Week 1: Industrial Revolution 08/01/2013 16:31:00
Defining the Industrial Revolution
What it was not:
Not the beginning of industrialization
The history of industrialization is as old as humanity
Not the beginning of innovation
Not the beginning of economic growth
Rather a change in the degree of change
A fundamental discontinuity
Mid-late 18 thCentury to early-mid 19 thCentury
Some historians talk about a second Industrial Revolution, which some
have written about in the ‘70s.
Characterized by the beginnings of fossil fuel, rapid production of
Defining the process
Series of major technological innovations
New modes of transportation: catalyst for globalization
A factory-based economy
Accelerated structural change in technology, economy, and society.
Revolutionized the economy of the West and eventually the rest of the
Inventions and innovations
(1) Advances in broad fronts:
Iron smelting, cotton, sources of power
Textile, metallurgy, mining, transport, agriculture, and power production
What are the implications of the changes?
One change in an industry will change the web of resources as it
creates needs for other goods and services.
(2) Two clusters of inventions:
(a) before 1733: Newcomen engine, flying shuttle
(b) after 1768: Jenny, water frame, Watt’s engine, seed drill, etc.
(3) Other inventions:
Chemicals: alkalis and chlorine Machine making tools
Paper industry: paper was finally produced with a new method which
allowed it to be made flat on both sides.
Gas lighting: changed the hours by which people roamed the streets.
Food canning, matchsticks, safety lamps (mining), lawn mowers,
Initially very limited impact on the economy: from 160 to 1800 only 0.2%
increase in per capita income
Financial constraints due to rapid population expansion and new wars and
End of independent producers
Harshness of industrial life: conditions became hazardous, and it required
many people to join the workforce to stay fed.
Squalid industrial towns with high mortality rates.
Small houses were the typical residences of workers in industrial
Emergence and Processes
Conditions at the outset:
Significant rise in population
New navigational techniques
Banking system and financial institutions
Traditional agrarian structures in continent
Difference in English ‘character’
Hartwell’s continuation theories
Ecological and economic explanations
Coal deposits England had a convenient access to iron ore.
What gave them the competitive edge were their colonies abroad,
providing England with a ready market outside of their own.
Raw materials could be taken from colonies and sold back