The Industrial Revolution Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 3 June 2017

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution has an enormous impact on Britain and the whole world. Roughly from the 1700s to 1900s, many old methods people used to do things were overthrown and new ideas and technology took place. People who used to work just to meet the basic needs of life became more commercial and began to work for a surplus. The massive changes greatly altered people’s ways of life and till today, the effects of the Industrial Revolution could still be seen. The Industrial Revolution occurred mainly because of some very important inventions. In the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, machines like the Spinning Jenny and Flying Shuttle were invented and enabled a single worker to produce multiple times of work. This gradually changed people from working independently in cottage industry to working together in a factory. Another great invention is the steam engine, invented by Thomas Savery and improved by James Watt.

It could be considered the most important invention of the Industrial Revolution and the driving force behind it. It replaced water power and animal power as the main source of power for industries. The steam engine generated power not only for machines but also transportation like locomotives and ships. The steam engine is also used in iron industry to provide air flow for blast furnaces and in coal industry to pump water out of flooded mines. Newly introduced working methods in agriculture industry are the Open field system, Norfolk Crop Rotation System and Enclosures. Developments in transportation include river navigations and canals connecting major cities. Railways were reinforced with wooden rail and iron plates, which allows steam driven locomotives travel for much longer distances. New engineered roads were built by the “Metealf, Telford and Macadam” company. All these mass changes in such a short period of time are why the Industrial Revolution is considered a revolution. But everything has its cost; the Industrial Revolution also has its drawbacks.

As the industries develop, more unskilled workers are needed in factories to operate machinery. To earn enough for living, many parents had their child work as child laborers. Children worked for 16 hours every day in very poor conditions and were paid with low wages. Their job is often very dangerous and did not have many safety rules and welfare. Horrible accidents would sometimes happen and injured workers were just simply sent home. If the children had any mistakes, the factory owners would even whip them as punishment. The Industrial Revolution helped the population of Britain to increase rapidly. The cities were even more crowded because of people moving in from the country side looking for jobs. With this much population, lots of cheap houses are needed.

To reach the demand, houses were built back-to-back using the cheapest building materials available. These houses were damp and wet and this condition is the worst for people who can only afford cellar dwellings. The houses were not built with bathrooms; it was really hard to wash so most people just didn’t. There were only 6 toilets shared between 360 people and the so-called toilets were actually just cesspits. The night-men would empty the full cesspits and dump the waste into local rivers where people are bathing at the lower stream. The unhygienic conditions often cause diseases like Cholera, Diphtheria and Scrofula. Drainage systems could solve these problems but it was very expensive and the landlords didn’t want to pay for it as it didn’t benefit them.

The drainage systems only existed amongst the richest areas where the rich merchants and businessmen lived. Only the rich had the privilege to enjoy this sort of sanitation. Fresh water in the poor areas could only be acquired by rainwater collected in buckets or water wells with pumps. But because the sewers had flat bottoms and of stone made drains, the well water could have been contaminated with drainage. The Industrial Revolution definitely has a good aspect as it boosted development in methods and technology. Yet the consequences of the Industrial Revolution are not entirely good, seeing the living conditions of the poor is terrible. Nonetheless, we can’t stop progress; without the Industrial Revolution, we might be still farming in the fields with rakes and mining with pickaxes.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

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  • Date: 3 June 2017

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