First Industrial Revolution

First Industrial Revolution

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The First Industrial Revolution began in England in the late 18th century, following in the wake of James Watt and his steam engine. (A Second Industrial Revolution would occur late in the 19th century and involve the development of the steel industry and giant corporations.)The initial focus of industrialization was on textiles; cloth was needed by almost everyone. Individual families, usually farm wives and daughters, would master one part of the process—spinning, dyeing, weaving and so forth.This decentralized means of production would become obsolete through the actions of such people as Samuel Slater and Francis Cabot Lowell.At the London Exhibition of 1851, although organized to showcase the advances of British science and technology, American industrial successes were for the first time placed on the international stage. A reaper produced by Cyrus McCormick was awarded the Grand Medal and the Council Medal after a demonstration. Charles Goodyear, discoverer of vulcanization, received a medal for some of his applications of rubber.

Industrial Revolution in the United States

The Industrial Revolution was an epoch during the first 100 years of United States history where the economy progressed from manual labor and farm labor to a greater degree of industrialization based on labor. There were many improvements in technology and manufacturing fundamentals with the result that greatly improved overall production and economic growth in the United States. The Industrial Revolution occurred in two distinct phases, the First Industrial Revolution occurred during the latter part of the 18th century through the first half of the 19th century and the Second Industrial Revolution advanced following the Civil War. Among the main contributors to the First Industrial Revolution were Samuel Slater's introduction of British Industrial methods in textile manufacturing to the United States, Eli Whitney’s invention of the Cotton gin, E. I. du Pont’s improvements in chemistry and gunpowder making, and other industrial advancements necessitated by the War of 1812, as well as the construction of the Erie Canal among other developments. [1] [2]

22a. Economic Growth and the Early Industrial Revolution

This drawing depicts men working the lock on a section of the Erie Canal. Find more lyrics like this "I've got a mule, her name is Sal, Fifteen years on the Erie Canal" on this New York State Canals website.

The transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy took more than a century in the United States, but that long development entered its first phase from the 1790s through the 1830s. The Industrial Revolution had begun in Britain during the mid-18th century, but the American colonies lagged far behind the mother country in part because the abundance of land and scarcity of labor in the New World reduced interest in expensive investments in machine production. Nevertheless, with the shift from hand-made to machine-made products a new era of human experience began where increased productivity created a much higher standard of living than had ever been known in the pre-industrial world.

The start of the American Industrial Revolution is often attributed to Samuel Slater who opened the first industrial mill in the United States in 1790 with a design that borrowed heavily from a British model. Slater's pirated technology greatly increased the speed with which cotton thread could be spun into yarn. While he introduced a vital new technology to the United States, the economic takeoff of the Industrial Revolution required several other elements before it would transform American life.

New York Governor DeWitt Clinton pours a bucketful of Lake Erie into the Atlantic Ocean to mark the opening of the Erie Canal in the autumn of 1825.

Another key to the rapidly changing economy of the early Industrial Revolution were new organizational strategies to increase productivity. This had begun with the " outwork system " whereby small parts of a larger production process were carried out in numerous individual homes. This organizational reform was especially important for shoe and boot making. However, the chief organizational breakthrough of the Industrial Revolution was the " factory system " where work was performed on a large scale in a single centralized location. Among the early innovators of this approach were a group of businessmen known as the Boston Associates who recruited thousands of New England farm girls to operate the machines in their new factories.

The most famous of their tightly controlled mill towns was Lowell, Massachusetts , which opened in 1823. The use of female factory workers brought advantages to both employer and employee. The Boston Associates preferred female labor because they paid the young girls less than men. These female workers, often called " Lowell girls ," benefited by experiencing a new kind of independence outside the traditional male-dominated family farm.

The rise of wage labor at the heart of the Industrial Revolution also exploited working people in new ways. The first strike among textile workers protesting wage and factory conditions occurred in 1824 and even the model mills of Lowell faced large strikes in the 1830s.

Dramatically increased production, like that in the New England's textile mills, were key parts of the Industrial Revolution, but required at least two more elements for widespread impact. First, an expanded system of credit was necessary to help entrepreneurs secure the capital needed for large-scale and risky new ventures. Second, an improved transportation system was crucial for raw materials to reach the factories and manufactured goods to reach consumers. State governments played a key role encouraging both new banking institutions and a vastly increased transportation network. This latter development is often termed the Market Revolution because of the central importance of creating more efficient ways to transport people, raw materials, and finished goods.

Alexander Hamilton's Bank of the United States received a special national charter from the U.S. Congress in 1791. It enjoyed great success, which led to the opening of branch offices in eight major cities by 1805. Although economically successful, a government-chartered national bank remained politically controversial. As a result, President Madison did not submit the bank's charter for renewal in 1811. The key legal and governmental support for economic development in the early 19th century ultimately came at the state, rather than the national, level. When the national bank closed, state governments responded by creating over 200 state-chartered banks within five years. Indeed, this rapid expansion of credit and the banks' often unregulated activities helped to exacerbate an economic collapse in 1819 that resulted in a six-year depression . The dynamism of a capitalist economy creates rapid expansion that also comes with high risks that include regular periods of sharp economic downturns.

The use of a state charter to provide special benefits for a private corporation was a crucial and controversial innovation in republican America. The idea of granting special privileges to certain individuals seemed to contradict the republican ideal of equality before the law. Even more than through rapidly expanded banking institutions, state support for internal transportation improvements lay at the heart of the nation's new political economy. Road, bridge, and especially canal building was an expensive venture, but most state politicians supported using government-granted legal privileges and funds to help create the infrastructure that would stimulate economic development.

The most famous state-led creation of the Market Revolution was undoubtedly New York's Erie Canal . Begun in 1817, the 364-mile man-made waterway flowed between Albany on the Hudson River and Buffalo on Lake Erie. The canal connected the eastern seaboard and the Old Northwest. The great success of the Erie Canal set off a canal frenzy that, along with the development of the steamboat, created a new and complete national water transportation network by 1840.


The invention of the steam engine train was a pivotal moment during the first industrial revolution. The train transformed the way that people traveled and assisted in the transportation of goods. George Stephenson was an English engineer that helped change transportation by making trains and railroads. The British Broadcasting Corporation explains, “In 1821, Stephenson was appointed engineer for the construction of the Stockton and Darlington railway. It opened in 1825 and was the first public railway. […] The opening of the Stockton to Darlington railway […] stimulated the laying of railway lines and the construction of locomotives all over the country.” His models also influenced technology and transportation in America. The first industrial revolution is often characterized by English inventions and ideas spreading and developing in America, which is the case with the train and can be seen with the GIS map from ArcGIS. There are two layers of the map. The red is of the railroads in America in the 1840’s, and the purple lines represent the railroads in the 1850’s. There are significantly more railroads in 1850 than there are in 1840. This shows that the train was very effective, so more railroads were made in America. The train not only transformed America, it transformed England as well. Both images from Aspects of the Industrial Revolution in Britain show the changes trains brought with them. The first one from 1848 shows the social reform that was brought. It exemplifies the progress that came. The second one from 1841-45 shows a broken stage coach. In the background a train is going by, showing how trains were the future. Overall, trains radically changed the way that people lived in America and England. Trains and railroads brought social change and helped transport goods faster and farther than ever before.

First Industrial Revolution Phase 1

In the history of project management the end of the 18th century witnessed colossal changes in the Western World with industrial revolutions and with this the birth of management principles in the commercial world, to become the backbone of project management.

In this period in society there are major shifts of power away from the church and the crown to the state. These is also a shift in wealth from the very rich (land owning) towards the upper middle and middle class (merchants and commercial). Large projects are now more likely to be sponsored by state and commercial interests rather than the crown. The industrial revolution began to pick up pace in 1750. The revolution started with evolution of steam power and the steam engine, which took many decades. This was a solution looking for a problem and it was applicable to many industries, the first were textiles and mining.

The advances in science in the 17th century created a better understanding of materials and spurred advances in the field of engineering. The advances in technology changed the cost of materials, for example, by 1840 iron became so cheap it started to replace clay and wooden pipes.

The industrial revolutions of the 18th century was a catalyst for change and had an impact on projects not just new materials that could be assembled more quickly but also where steam replaced muscle. This improved the productivity of labor and advanced all sorts of machines and equipment to handle materials and heavy loads. This evolution led to the transportation revolution of the 19th century with the extensive building of canals, bridges, roads, and rails.

In parallel, the industrial revolution brought in a materials revolution. The production costs of certain building materials like concrete, iron, and glass began to drop and so these gradually replaced more traditional materials. This happened with the use of iron in bridges (1775) and railways (1825) which were to become ground breaking projects as they pushed the limits of new technologies, and ingenious in how they overcame project challenges.

A new bridge was required over the river Severn in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, a centre for iron production. With the availability of cast iron it seemed only logical for the project to use it as it would be considerably lighter than a stone bridge with a larger arch span. Also it would help promote the use of iron, and exemplify a new application for it.

Thomas Pritchard designed the Iron Bridge. Darby a local ironmaster was commissioned to cast and build the bridge. When Darby defined estimates for the project he agreed to fund any overspend and shares were issued to raise the required investments. The team was unfamiliar with connecting large cast-iron pieces together so they used the typical woodworking methods of the era. The joints cast would all be familiar to a carpenter like the mortise and tenons, and dovetails and wedges. This was common through the industrial revolution where an existing practice was used with a new material or technology, in a less than efficient way.

The bridge comprised of more than 800 castings of 12 basic types. The project erection phase was complex and dangerous. Darby under-estimated the project and bore the additional cost of 78 tons of iron (at £3,000 equivalent to three quarters of a million pounds today) plus masonry abutments, and assembly, the rest was covered by an issue of shares. The final cost of building the Bridge was £6,000. He was in debt for the rest of his short life. The bridge was over-designed, and subsequent bridges used far less cast iron.

Because this was the first cast-iron bridge in the world it rapidly became the focus of travelers from all over the world, and was an icon of the "Industrial Revolution." The Sunderland Bridge, that opened in 1796, continued to push bridge building forward. The iron arch was 15 times lighter than an equivalent arch in stone, and its span of 236 feet was far in excess of any single-arched stone bridge in existence. Read about the "History of PM Timelines"

Other Significant Projects in this Era

Although canals have been around for thousands of years canals became a primary form of transport at the outset of the industrial revolution in the UK (circa 1750), and in the U.S. (circa 1800). Through a relatively short period of time canals transformed commerce in the UK Initially, built using laborers. The advent of mechanized equipment like steam shovels changed the approach in the U.S. There is a clear evolution in scale and scope of these structures over time:

  • Bridgewater Canal, 7 km (4 mi), first modern canal in UK, 1759-1761
  • Leeds and Liverpool Canal, 204 km (127 mi), longest canal in UK, 1777-1812
  • Erie Canal, New York, teams of up to 3,000 workers cut a 40-foot wide, four-foot deep trench through 364 miles of wilderness, 1817-1826

Canal Projects Post 1840

Canal building projects continued through the industrial revolutions (1 + 2), and the scope of these became more ambitious:

The Bearing Story – History and the First Industrial Revolution

A bearing is a component used in machine that facilitates motion and reduces friction in the moving parts. It is designed to provide free linear movement or rotation around a fixed axis.

The classification of a bearing depends on the type of operation, the required motion and the applied force.

The most simple classification is a plain bearing, that consists of a shaft rotating in a hole and, the most commonly known bearing is a ball bearing that makes use of balls in between the rings to allow smooth movement at a defined pace.

Likewise, in a roller bearing the elements used are cylindrical, taper or spherical rollers.

Going back on History

The invention of a rolling bearing goes back centuries. The first form being wooden rollers supporting an object for movement, better known as the Wheel.

40BC : A wooden ball bearing supporting a rotating table. This was recovered from the wrecks of the Roman Nemi ships in Lake Nemi, Italy.

Year 1500 : The design and blue print drawings of a helicopter by Leonardo da Vinci incorporated balls bearings. This being the first recorded use of bearings in an aerospace design.

17 th Century : Galileo first described the captured or caged ball bearing.

Mid-1740 : First caged-roller bearing was invented by John Harrison for H3 marine timekeeping. Although it had a limited oscillating motion, he also used the same bearing in a comtemporary regulatory clock.

The Industrial Revolution

Bearings have been an integral part of the

Bearings have been an important integral part of the 1 st Industrial Revolution, its role being to allow the machinery to operate efficiently.

The first plain and rolling element bearings were made of wood followed by bronze.

Over its history bearings have been made of various materials viz. ceramic, sapphire, glass, steel etc as well as plastics which are widely used today.

The sapphire plain bearing was mainly used by watchmakers who produced jeweled watches. It allowed reduced friction this being more precise in time keeping.

The wooden bearings although not very commonly seen, are still used in old clocks and water mills.

1974 : The first modern recorded patent on ball bearings was awarded to a British inventor and ironmaster, Philip Vaughan. His modern design incorporated a ball running along a groove in an axle assembly

1869 : The first patent for radial ball bearing was awarded to a Parisian bicycle mechanic, Jules Suriray. The bearings were fitted out in the winning bicycle used by James Morre at the world’s first bicycle race in Paris-Rouen.

1883 – Witnessed the creation of an independent bearing industry by the founder of FAG, Friedrich Fischer.

1898 : Witnessed the farsightedness of Henry Timken as an innovator in carriage manufacturing, patented the tapered roller bearing. In the subsequent year, Timken established a company to produce his innovation. Over the next century, the company grew manufacturing bearings of all kinds viz. speciality steel as well as an array of related products & services.

1907 – The patent of a modern self-aligning ball bearing was awarded to Sven Wingquist of SKF, design patent No. 25406.

1934 : Invention of wire race bearing. Patent awarded to Erich Franke. After World War II he founded Franke &Heydirch KG a company run together with Gerhard Heydrich, today known as Franke GmbH producing wire race bearings.

1968 : Designed and created vee grooved bearing guide wheels, a linear motion bearing, patent awarded in 1972 to Bishop-Wisecarver’s co-founder Bud Wisecarver.

Early 1980s : The first bi-material plain bearing was invented by Robert Schroeder, founder Pacific Bearing. This bearing had a metal shell, viz. aluminium, steel, stainless steel with a Teflon-base material connected by thin adhesive layer, and was size interchangeable with linear ball bearings.

Today, ball and roller bearings are used in varied industrial applications which include a rotating component. For eg., ultra high speed bearings used in dental drills, gearbox and wheel bearings in automobile industry, flexure bearings in optical alignment mechanisms, bicycle wheel hubs etc.

What was revolutionized?

Industry and Economy

  • The invention of steam power to power the new factory system
  • The textile industry was transformed by the invention of new machines and machine tools, allowing for much higher production at a lower cost
  • Industrial technologies affected farming and contributed to the start of the agricultural revolution
  • The use of coal soared over the traditional charcoal since melting iron ore with coke, a material made by heating coal, was cheaper and produced higher-quality metal, which led coal to eventually replace wood
  • The first canals and then railways allowed workers and materials to be moved cheaper and more efficiently
  • The banking industry developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, providing finance opportunities that allowed the industries to expand.

Society and culture

  • The rapid urbanization led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth, bringing significant challenges such as overcrowded cities suffering from pollution, inadequate sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water Illustration of early textile factory during the First Industrial Revolution.

Early modern global trade and the industrious revolution

In 1500 Asia held three-fifths of the world's population China and India both had larger populations than Europe. Europe had only seven of the world's twenty-five largest cities in 1600, and only six in 1700. Before 1500 parts of the world other than Europe had wealth and knowledge far in advance of Europe's. This changed after the voyages of discovery. From this time on, Europe made an intense investment in trade and the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British invested in colonies and maritime bases. Ships and peoples moved in large numbers from Europe to other continents, and slaves were moved involuntarily from Africa. Europe's economies, and especially its Atlantic economies, became more trade intensive, and long-distance trade grew relative to per capita national income. Trade with Asia between 1500 and 1750 grew over 1 percent annually, and that with the Americas grew at over 2 percent annually. The reasons for this trade intensification lie in the rise of incomes of certain social classes and the part played by non-European and luxury goods in European consumer aspirations. The particular luxury goods brought back on the early voyages changed European diet, dress, and the social customs involved in eating and drinking, making a wide impact on all social classes. Addictive substances, stimulants, and sources of rapid energy—tea, coffee, sugar, and tobacco—changed diets. Chinese porcelain and its imitations provided the material culture underpinning new consumption rituals and the sociability associated with the new dietary supplements. Indian calicoes, followed by European imitations, underpinned a new fashion market. Plantation complexes and intensified trade drove down prices imitations and technological innovation in ceramic, glass, and metal tableware, as well as textiles, changed material culture first for the middling classes and then for the laboring poor.

Jan de Vries explains how trade and consumption so changed the household behavior of ordinary people that they worked harder and shifted their labor from the household to the market economy. The attraction of commodities made outside the household, and especially those from distant places, induced many to buy commodities that were different from those they formerly made at home. They bought in packages—not just tea and coffee, but sugar, then easily replaceable and attractive plates, cups and saucers, and cutlery. Although fashion had long driven the markets for clothing, the varieties and price ranges made possible by Indian cottons created an altogether new level of textile consumption. Was northwestern Europe's consumption and industrious revolution bigger and more socially pervasive than those in China, Japan, and India? Certainly Europe learned this consumption from Asia. It responded to and absorbed some Asian consumer practices, such as drinking hot beverages in private and public social gatherings. It also adapted specific Asian goods, such as Chinese porcelain, to its own consumer practices. Although something is known about the expanding markets for luxury and fine consumer wares among merchants and urban middling groups in Ming China, Tokugawa Japan, and Mughal India, little is known yet about their connections to the wider dynamics of economic change. As Bayly argues, "It was European ships and commercial companies, not Asian and African producers of slaves, spices, calicoes or porcelains which were able to capture the greatest 'value added' as world trade expanded in the eighteenth century. … Europe connected, subjugated and made tributary other peoples' industrious revolutions" (p. 64).

But consumption and trade can only provide openings to increased productivity, not the means. Protoindustrialization created more industry and more goods the industrious revolution created among ordinary people the desire and the capacity to consume these goods. Protoindustrialization and the Industrious Revolution did not offer alternatives to the Industrial Revolution but were, rather, preconditions. They underscored the broad base of economic and social change in the hundred years before the mid- to late eighteenth century. That change might have continued on its course—a framework, as set out by Adam Smith, of market expansion, specialization, and division of labor—had technology not provided the means to break through to an industrial revolution. Consuming is not as important as making and inventing consuming, however, provides the incentives for both.

The first Industrial Revolution

In the period 1760 to 1830 the Industrial Revolution was largely confined to Britain. Aware of their head start, the British forbade the export of machinery, skilled workers, and manufacturing techniques. The British monopoly could not last forever, especially since some Britons saw profitable industrial opportunities abroad, while continental European businessmen sought to lure British know-how to their countries. Two Englishmen, William and John Cockerill, brought the Industrial Revolution to Belgium by developing machine shops at Liège (c. 1807), and Belgium became the first country in continental Europe to be transformed economically. Like its British progenitor, the Belgian Industrial Revolution centred in iron, coal, and textiles.

France was more slowly and less thoroughly industrialized than either Britain or Belgium. While Britain was establishing its industrial leadership, France was immersed in its Revolution, and the uncertain political situation discouraged large investments in industrial innovations. By 1848 France had become an industrial power, but, despite great growth under the Second Empire, it remained behind Britain.

Other European countries lagged far behind. Their bourgeoisie lacked the wealth, power, and opportunities of their British, French, and Belgian counterparts. Political conditions in the other nations also hindered industrial expansion. Germany, for example, despite vast resources of coal and iron, did not begin its industrial expansion until after national unity was achieved in 1870. Once begun, Germany’s industrial production grew so rapidly that by the turn of the century that nation was outproducing Britain in steel and had become the world leader in the chemical industries. The rise of U.S. industrial power in the 19th and 20th centuries also far outstripped European efforts. And Japan too joined the Industrial Revolution with striking success.

The eastern European countries were behind early in the 20th century. It was not until the five-year plans that the Soviet Union became a major industrial power, telescoping into a few decades the industrialization that had taken a century and a half in Britain. The mid-20th century witnessed the spread of the Industrial Revolution into hitherto nonindustrialized areas such as China and India.

1733: Flying Shuttle, Automation of Textiles and the Industrial Revolution

In 1733, John Kay invented the flying shuttle, an improvement to looms that enabled weavers to weave faster.

By using a flying shuttle, a single weaver could produce a wide piece of cloth. The original shuttle contained a bobbin on to which the weft (weaving term for the crossways yarn) yarn was wound. It was normally pushed from one side of the warp (a weaving term for the series of yarns that extended lengthways in a loom) to the other side by hand. Before the flying shuttle wide looms needed two or more weavers to throw the shuttle.

The automation of making textiles (fabrics, clothing, etc) marked the beginning of the industrial revolution.

The First Industrial Revolution

Tools have always defined mankind. Every attempt to make work easier led to search for tools or external power that could help human beings. This dates back to prehistoric times when people started using tools and most of these were hand powered.

When all work involves manual labor, one sure way of increasing productivity adding more power to the work. Animals would be used to help in carrying loads, ploughing land or just any work where muscles were needed. This limited how things could be done.


Once in a while, a new technology or a new way of perceiving the world shows up and triggers a great change both socially and economically. Such was the First Industrial Revolution.

The background to this was the Agricultural Revolution which had managed to feed people hence people could focus on solutions to other problems. With surplus food, ready investors, people willing to take risks and ready supply of resources like coal for power, a great innovation was obviously lurking.

In the mid-1700, man began to understand and use different energy source. People learnt that they could harness the power of steam and convert it into motion. This is what gave the rise to the use of steam engine and was Central to the First Industrial Revolution.

Steam Power

The immediate application of steam power is the steam engine which allowed for different things to be done. Ships could sail any time and for long distances. Factories could mass produce goods because there was a supply of power to keep it running. Many things that were done by hands could now be done in centralized place – the factory.

This led to shift from a lifestyle where everything was centered around farms to where people moved to urban areas and they were involved in production of goods and services that would be used all over the world. For example, textile industries sprung up in Great Britain and the products could be shipped to many places all over the world.

The major disruption was the chain effect that followed. It became possible to make railway lines that would cut across countries thus making movement of goods and people possible. Steel girders could be used to make skyscrapers. Life gradually changed.

This period of the First Industrial Revolution ran from 1765 to 1870 and saw a rise in many applications of steam power. Transport, agriculture and manufacturing were changed because of steam powered machines as opposed to animal power or hand-drawn tools.

Mechanization led to urbanization and the way of living was altered. Goods could move far because of steam powered ships. Textile industries thrived. It was a major leap for humanity.

Negative Impacts

It was not all rosy as we may want to imagine.

The negative effect was that people moved to work in factories where working conditions were not good. They would work for long hours and even children would also work in factories. Those who could not get jobs formed a huge population in urban areas.

People had been used to a quiet farm life where life was slow and the weather controlled most activities. This time they were to work in factories where the clock controlled everything.