What is Industrial Revolution?
- The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes which began in Great Britain, and later spread into the continental Europe, and the United States.
- It occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840.
- The term Industrial Revolution was first popularized by the English economic historian Arnold Toynbee to describe Britain’s economic development from 1760 to 1840.
- The term has been more broadly applied as a process of economic transformation than as a period of time in a particular setting.
How it began?
- The beginning of Industrial Revolution is often associated with the mechanisation of Textile Manufacturing.
- Innovations in carding and spinning enabled by advances in cast iron technology resulted in the creation of larger spinning mules and water frames.
- The machinery was housed in water-powered mills on streams.
- John Kay’s 1733 flying shuttle enabled cloth to be woven faster, of a greater width, and for the process to later be mechanised.
Spread of Industrial Revolution:
- The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain, and many of the technological and architectural innovations were of British origin.
- Initially British forbade the export of machinery, skilled workers, and manufacturing techniques.
- The British monopoly could not last forever, especially since some Britons saw profitable.
- Two Englishmen, William and John Cockerill, brought the Industrial Revolution to Belgium.
- Belgium became the first country in continental Europe to be transformed economically.
- France was more slowly and less thoroughly industrialized than either Britain or Belgium.
- France was immersed in its Revolution, and the uncertain political situation discouraged large investments in industrial innovations.
- Germany despite vast resources of coal and iron, did not begin its industrial expansion until after national unity was achieved in 1870.
- Once begun, Germany’s industrial production grew so rapidly that by the turn of the century that nation was outproducing Britain in steel and had become the world leader in the chemical industries.
Significance of Industrial Revolution:
- The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in history and is comparable only to humanity’s adoption of agriculture with respect to material advancement.
- The Industrial Revolution began an era of per-capita economic growth in capitalist economies.
- Industrial Revolution also became the major reason for the development of communist ideology.
- Industrial Revolution is also credited as the major reason for the spread of colonisation throughout the world.
- Europe needed a source of cheap raw materials and a market to export their finished products.
- Chronic hunger and malnutrition were the norms for the majority of the population of the world including Britain and France, until the late 19th century.
- The initial technologies of the Industrial Revolution, such as mechanized textiles, iron and coal, did little, if anything, to lower food prices.
- The theory of Malthusian trap was hence developed and proven to be correct during this time.