European Industrial Revolution


Industrial Revolution

The European Industrial Revolution was
a time of drastic change. In England it became a transformation from
hand tools and hand made items to machined and mass-produced goods.

The growth of factories replaced the cottage industries and spawned the
development of cities. Growing cities and factories led to changes
in transportation, labor, and working conditions. These changes generally
helped workers lives, even though initially there were more negatives than

Before the Industrial Revolution England\'s
economy was based on its cottage industry. Workers would buy raw
materials from merchants, take it back to their cottages, hence the name,
and produce the goods at their homes. This industry was efficient
but the workers productivity was low. Subsequently, goods were high
in price and exclusive to only wealthy people. The Industrial Revolution
meant factories could mass-produce items at much lower costs than the cottage
industries, making goods more affordable to consumers.

With the invention of the steam engine,
a shift from rural waterwheels to steam engines as an industrial power
source facilitated the emergence of factories and industrial cities.

Factories started the process of urbanization by causing people to leave
rural sectors and move to the cities looking for a better life. The
increase in population in the cities caused overcrowding, pollution, and
thus became a breeding ground for communicable diseases. Cities had
a snowballing effect developing new business. New and improved transportation
systems evolved.

The developments in transportation played
an important role in industrialization. Growing cities necessitated
investments to be made in improving infrastructure, including roads, bridges,
and canals. This paved the way for industrialization which needed
an efficient system to transport mass amounts of goods from factories to
markets. As the sale of goods increased, factories\' production needed
to increase causing problems for the factory worker.

Factories changed the meaning of labor.

Even if the hours worked were roughly the same in the factory or in the
cottage, factory wage earners lost control over the pace and methods of
their work. Constant supervision was also a novel experience, at
least for the head of the household. The head of the household, usually
the father of the family, was the supervisor in the family run cottage.

In the factories he lost his supervision power and was just a worker.

Consequently men avoided factory work in the early nineteenth century.

Most cottage working families chose to
stay in their homes. As factory production grew, home workers saw
their earnings shrink. The next generation cottage workers would
find their choice tipped much more heavily toward factories.

Life was drastically changed during the

Industrial Revolution. Factory workers were living in germ infested,
crowded and very unhealthful conditions, much like their place of work.

Children and women labored in harsh conditions, working long hours with
little pay. Much of the British working class was worse off.

Real wages stagnated while workers sacrificed freedom, health and family.

Government involvement was needed to change these conditions. Laws
such as the Factory Act (1833) were passed to improve working conditions.

The Industrial Revolution changed Europe forever and it\'s social and economic
changes helped guide other countries through their growth and industrialization


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