The term of industrial revolution history essay

The term of Industrial Revolution is normally reserved as a set of events that occurred in Britain roughly from 1760 to 1830. The Industrial Revolution brought about a “ modern” economy in which technological progress did not just happen from time to time in isolated sectors but became a sustained and continuous process, resulting eventually in unprecedented economic growth and increases in living standards in much of the world. Its effects led to a full reformation of production, consumption, locational patterns, international relations, demographic behavior and almost every aspect of the human condition.

One of the famous inventions of the Industrial Revolution was the steam engine. The first steam engine prototype was built by a Frenchman named Denis Papin, but the first useful atmospheric steam engine was built in 1712 by Thomas Newcomen. Newcomen engines which noisy and voracious in their fuel use was served mostly as pumps. The conversion of steam engine unto a source of industrial power was the Scottish inventor James Watt who introduced improvements to the steam engine. Watt turned steam power from an atmospheric pump to a true steam engine. A high-pressure engine was then developed which provided increased power from lighter and smaller engines counterparts and thus ideal for transportation. After years of experimentation, they were successfully adapted to locomotives by Robert and George Stephenson in 1825.

A second industry often acknowledged with the most dynamic aspects of the technology of this time is textiles. By the middle of the eighteenth century, cotton was a small and rather unimportant sideshow in the British textile industry, famous for its woolens. Cotton’s growth during the Industrial Revolution was truly amazing. Value added in cotton went from less than half a million pounds in 1760 to around 25 million in the mid- 1820s. It is no wonder that some economic historians have thought of this industry as the “ leading sector” in the Industrial Revolution. The reason for this success was cotton’s physical characteristics. It lent itself uniquely to mechanization and mass production and produced a good that was of even quality, attractive and above all inexpensive.

A third area in which the Industrial Revolution achieved major advances was iron making. One important innovation was the use of new fuels in the smelting of iron core in blast furnaces. The replacement of charcoal by coke (purified coal) in blast furnaces remedied the costly need to access remote forest areas. Blast furnaces became bigger, hotter and more efficient as more powerful machinery was used to blow air into furnaces.

The Second industrial revolution is known as the Technological Revolution and it was followed on First Industrial Revolution. The second revolution was started from 1870 until 1960 and it was developed rapidly in Western Europe country, United States and Japan. During that period, electricity became the primary source of power for factories and they used the power of electricity to develop different types of technology. The power of electricity caused the factory can produce the large amount of goods in the shortest time and lower cost.

The second industrial revolution, it was more force on the steels, railroads, electricity and chemical development.


Furthermore, the first lowest cost industrial process for the mass-production of steel from molten pig iron was developed and the process known as Bessemer process. In the early 20th century, the Siemens-Martin furnace was replaced the Bessemer process to produce the steel. The Siemens-Martin furnace which was used in the open hearth process and the open hearth furnace allowed recycling of scrap iron and steel. Due to easy to control the quality of steel, the open hearth process becomes the steel making process in early 20th century.


During the industrial revolution more fuels were used to generate the energy such as coals, whale oils, vegetable oils and tallow In the second industrial revolution, the kerosene was discovered could be extracted from crude oil and it could be used as a light and heating fuel. Besides, the kerosene lighting also more efficient and less expensive compare to other oils. The kerosene was used to generate energy in the factory until it replaced by the electricity.


In the second industrial revolution the transportation was improved after the inexpensive steel was developed. After the steel rails were developed, the building of railroads was increasing rapidly and until the railroads were overtaking the steamboats operating on the river become the main transport infrastructure. The cost of shipping by using railroads also much cheaper compare to steamboats. During that period, a few canals were developed, for example Kiel Canal and Panama Canal. The Kiel Canal which was connected the North Sea to the Baltic Sea and Panama Canal which was provided access from one side of the Americas to the other without the need to sail around the tip of South America.

In abstract, the Industrial Revolution not only brought positive effect but also negative effect on economy, social and politic. The detailed positive and negative effects on economy, social and politic were examined and discussed.



Economy’s effect

The industrial revolution is a transition from an agricultural to an industrial and causes a huge change in the economy, society and politics of the world. During the revolution period most economic systems were changing, for example the factory system replaced the domestic system. Besides, many new foreign markets were opened at that time and the standard of living also increased most people were moving from village to city. But the industrial revolution also brought some negative effect on the earth like the environment pollution.


In the 18th century, the steam engine began to appear and driving factory machinery. The steam engine could produce more power with less energy and it can be said is a moving force behind the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution also caused the requirement of the machinery in the factory increase. Hence several machine tools were developed during the period. Since the machine work more efficiently and faster than human, it causes mass production of goods and lead the manufacturing cost of the goods reduce. Due to low cost of manufacture, the consumer can spend more to buy the goods and this had promoted the economic development.

Expansion of World Trade

The industrial revolution also caused the expansion of the world trade. Because of the higher efficiency of the machine, the production of the goods increase and the goods were produced more than could be consumed internally. So those, the industrialized nation start to seek a new foreign market. Besides, the mass production of the goods caused the raw material consume fast and the industrialized nation need to buy many raw materials from the foreign markets.

Factory System

Furthermore, during the revolution period the factory system was used to replace the putting-out system. The factory system was changed the craftsman labor to mechanized production and the machine can produce a huge number of goods with high quality and lower cost. Besides, the goods not only can supply in the local market also sold to a worldwide market. In the factory system, the workers were paid daily wages or for piece work and the large power-driven machine owned by the capitalist. During the revolution period, an assembly line was developed by Henry Ford between 1908 and 1915. The method is a conveyor belt carry the work to the worker and the worker keep stationary to create the finished product. The assemble line also saving the production time because the worker don’t need move to the work and each worker specializes in one part.

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Figure 2. 1 Assemble Line

Industrial Capitalism

Before the industrial revolution, most of the rural family had their own farms or garden and they can use their hand tools to make their own food or goods. The unemployment was rare during that period and most of the people were working in the agriculture. But during the industrial revolution a capitalism system was applied, It was an economic system based on the private ownership of capital goods and the creation of the goods were used to make a profit. In this system the worker become rely entirely on their employers for their livelihoods. Because all the workers were working in a factory that supplied by the capitalists, so there no more small family farms and day-laboring for a neighboring farmer to provide extra food or to earn extra money. During the economic depression, the worker had nowhere to go for sustenance because they already lose their ability to produce the goods without the machine.

Besides, due to the mass production of goods in the big corporation, the small manufacturers can’t compete with the large corporations. The mass production of goods caused the price of the goods low and the customers will buy the goods from the big corporations. This caused the big corporations control all the markets and influence the government. In this system, the worker had to fight for decent wages and working condition because the wages of worker very low and the working places were very worse.

Environment Pollution

During the era of the revolution, the environment of the earth was polluted most of forest tree were cut down to build the factory or to use in production. The lack of the trees will increase of the earth and cause global warming. Furthermore, the factory emitted the toxic gases to the environment without passing through the filtering process. The toxic gases will cause the people sick and damage the ozone layer of the earth. The industrial revolution not only polluted the air, it also polluted the water. At that time, most of waste products and sewage which content a toxic substance was emitted straightly to the river and caused the water pollution.

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Figure 2. 2 The Average Global Temperature

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Figure 2. 3 Air Pollution during Industrial Revolution



Size of Cities

The growth of the factory system attracted numerous jobseekers to cities speeded up the process of urbanization. Millions of people left farms to work in cities near the coal and iron fields. Factories were built near sources of energy. For illustration, the population of Manchester rose from 25000 in 1772 to 303000 by 1850. The number of cities with population of 50000 or more in England increased from 3 in 1785 to 31 in 1860.

Living Conditions

The Industrial Revolution was accompanied by rapid urbanization. The population in industrial town grew at unprecedented rates. There were lack of sanitary codes and no building codes controlled the growth of England’s cities. Water and housing were scare. No drain and regularly garbage collection in most of the streets. Moreover, the air quality in the cities was especially unhealthy. The smoke came from the steam-powered factories covered the streets.

People lived in dark, dirty shelters, whole families crowding into one bedroom. Not surprisingly, epidemics were widespread. Cholera epidemics regularly swept through the Great Britain’s industrial cities. There were also people killed by smallpox, dysentery and typhus.

However, the conditions improved as the public health acts has been proposed and enforced. In 1848, Parliament passed laws that enforced city councils to clean streets. Furthermore, lot of other benefits included cheaper consumer goods, better housing, healthier diet and cheaper mass produced clothing.

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Figure 3. 1 Living Conditions

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Figure 3. 2 Room Conditions

Working Conditions

Working conditions were terrible. The environment around the factory and mines were dangerous and dusty. Terrible accidents frequently occurred because there was no safety was emphasized. People had to work between 12 to 14 hours per day. As many people crowded into the cities, there were many people without jobs. With unemployed people lining up for jobs, employers were able to keep wages very low. Cheap labors are in great demand. Because of this, men, women and even children all had to work in the factories just to survive. Women and children were preferred as workers because they could pay less.

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Figure 3. 3 Working Condition

Industry also posed new dangers in work. Factories were seldom well-lit or clean. Machines injured workers in countless ways. A boiler might explode or a drive belt might catch the worker’s arm. And there was no government program to provide aid in case of injury. The most dangerous conditions of all were found in the coal mines. Frequent accidents, damp conditions and the constant breathing of coal dust caused the miner’s life span normally shorter than that of other workers.

However, the British government introduced the Factory Act of 1833 to restrict the working age and hours over child labor. In long term, the working conditions improved while better working environment, higher wages and shorter working hours.



Decrease of The Landed Aristocracy

Before 1700 in Europe, the society was basically the landed aristocracy and monarchs based, which means the dominant power was owned by lords and dukes who had the authority towards the land. In 18th century, people no longer applied vassalage in Europe, however, phenomena of peasants worked under lords who owned the land was still exist. The wealth of a person was based on the number of land he owned and the agriculture produced by his land. Hence the pleasant were either worked for lords in the land or rented land from lords.

After Industrial Revolution, the factories were able to bring more profit and wealth compared with land, which means owners of factories became wealthier than land owners. Hence, the power of land aristocracy reduced whereas the middle class, which was the worker for factories started to rise up. Industrialists became richer and they started to have more political power.

The Corn Laws were enacted to increase the price of agricultural products as requested by the landowners and agriculturalists in 1815. However, the increase of the corns’ prices was not affordable by the lower class society which then requested to repeal the Corn Laws. Since, most of the wages of workers were spent on the corn, in 1846, the Corn Laws was repealed and prices of the corns were decreased. Lords, dukes, landowners and agriculturalists were then had declined of their profits, wealth and prestige of landed aristocracy, caused the lost of their political power after this.

Democracy Growth

The begun of Industrial Revolution had caused the growth of middle class people who were the workers that worked in the industries and factories. The number of middle class people was increased rapidly and they were started to fight for their right. The issues such as the working environment and working hours were strived by them and they were given chances to voice out they right in government. From here we can see that the government was started to be more to democracy in those day. The power of economic and politic were started to shifted to middle working classes people and capitalists.

There was one incident that had strengthened the spirit of democracy in England, which was a working class movement known as Chartist Movement that contributed in reformed the politic in Britain between 1838 to 1848. The below are the six reforms formed in the movement that make Britain more democracy:

A vote for every man over the age of 21

A secret ballot

No property qualification for members of Parliament

Payment for MP’s (so poor men could serve)

Constituencies of equal size

Annual elections for Parliament

Increased Power of Industrialized nations and Business People

Power usually come with wealth, if you have more money, you can easily get more power. As the imperialism expanded in Britain and industrial countries of Europe, industrialized nations had established their forces to obtain and to defend their assets. Industrial Revolution helped business people to gain wealth. Those people were working class and middle class, with wealth they had gained, they gained political power and rights in government. Those people were known as “ captains of industry” or “ robber barons”.

Increased of Government Involvement in Society

During Industrial Revolution, government had done a lot of things to the society. Government had helped to protect the benefits of workers, for example, government had legalized the unions of the working men. Trade unions were formed among the workers in order to protect their rights against their employers. One important union formed near 19th century was General Federation of British Trade Union, which allowed them to communicate with other unions in other Europe countries. Trade unions also able to involve in political structure and economical activities of the society later on.

Government had enacted laws to establish minimum wage, the facilities and well being of working environment, and took care of women and children rights in industry. A few Factory Laws were enacted by the government and children were prohibited to be employed in some industry to ensure their safety and rights. Moreover, government had contributed in concerning the security of the society during the Industrial Revolution.

Besides, government also helped to take care of the benefits of consumers and businesses. Government had set rules to protect consumers with the regulation and inspection of the food and goods. Government had enacted laws to avoid monopolies in business and industry. Furthermore, vital industries were controlled by some of the governments.

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Figure 4. 1 Trade union demonstrators

The following shows some of the Factory Laws enacted by the government:


Act or Investigation



Health and Morals of Apprentices Act

Hours of work were limited to 12 per day, with no night work allowed.

Employers were to provide education, decent clothing and accommodation.

Inspectors were to enforce the Act and appoint visitors.

For all textile factories employing over 20 persons, proper ventilation was to be provided and mills were to be whitewashed twice a year.


Factory Act

No children under 9 were to work in factories (silk mills exempted).

Children under 13 years were to work no more than 9 hours per day and 48 hours per week.

Children under 18 were not to work nights.

4 paid Inspectors were appointed.

Two 8-hour shifts per day of children were to be allowed.


Factory Act

Women and young persons (13-18) were to work no more than 12 hours per day.

Children under 13 were to work no more than 6 1/2 hours per day.

No child under 8 was to be employed.


Factory Act

Women and young persons were to work no more than 10 hours per day.


Factory Act

Women and young person to work in factories only between the hours of 6 a. m. and 6 p. m. or 7 a. m. and 7 p. m.


Factory Act

Children were only to work during the same hours as women and young persons.


Bleach and Dye Works Act

This extended existing provisions to bleach and dye works.


Factory Acts Extension Act

Extended the previous acts to cover more industry types.


Factory Act

Extended the Factory Acts to all industries.

No child anywhere under the age of 10 was to be employed.

10-14 year olds could only be employed for half days.

Women were to work no more than 56 hours per week (Factory Legislation 1802-1878).

Nationalism and Imperialism Aroused

Industrial Revolution caused the rise of industries and factories in Britain and other Europe countries and this required a huge demand of raw materials to feed their industry. Hence, Britain and other industrial countries of Europe were looking for more amount of raw materials for the increased of production in industries in other countries of Asia and Africa. Colonization of those countries by the industrialized nations was expanded and left many impacts to the colonies. Industrialized countries fought with each other to get more lands and also having war with local peoples in order to conquered their lands and get the desired raw materials.

The bad impacts for the local people were their normal life was affected and some of them lost their life in fought back the industrialized countries and the ruthless exploitation of raw materials also affected the life quality of local people. However, there was also good impact that Britain and other Europe countries helped those colonies in brought in industrialization to their lands.

The expanded of industrialized countries with found more colonies had influenced them to find more colonies and lands in order to fulfil the demanded raw materials. Government had realized the important of nationalism and imperialism, by expanding their colonial empire, the growth of the industrial can be guaranteed and the wealth of country can be increased as well.

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Figure 4. 2 Local people killed



5. 1 Recommendations

B) If you have choice would you wish to see these two industrial revolutions ever happened?

Why? Discuss.

According to our opinions, we could neither agree nor disagree the existence of industrial revolution. While industrial revolution had lead our industrial world to positive changes, there is no doubt that it also bring harms to us. We could only conclude that the industrial revolutions had brought great contributions and also destruction at the same time in every aspect.

First and second industrial revolutions were the origin reasons for a lot of technologies advancement for present day. Both of the revolution had brought advantages to our society. In the very beginning, the industrial revolution had shifted the human small villages’ economic life to the towns or cities where the factories located. This scenario occurred was due to the development of the factory system. This development had replaced the domestic system of production.

The production output of domestic system was only a small amount and usually could not keep up with demand. Hence the products could be sold only in local market. Through the presence of factory system, the level of production had tremendously increased and could be sold to worldwide. The self-sufficient and isolated villages life had came to an end. The villages and cities became dependent to each other. People were able to involve and develop their skills and ability other than farming and gardening.

Figure 5. 1 Machinery Increase the Production Rate

Furthermore, transportation revolution had helped the country to expand dramatically. Before the industrial revolution, canal barges, horses and human powered ships were the main transport for men. After the industrial revolution, trains, steamship, automobiles and extra had been invented to fasten the country development. Steamboat was a great invention by Robert Fulton in 1807 that rapidly accelerated the transportation revolution. People were able to sails further for trade purposes.

Apart from waterway, people were also improved their dirt and gravel roads to macadamized road which could support heavier load. The creation of railroads pushes the industrial growth to another stage. It was a cheap way for manufactures to transport raw materials as well as the finishing products. This had boosted the England’s agriculture industries.

In addition, transportation revolution had also created new job opportunities for both miners and railroads worker. People were now able to travel easier to cities in much more efficient way. To keep up with such rapid movement, communication system had also changed. Invention of telegraph, telephone and atlantic cable allowing messages and human speech to travel almost instantly. Communication revolution was connecting the world among each other. Above were the few reasons for us to support the existence of industrial revolution.

Figure 5. 2 Transportation Revolution

But not everything can just come with only good side. Although the living standard was better than previous situation, factory system had raised some critical issues. During first and second industrial revolutions, workers were facing very bad condition. The introduction of this system had caused the workers no longer owned the mean of production. Most of their jobs were replaced by machine. The advancement of technologies had cause the unemployment rate boost up.

Furthermore, the rising of factory system had caused the cities became crowded, dark and smoky. Earth environment and workers health had been threatened by the industrial revolution. The workers suffered from long working hours, low salary and also unsafe working condition. They were forced to do hard work from dawn to dusk. The employers even hired young children and women to work with dangerous machinery. They were employed to put men out of work because they were paid less for the same work. Women and children labours were badly exploited.

Figure 5. 3 Children Labors

Apart from that, workers were also facing a problem of poor living condition. Employers were only care for their own benefits regardless of employees’ rights. They built towns and houses for workers nearby factories. Employers will then charged the workers with higher rental fees as well as the groceries prices. Those workers often became indebted to their employers and workers had to stay at their jobs to pay their debts. This situation had caused the society divided into rich and poor. The rich got richer and able to own more capital goods such as factories and banks. On the other hands, the poor got poorer, their lost their freedom and independency. All this criteria will only worsen the workers condition.

Figure 5. 4 Slum Living Condition

Industrial revolution had also giving an irreversible impact to our mother earth. The growth of industries for mass production had cause depletion for some natural resources. Example for the depletion was deforestation. Trees were cleared to build factories, wildlife habitats became uprooted. Burning of coal and iron polluted the cities and cause health problems. The carbon emission rate had increase badly. Oxygen level of the air could not be refreshed due to the lack of forest. Global warming was then became a primary issue as a result from pollution and carbon emission. Rising of temperature cause the glaciers to melt and oceans were rising. More and more animal species will start to extinct.

Figure 5. 5 Smoke Pollution

In order to increase the production rate, increasing need of raw materials was a must. Imperialism started to expand. The industrial nations expanded their empires to search for more raw materials. They fought the peoples in the land to take over the control power. They fought among each other just to spread their sphere of influence. Wealth and industrial growth became their primary consideration. This led the outbreak of conflict and war. The harmony life among human was threatened. This kind of tragedy was the reasons for me to stand against the existence of first and second industrial revolutions.

5. 2 Conclusion