Regents Prep: Global History: Science & Technology:
Industrial Revolution

In 1750, most people in Europe lived on small farms and produced most of their needs by hand. A century later, many people lived in cities and most of their needs were produced by complex machines using steam power. The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain and spread to Belgium, France, Germany, the United States and Japan. It was a fundamental change in the way goods were produced, and altered the way people lived. The Industrial Revolution was a time of scientific and technological advancement.

The Dutch led the way in improvements for agriculture.  They built dykes to protect farmland from the seas, and improved fertilizers.  The British improved on many of these methods, and developed others of their own, including breeding better livestock to aid in work and mixing different soils to yield a better crop.  Jethro Tull, a British farmer and inventor, created the mechanical seed drill to aid in planting.

Britain experienced a revolution in energy use as they switched from animal power, to water power, to steam power in a few short years.  In 1712, Thomas Newcomen developed a steam engine powered by coal.  This engine was used to pump water out of mines.  Later, James Watt would improve on this engine, and Watt's steam engine would be the power source of the Industrial Revolution.

New Technology
Once steam power became prominent, most machines used in the production of cloth became powered.  This includes the Spinning Jenny used to make thread, and power looms that combined the thread to make cloth.  Other uses for steam power dealt with transportation, such as the steam locomotive.  Within a few short years of the start of the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain had miles of track all across the country. This resulted in a great need for iron track & nails, which in turn led to improvements in iron production.

As a result of industrialization, people moved to towns and cities to be closer to the factories.  Conditions were very poor during the early part of the Industrial Revolution, as factory workers lived in over crowded buildings, with no sewage or sanitation services.  This resulted in widespread disease.  As the Industrial Revolution moved forward, new improvements in sanitation, housing construction, and medicine made life much better for the industrial worker.


Created by Jeffery Watkins
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