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The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
Richard W. Bulliet, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northrup
History WIRED

The Early Industrial Revolution, 1760-1851


Industrial Trails
These series of interactive maps take you on a virtual tour of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.


Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia, British History 1700-1950: The Textile Industry
This comprehensive site presents numerous images of the people, technology, machinery, and towns associated with the industrialization of the textile industry.

The Industrial Revolution: Cotton Textiles
This site offers several diagrams on the mechanical and technological developments in cotton textile manufacturing in Great Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

Illustrations of Textile Manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution: Key Technological Innovations
Some excellent historical illustrations of textile machinery can be found at this site.

The Industrial Revolution
Within this site are numerous images depicting changes in the manufacturing of iron during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

The Newcomen Engine
This site's essay includes several detailed sketches of this early steam engine.

James Watt
Included with this site's essay are several images of Watt's steam engine and laboratory.

The Amazing Animated Steam Engine
Watch the process by which various steam engines operated at this great site.

Montgolfier Ballon
This site presents two images of the world's first hot-air balloon, an eighteenth-century invention.

Charles Babbage
This site's exploration of this nineteenth-century British inventor's life features a few images of his Analytical Engine, which was an early version of a computer.

Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia, British History 1700-1900: Railways in the Nineteenth Century
At this site you can find images of many early trains, including George Stephenson's The Rocket.

Modern History Sourcebook: The Spread of Railways in the Nineteenth Century
This site offers several colorful charts to illustrate the railroad boom that occurred in the Western world after 1830.

Images of Crystal Palace

The Iron Bridge Gorge
This site offers contemporary images of the first cast-iron bridge, located near Telford, Great Britain.

American Inventors and Inventions
Among other items, this site presents a few images of nineteenth-century telegraphs.

Modern History Sourcebook: Tables Illustrating the Spread of Industrialization
These charts focus on the industrialization of the West until 1913.

Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia, British History 1700-1900: Child Labor
This site provides many historical illustrations of life in nineteenth-century British factories.

Activity One:

The authors of Bulliet, et al., The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition) spend much time exploring the causes of the Industrial Revolution. One important theme that they highlight is the importance of the expansion of trade during the eighteenth century. You might want to review Trade and Inventiveness on page 600. When considering trade, the authors are not referring to the increase in trade within Great Britain alone as a source of the Industrial Revolution, but rather to the global revolution in trade that began with the maritime revolution of the fifteenth century (see Chapter 17, The Maritime Revolution to 1550). Industrialization was a global process from its beginning. To explore this important theme further, go to A Taste of Empire. As you read this article, reflect on the ways in which the increased consumption of tea, tobacco, and sugar in Great Britain contributed to the Industrial Revolution. Consider significant developments associated with the expansion of global trade, such as financial innovations, increased wealth, and the proliferation of the middle class. Also review Mass Production: Pottery on pages 602-603 of the textbook. After reading this section, explain the importance of the advances in global commercial relations that you have explored in Chapters 17 through 22, to the Industrial Revolution that began in Great Britain during the late nineteenth century.

Activity Two:

In terms of technology, the most important stimulus of the Industrial Revolution was the development of the steam engine, which created energy to propel machines, boats, and trains. However, the process that produced this machinery did not emerge overnight; it took more than a century for entrepreneurs to realize the engine's full potential and for mechanical engineers to perfect its operation. To begin analyzing this process, go to The Miner's Friend and study the page's text and images. Then click on the hyperlinked section "To the Gentlemen Adventurers in the Mines of England" and read that text. Also click on the word "Description" at the bottom of the page and review that site, which is a sales brochure. What is its author, Thomas Savory, selling and why does he call his product "the engine for raising water by fire"? Who is his audience and what strategy is he using to convince these people that they need his product? Thomas Savory, who marketed a machine that could pump water out of coal mines, was one of many engineers who contributed to the development of the steam engine. Next, go to The Newcomen Engine. After reading this site's material, explain Thomas Newcomen's major improvement to the steam engine? Now go to James Watt 1736-1819. (Be sure to click on the hyperlinks here and watch the animation of Watt's steam engines.) Discuss how Watt improved the steam engine and explain what factors allowed him to spend so much time developing this technology? Do you think that these factors demonstrate that more and more people were using this machine? How did the introduction of steam revolutionize coal mining in Great Britain during the eighteenth century?

Aside from reducing the costs of heating homes, the increase in coal production made possible by the use of steam engines greatly affected other sectors of the British economy during the eighteenth century, particularly the manufacturing of iron. To understand this development, go to The Industrial Revolution: Andrew Darby. After reading the brief introduction, click on "Next Page" at the bottom of the screen and read the next section, "When was coal first used at Coalbrookdale?" Again, click on "Next Page" at the page's bottom and then read the next section, "Reynolds and the Reverbatory Furnace." How did entrepreneurs utilize the increase in coal production to improve the production of iron? What technological developments occurred in iron production during the eighteenth century? What was iron used for during this period? Discuss how improvements in iron production affected the British economy. Do you think that there were new uses for iron as a result of the changes in production? You might want to examine Invention of cast-iron rails by Reynolds and The First Iron Bridge for clues.

Another area of the British economy revolutionized by steam engines was textile manufacturing. Read the essay and study the images at The Industrial Revolution: The Growth of Cottage Industry; then check out the links provided there. Discuss the cottage industry by focusing on the following questions. How and where were most cotton textiles produced in Great Britain before the introducion of the steam engine? At that time what eighteenth-century technological developments had helped to increase the productivity of workers in the cottage industry? These technological advancements had transformed the British textile industry, making Britain one of the world's leading producers of textiles by the end of the eighteenth century. Then steam engines revolutionized--or completely altered--the British textile sector. The introduction of steam disrupted the cottage industry and led to the birth of the factory system. To explore this development further, read Modern History Sourcebook: Richard Guest: The Steam Loom, 1823. Next, view the image at the top of the page entitled "Power Loom Factory of Thomas Robinson Esqr, Stockport (About 1835)" at Illustrations of Textile Manufacture in the Industrial Revolution Key Technological Innovations. Compare and contrast this image with those under the section "How Cottage Industry Works" at The Industrial Revolution: The Growth of Cottage Industry. How did steam engines revolutionize the production of cotton textiles? Did the introduction of steam change the nature of what was produced or how it was produced?

The steam engine also lead to the development of whole new enterprises, particularly in transportation. For example, engineers began fastening steam engines to ships to improve on this existing mode of travel. Some British engineers, however, utilized the steam engine to create the railroad locomotive, a whole new form of transportation. To understand this process better, go to Locomotives of the 19th Century: Steam Locomotives. For more information about the first passenger train, see The Rocket. How did these engineers take advantage of the technological advancements of the previous century? Explain what roles the invention of the steam engine and improvements in iron production and coal mining played in the development of locomotives? What impact did the growth of railroads have on factory owners involved in the textile and the porcelain industries? How did it affect ordinary people?

Activity Three:

In the introduction to this chapter, the authors state that the Industrial Revolution transformed "human life in unprecedented ways." In particular, the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were a pivotal era for women in the Western world. Chapter 23, Revolutionary Changes in the Atlantic World, 1750-1850, points out that the introduction of concepts such as equality and popular sovereignty caused many women to adopt new attitudes and revise their self perceptions. An even stronger influence was the Industrial Revolution, which completely altered most women's lives. Go to Women and World History Curriculum: The Plight of Women's Work in the Early Industrial Revolution in England and Wales. Be sure to examine each document at this site, starting with those relating to textile workers. Next, read the section beginning with historian Stephen Lubar's description of the Lowell textile mills at Mill Workers. For a firsthand account of the Lowell mills in Massachusetts during the early Industrial Revolution in the United States, see Harriet Robinson: Lowell Mill Girls.

After reviewing these sites, answer the following questions. How did the Industrial Revolution alter the lives of the women you read about at these sites? Be sure to consider how much time they spent working and being away from household responsibilities. Why did many employers prefer to hire female labor? Also discuss the reasons why the pay scale for women was lower than it was for male workers, despite the higher demand for female employment. Why do you think that so many women and children were susceptible to the kind of exploitation described in the documents that you examined? Do you think that the early Industrial Revolution gave women greater freedom from family obligations? Were there any attempts during this period to improve the plight of working women? Did these women do anything to improve their own situations?

Activity Four:

Another dramatic transformation caused by the Industrial Revolution was the rapid growth and change in cities. Begin your analysis of this phenomenon by reading the brief essays and firsthand descriptions (where applicable) at Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool. For another firsthand account of Manchester life, see Modern History Sourcebook: Friederich Engels: Industrial Manchester, 1844). Also see The City Transformed: Railroads and their Influence on the Growth of Chicago in the 1850's. While reviewing these sites, consider the following questions. What were these cities like before they were affected by the Industrial Revolution, and what were they like afterwards? What aspect of the Industrial Revolution particularly impacted their growth? Did they expand due to increased manufacturing, the proliferation of the railroads, or their locations near important sources of raw materials such as coal? Perhaps a combination of factors contributed to their expansion. How did observers describe the impact of industrialization on these cities? Did they focus on the increase and amount of newly acquired wealth or on environmental consequences such as poor sanitation and the spread of contagious diseases? After reflecting on these questions, list all of the ways in which industrialization altered the urban landscape. Be sure to think in terms of population, economics, sanitation, transporation, quality of life, and equality of wealth.