Industrial Revolution Essay, Research Paper
Great Britain, as well as many other European countries went through a time of great change in the mid-1700 s. This time of great change is known as the Industrial Revolution. While many countries were in shock as a result of the big changes going on, Great Britain was prepared for the big change. Britain had a large number of able workers and entrepreneurs. Also, Britain was rich in natural resources, had many fine harbors and markets, and plenty of extra money. Although this time period raised the standard of living and made work less difficult, life became harder for some farmers and some small business owners.
Agriculture was boosted to a new level in this time period. New inventions made farming easier and more efficient. Jethro Tull invented the mechanical drill in 1701. This drill made holes in soil and put seeds in the holes. This saved farmers a lot of time. Tull also invented the horse-drawn hoe, which loosened up soil and helped to make plants grow faster. Charles Townshend made the first fertilizer by mixing clay and lime into soil. This enabled farmers to use already used land. Townshend also taught farmers how to grow turnips, which could be used to feed livestock during the winter.
Agriculture wasn t the only thing that received a big boost during the industrial revolution. The textile industry improved rapidly because of a few spectacular inventions. John Kay invented the flying shuttle in 1733. This sped up the weaving process. In the 1760 s, James Hargreaves invented the spinning Jenny, which let spinners turn out more thread in a shorter period of time. Later on that decade, Richard Arkwright invented the water frame, which used running water to run a spinning machine. In 1793, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. The cotton gin tore the fibers from cottonseeds.
The iron-making process also progressed during this time of great change. In the 1780 s, Henry Cort patented the puddling furnace. This invention helped to sterilize iron by burning away impurities. This process produced better quality iron 15 times faster than the old process. One of the most important inventions though, was the creation of the steam engine. This source of energy, created by James Watt, was soon used as the main source of power in all factories. George Stephenson invented the locomotive in 1829. It used steam to run and moved at an impressive speed of 16 miles per hour. Later on, in the 1850 s, William Kelly and Henry Bessemer created the Bessemer process, which created steal from iron. This was a great way of making quality items.
Despite all these great inventions, the industrial revolution brought along many frowns, mostly on the faces of small farmers. Wealthy landowners started buying out small farmers who did not have the money to experiment with new equipment. The landowners also started fencing in public lands that village people had once shared with each other. This was one example of the enclosure movement. As estates grew larger, poor villagers lost their means of making a living. They depended on the village lands that were being taken away from them. Some became beggars and farm hands. Others went to the overcrowded cities in search of work. Since the cities were so crowded, disease spread rapidly. Many people were forced to leave their countries due to overpopulation. While on ships leaving their countries, many emigrants faced famine and disease.
The industrial revolution raised the quality of life for some people, but lowered it for others. Unfortunately, it resulted in many people getting sick, becoming poor, or being forced out of their countries. In the years following the industrial revolution, many inventions were improved upon and made safer for people to use. Slowly, the quality of life started to rise up again for everyone.