What encouraged the Industrial Revolution more than the advances in agriculture wasthe improvement in technology. It was the change in technology which greatly contributed to theincrease of production. New technological advancements made factory work and productionfaster. Technology also helped the transportation of products and resources. Some of the earliestinventions took place in Britain. The first inventions were used to increase cotton textile production. The Flying Shuttle was invented in 1733 and the Spinning Jenny in 1764. Alongwith these inventions, Strayer stated how “the great breakthrough was the steam engine, which provided an inanimate and almost limitless source of power beyond that of wind, water, or muscle and could be used to drive any number of machines as well as locomotives andoceangoing ships.”1 Combined with the invention of steel, railroads and steamships provided afast transportation of goods and resources. Inventions also helped the extraction of resourcessuch as iron and coal. In every area of life, technology greatly improved the productioncapabilities of Europe, especially Britain, at the start of the Industrial Revolution.Another step in improving production beyond the advancement in technology was AdamSmith’s ideas on the division of labor. Smith describes about how this new style of productionwhen he says “the greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, and the greater partof the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is anywhere directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour.”2The division of labor was the assigning of specifictasks in the development of a product to one person instead of that one person making the entire product. To make a product today, it goes through an assembly line where every worker
1Robert W. Strayer
Ways of the World A Brief Global History
(Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009)528.2Adam Smith “From the Wealth of Nations” in
Worlds of History A Comparative Reader,
3rdEd., Kevin Reilly (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2007) 235.