. In the 1700s, a series of innovations led to ever-increasing productivity, while requiring less human energy. For example, around 1764, Englishman James Hargreaves 1722-1778 invented the spinning jenny (jenny was an early abbreviation of the word engine a machine that enabled an individual to produce multiple spools of threads simultaneously. By the time of Hargreaves’ death, there were over 20,000 spinning jennys in use across Britain. The spinning jenny was improved upon by British inventor Samuel Compton’s 1753-1827 spinning mule, as well as later machines. Another key innovation in textiles, the power loom, which mechanized the process of weaving cloth, was developed in the 1780s by English inventor Edmund Cartwright 1743-1823.
The transition from a worker-based cottage industry a to machine-based economy, with the growth of factories and mass production, is traditionally known as the Industrial Revolution, which began in England and brought about the most fundamental changes to society since the development of agriculture thousands of years earlier. Accompanying the Industrial Revolution was a massive growth in energy consumption, largely through the burning of coal, a fossil fuel . The Industrial Revolution marked the beginning of the period during which mankind began substantially altering the composition of the atmosphere.
The Textile Industry significantly grew during the Industrial Revolution. The demand for cloth grew, so merchants had to compete with others for the supplies to make it. This raised a problem for the consumer because the products were at a higher cost. The solution was to use machinery, which was cheaper then products made by hand (which took a long time to create), therefore allowing the cloth to be cheaper to the consumer.