The Industrial Revolution started during the late 18th and early 19th centuries in GreatBritain. It then spread to the rest of Europe, North America and finally to the whole of theworld. It is termed as a revolution as it brought about a sea of change in the way peoplelived and worked. It was marked by technological and industrial developments that affectedevery aspect of human life, from economic to social changes. Industries and factoriesprovided an alternate to farming and animal rearing, which till then had been the onlysource of employment.People moved out of villages to the towns and cities where they worked in mills andfactories. They stopped making goods of daily use at home and started living inindustrialized societies, manufacturing and buying commodities made in factories andindustries. Such changes were brought about by certain inventions that brought aboutimportant social and political changes.
Inventions During the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was the result of a number scientific inventions that led to themechanization of the textile industry, improved roads and railway networks anddevelopment of iron making techniques. Some of the important inventions are as follows:
The Spinning Jenny:
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Britain had a large textileindustry in which the artisans worked at home using the spinning wheel and thehand loom. However, the traditional methods of producing yarn restricted large-scale production of goods. With the invention of the spinning jenny by JamesHargreaves, artisans could spin almost 120 threads together instead of one thread ata time.
The Water Frame:
The water frame which was developed by Thomas Highs andlater patented by Richard Arkwright in 1769, was a spinning frame that could be runby water. The water frame provided more power to the spinning frame than thoseoperated by human beings. Hence, not only did it reduce the amount of human laborrequired, it also increased the spindle count and provided stronger thread than thespinning jenny.
The Cotton Gin:
The cotton gin that was invented by Eli Whitney, an Americaninventor. The gin allowed large-scale separation of cotton seeds from the cottonball, that otherwise had to be separated by hand, a task that was carried out by theslaves on the American cotton plantations.
The Steam Engine:
The drawback of the water frame was that it required a watersource close to the factory. This problem was overcome by the steam engine thatwas invented by James Watson. Though, mainly known for its use in running atrain, the power of steam was also used to run machinery in factories and mines.
The power of steam was used by Richard Trevithick running carriageson the roads. In 1804, he used steam power to run locomotives on rails. GeorgeStephenson, an engineer in the mining industry further developed more powerfullocomotives in 1814 that helped establish the first two rail lines in England in 1825and 1830.