NATS 1775 Lecture Notes - Thomas Newcomen, Friedrich Engels, Richard Trevithick

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Published on 20 Apr 2013
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York University
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Natural Science
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NATS 1775
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2009 © Vera Pavri
Lecture 5: The Industrial Revolution
I. Characteristics of First Industrial Revolution
- starts in England in 1780s
- England undergoing large population growth: 5.5M at end of 17th century;
by end of 18th population is 9M
- This leads to scarcity of resources like land
- Development of new technologies and methods of production created to
help sustain growing population
- major changes include a shift to machine production; machines operated
by water and steam power; factory system of production; new methods of
communication and transportation, and new forms of managing labor
- rapid technological change with creation of textile (cotton) mills, mass-
produced iron, coal, steam engine, railroads
- example: rise in iron production: 700000 tons in 1830 to 4M by 1860
- this increased growth in the British economy also leads to creation of new
technologies that help eliminate “bottlenecks” that were limiting trade and
growth of industry in fields like iron making, spinning and weaving, mining,
transportation
- example: roads not suited for increased transportation of bulk goods like
coals; leads to construction of new water routes (canals)
- first two canals constructed to link Manchester to coal fields in 1757, 1764
- major industries start to experience sustained growth as production levels
increase in many areas of manufacturing and production
- agricultural surplus: Norfolk system (4 field crop rotation); rise in meat
production with increased turnip and clover production
- closure of common lands – marginalizes farmers, frees them for labor pool
- shortages of timber and other natural resources: price of timber in England
raised 5x; firewood 10x
- this is because many industries (shipbuilding, bread, beer, glassmaking)
needed to use wood for fuel and could not initially substitute it with coal
because this would ultimately ruin the product
II. Features of the Industrial Revolution
A. New Energy Sources
- human, animal, wind and water power
- wood a renewable energy source
- replaced by use of non-renewable energy sources like coal and oil
- development of steam engine (see below)
- energy consumption rises greatly (5-10x)
2009 © Vera Pavri
B. Factory System
- Although factory system is an important feature of industrialization, it is
important to remember that this method of production was just of one
many; shop or household based centers of manufacturing remained
popular in many areas
- production is standardized and centralized in factory system; use of
machines to power production
- Richard Arkwright’s cotton textile mills in 1770’s and 1780’s were some of
the first factories constructed
- wage labor, hierarchy of workers, increased use of clock to regulate
worker production
- highly skilled workers no longer always necessary; semi-skilled and
unskilled labor forces increase
- money economy as opposed to trading goods and services
- exploitation of labor: wages unchanged in early 1800’s even though
production of cotton has increased 4x and profits 2x; worker productivity
2x between 1830-1850
- almost 2/3 of Arkwright 1150 employees were children
- 1799 Parliamentary Act makes it illegal for workers to unionize in hopes of
bettering their working conditions
- social changes: migration from countryside to cities, larger urban
populations, factory workers, public schools, jails
- division of labor: men and women with different duties
C. Industrialization and New Methods of Financing
- global markets increasingly needed to support industrial production
- Britain accumulates lots of capital through its colonial trading practices
- sugar and slaves increases amount of accumulated capital in England
- capital needed to build new factories and other industrial centers
- development of private banks to fund new industries
- low interest rates = cheap money = allows for capital needed to build
factories
- stock trading: London Stock Exchange opens in 1773
D. Changes in Ideology
- mercantilism (economies are state controlled and free trade is restricted to
help boost exports and increase state’s resources) versus open markets
and free trade
- 1776: Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations is published which argues for
laissez-faire capitalism
- age of Enlightenment: universal human rights; belief in progress
- critics of new economic philosophy: Frederick Engels and Karl Marx
2009 © Vera Pavri
- Marx is supported by Frederick Engels who is son of prominent
manufacturer
- irony: Engels supports Marx financially from manufacturing profits
- Marx writes Das Kapital around 1867 and argues that new factory system
exploits labor and only benefits owners who control the means of
production
- war between classes thus inevitable
- theory behind ideologies like socialism and communism
III. Science and Technology in the Industrial Revolution
- most technological innovations do not rely on scientific knowledge
- opposite usually true
- although scientific knowledge is appreciated and supported by state,
remains largely separated from craft knowledge
- craftsman, artisans and engineers responsible for most innovations; most
do not have a university education
-Example 1: iron-making using coal – early attempts at using coal instead
of wood for fuel were not successful although Chinese had developed
methods to do so as early as the 11th century
- in 1709 Abraham Darby develops process using coke instead of charcoal
in blast furnaces by “tinkering” with process
- does not rely on any scientific theory or institutional knowledge
-Example 2: Thomas Newcomen and the development of the first steam
engine in 1712
- Challenge: removal of excess water from mines was getting harder to do
as you went lower into the ground; needed more powerful energy source
to drive water pumps
- Newcomen: steam condensed in cylinder; create partial vacuum so that
pressure from atmosphere drives piston
- invention result of craft knowledge, tinkering, trial and error
- no scientific knowledge involved
- early engines ate lots of coal and were only used in mines
- improvements by John Smeaton and James Watt in mid 18th century
follow similar pattern; no reliance on scientific knowledge
- increased efficiency; Smeaton’s machines 2x more efficient
- Watt: eliminates need to heat and cool cylinder by developing method to
keep cylinder hot throughout engine cycle
- This allows steam engine to be used in other industries because it is
cheaper, more efficient
- Richard Trevithick: high pressure (higher than atmospheric pressure)
steam engine developed by 1800 is a more compact design
- Could not sell new design to miners who were happy with what they had
- helps lead to development of steam locomotive
- relationship between railways and cheap iron production

Document Summary

Lecture 5: the industrial revolution: characteristics of first industrial revolution starts in england in 1780s. England undergoing large population growth: 5. 5m at end of 17th century; by end of 18th population is 9m. This leads to scarcity of resources like land. Features of the industrial revolution: new energy sources human, animal, wind and water power. Wood a renewable energy source replaced by use of non-renewable energy sources like coal and oil development of steam engine (see below) energy consumption rises greatly (5-10x) Richard arkwright"s cotton textile mills in 1770"s and 1780"s were some of the first factories constructed. Wage labor, hierarchy of workers, increased use of clock to regulate worker production highly skilled workers no longer always necessary; semi-skilled and unskilled labor forces increase. Money economy as opposed to trading goods and services exploitation of labor: wages unchanged in early 1800"s even though production of cotton has increased 4x and profits 2x; worker productivity.