Term Paper: Industrialization 1776-1900

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¶ … Industrial Revolution is the most significant movement of its time because it radically changed many aspects of life and of living. Tools and machines evolved as needs in the environment changed. Momentous progress includes a radical revolution of the textile industry, which could not be predicted or foreseen. Necessity is the mother of invention and, as we shall see, the inventions of the Industrial Revolution prove this statement true. Without ingenuity, however, invention would be difficult and the modern revolution reveals that when the right minds converge with the right needs of society, great things can be accomplished.

Great Britain was the "home" (Craig 627) of the Industrial Revolution. Several factors come into play for this with the primary reason being that Great Britain was the "single largest free-trade area in Europe" (627). The political structure was stable in Great Britain and with a solid banking system along with a good public credit created a "good investment climate" (627). The earliest signs of the Industrial Revolution emerge with rise of mechanical inventions. The spinning jenny was patented in 1769 and it "broke the bottle neck between the productive capacity of the spinners and the weavers" (628). In 1779, Samuel Crompton invented a modified version of the spinning wheel that accelerated improvements in other areas dealing with weaving. Edmond Cartwright's invention of a new power loom demanded an increase for cotton. With Crompton's version of the spinning jenny, yarn was being produced twice as quickly as it was before. While these inventions and modifications seem rather insignificant, their effects were felt not only across Europe but across other continents as well. In America, southern farmers benefited because everything happened faster. The inventions of this era brought different cultures together, demonstrating how they affected the entire globe.

Another significant invention to emerge from the Industrial Revolution was the steam engine. Stanley Chodorow claims that the steam engine was the "most important" (Chodorow 718) in that it remained the sole source of artificial power until the invention of electricity. The steam engine is linked to two "basic commodities of modern industrialization - coal and iron" (718).

The steam engine's primary function was pumping coal from mines in England but the machine's popularity spread quickly and was modified for many other functions as well. The progression of the steam engine's evolution represents man's ability to improve upon his inventions. In 1777, workers used the steam engine as a hammer to shape iron. In 1783, it workers used it to roll iron into sheets. It did not take long for steam to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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