The Industrial Revolution was a process that took place from about 1760 - 1830 where predominantly agrarian, rural societies in Europe and North America started becoming more urban and industrialized. This meant a shift to new manufacturing strategies, such as switching from hand production to machines, using water power and perfecting new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes.
Although the Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain, it marks a huge shift in American history. Everyone’s lives was touched by it. for better or worse. This change to powered, special-purpose machinery in factories capable of mass production led to increased volume, a variety of goods and an unprecedented sustained growth in household income for the middle class.
The poor and working class were often negatively affected. More machines meant less income and less jobs. Wages were low and working conditions were typically less than ideal. Unskilled workers were considered very replaceable, making it difficult for them to have any input.
Technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution include:
- Use of new basic materials
- Use of new energy sources
- Invention of new machines
- A new organization of work known as the factory system
- Important developments in transportation and communication
- Increasing application of science to industry
Non-industrial advancements include:
- Agricultural improvements
- Economic changes resulting in a wider distribution of wealth
- Political changes reflecting the shift in economic power
- Sweeping social changes such as growth of cities and new patterns of authority
- Cultural transformations of a broad order
The Industrial Revolution evolved into the Second Industrial Revolution during the transition years between 1840 and 1870. Technological and economic processes experienced a lot of momentum because of the huge leaps and bounds in boating, ships and railways.