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The 18th Century in Europe, was a time of social, intellectual and huge political growth. This time has been referred as the Age of Enlightenment; it was during this period that the new grounds of mechanics and calculus started influencing how things worked in the world. It was also at this time that Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and other people gave ideas on democracy that worked in the change of leadership in Europe (Goloboy, 2008). It was also at this period that Adam Smith economic ideas had a huge influence on the intellectual development of what is today capitalism. It was also at this time that industrial revolution which is the focus of this paper took place.
The Industrial Revolution was the movement that saw the introduction of machines that completely changed how manufacturing is conducted. The industrial revolution begun in Britain, in England they started to use machines that made steam engines in running of machines and cloth manufacture. By 1850 a lot of English people were working in various industrial towns in Britain and the country was a workshop of the world. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain and gradually spread to the rest of Europe.
Most of the crucial of machines that made a huge contribution to the Industrial revolution were invented during the period in the 18th century. Some of the early contributions to industrial revolution were by John Kay made an invention in 1733 of the flying shuttle also James Hargreaves in 1764 invented the spinning jenny which changed the yarn making and cloth weaving that for many years had been the same. The flying shuttle enabled a lot loom more than a lot of human hands can handle. John Wyatt and Lewis Paul in 1741invented the spinning cotton thread that had rollers by which made a huge contribution.
Richard Arkwright also at the same time developed the water frame that was a machine that used water to power and spanned with rollers. Samuel Crompton in 1779 developed a spinner, which had combined the jenny by Hargreaves and also the roller frame by Arkwright into a spinning machine, which he referred to as the mule. It worked in the production of a thread that had a better strength and fineness that the roller frame or the jenny. The improvement made to the spinning machines called demanded improvement in weaving. Thus in 1785 Edmund Cartwright patented the power loom thus inhibiting the improvement of the loom (Mantoux, 2006). A lot of other machines had a huge contribution to the development of the of the textile industry during this period. Thomas Bell from Glasgow, in 1785 made an invention of the cylinder printing that was done on cotton goods. This played a huge role in the block printing. By reduced the cost and made successive impressions of a particular design quickly.
As the textile industry machinery was developing, there was also progress being made in other fields. James Watt in 1763 developed the steam engine which was instrument in the transportation of raw materials to industries and also ready made goods. The sectors that first used the steam engines were the in the mining industries on coal and iron. The steam engines were instrument in coal mines as they were used to pump water out that had flooded the deep shafts in the mines. They were used in the iron industry for pumping water so as to create a draft in blast furnaces.
With the benefits of the industrial revolution, the working conditions changed and also did the social and political conditions. Those who previously were artisans and farm laborers moved to go work in the industries and be industrial workers. This contributed to the growth of cities and a decline in the number of farmers. The population in Europe also begun to grow rapidly, this was after the half of the 18th century. This was caused by the improvement in sanitation and increase in medical knowledge; this is because it led to low infant mortality and an increase in life expectancy.
The life of the workers changed greatly, the machines reduced the burden of hard labor from the use of muscles in human beings to the use of machines. Changing from the domestic industry to the new system of the factory meant the workers had to lose their independence (Braudel, 1992).. When it was domestic labor they could have worked whenever they wanted but with the factory system, they were controlled, they also had to live near the factories, most of the times it was in slums. The works had to work continuously at speed that the machines set. Most jobs were held by women and children who worked for monotonous long hour and caused them a lot of hardships.
The industrial revolution in Europe soon spread to the rest of the world and there were huge changes in how production of goods was done. The bulk of the revolution happened between the years 1725 to 1789, this was an important period to the growth of the world technology and industry as we know it today (Hudson, 1992).