Industrial Revolution in Europe
The Industrial revolution is defined as the process of change of the economy from one dominated by handicraft and agriculture to one dominated by the machine manufacturing and industry. The process was first started in Britain after 1750 and then spread to most parts of the world. The industrial revolution in Europe describes the Britain's economic development from 1760 to 1840. Before the Industrial revolution, most of the people were living in rural and small communities with farming being their main source of income. Life was difficult for any average person as the income was less and disease and malnourishment were common. Manufacturing was done mainly at homes or in small shops using hand tools.
There were a number of factors that led to Industrial revolution in Britain. The most essential for industrialization were the great deposits of iron ore and coal in Britain. The society of Britain was politically stable and there was unusual high growth in the population in the 18th century which meant there were huge workers, so Britain could serve as the source for raw materials and manufactured goods' marketplace.
Innovation and Industrialization
The textile was particularly transformed by industrialization. The power loom was developed in the 1780s through which the process of weaving clothes was mechanized. The iron industry also saw a huge development where cast-iron was produced using a coke-fueled furnace. Iron and Steel became two essential materials which were used to make tools, machines, appliances, buildings, ships, and infrastructure. The Steam engine was also developed which went on to power machinery, ships, and locomotives.
Transportation industry also saw major changes during the industrial revolution. Steamboats and Steamships were carrying freight across the Atlantic. Steam locomotives also came into use. More than 6000 miles track of railroad was developed in Britain by 1850. A new process for road construction was developed by which more durable, smoother and less muddy roads were constructed.
Banking and Communication in the Industrial Revolution
Telegraphs were invented during the industrial revolution which made communication much easier. There was a faster exchange of commercial information and news than ever before. During the industrial revolution, industrial financiers, and banks also rose and factory systems were also developed which was dependent on managers and owners. The workers started laboring in factories rather than homes or scattered shops in the industrial sector. The stock exchange was established in the 1770s in London. So, during industrial revolution, an economic system was constructed which was based on free enterprise, no interference from government, and the private ownership of the means of production.
Quality of Life during Industrialization
The industrial revolution improved the quality of life and raised the standard of living for a large number of people especially for upper and middle classes. However, for the lower class, life was still full of challenges. Wages for people in factories were less and they often had to work in dangerous conditions. Child labor was very much prevalent. Due to industrialization, machines were used in place of craftsperson. Also, industrialized and urban areas became overcrowded and polluted with unsanitary living conditions.
Industrialization Beyond Britain
Industrialization started spreading to other European countries like France, Belgium, and Germany from Britain. By the middle of the 19th century, Europe's western parts and northeastern region of America has well-established industrialization. U.S. became the world's leading industrial nation by the early 20th century.
Barzun, Jacques. Revolution and the growth of industrial society, 1789–1914. 11 Dec 2015. <http://www.britannica.com/topic/history-of-Europe/Revolution-and-the-growth-of-industrial-society-1789-1914>.
Cipolla, Carlo M. Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy 1000-1700. London: Routledge, 2005.