The Industrial Revolution

The transformation of industry and economy in Britain between the 1780s and the 1850s was the First Industrial Revolution. Friedrich Engels in German, Georges Michelet in French and Arnold Toynbee in English were the scholars who first used the term ‘Industrial Revolution’. In the 17th century, Wales and Scotland were unified. London was the largest city as well as a city of global trade. The Bank of England was founded in 1694. Coal and Iron ore were important raw materials. Abraham invented the blast furnace in 1709. World’s first iron bridge was built during this period. Flying shuttle loom, spinning jenny, mule, water frame and power loom were major inventions in cotton industry. Thomas Savery built a model steam engine the Miner’s Friend in 1698. James Watt developed a perfect steam engine in 1769 and established the Soho Foundry in Birmingham. James Brindley built the First English Canal in 1761. The ‘canal mania’ prevailed from 1788 to 1796. Railways took the industrialization to the second stage. The first steam locomotive, Stephenson’s Rocket, appeared in 1814. Richard Trevithick devised an engine - the ‘Puffing Devil’ in 1801 and a locomotive - ‘The Blutcher’ in 1814. The First railway line ran between Stockton and Darlington. The ‘little railway mania’ prevailed from 1833 to 1837 and the bigger ‘mania’ from 1844 to 1847. Luddism fought for the workers affected by new machines. The Ten Hours’ Bill was introduced in 1847. The Mines Commission of 1842 was set up to look into the working conditions in mines. The Mines and Colliers Act of 1842 prohibited children and women from working in underground areas. Fielder’s Factory Act in 1847 prohibited children and women from working more than 10 hours a day. In 18th century, England witnessed the “Agricultural Revolution and the process of ‘enclosure’.

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