Science in the Industrial Revolution

Science
in the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century
probably did more to shape life in the modern industrialized world than
any event in history. There were many events that led to the industrial
revolution in Europe. For starters, people in general were becoming
more and more disenchanted with corruption in the Church. Due to
advances in printing more people were learning to read. This allowed
them to read the Bible for themselves and begin to question the Church.

Protestant religions began to develop in which it was permissible to make
money rather than donate it all to charity. This change in thought
gave people the opportunity to question nature and retain their spirituality
and place with God. The focus of this discussion is not the role
of the decline in the Church in the Industrial Revolution but the importance
of science. However it is important to realize that this change in
belief systems played a role in allowing people to study science.

Science provided a way for intellectual
people to study nature and the interactions of the different forces, such
as magnetism and gravity, that affect the world in which we live.

Discoveries made through science can later be used to help man in his everyday
life. Even today scientists study natural phenomena in the hope of
discovering something new that will prove useful to man. In the early
days of science many of the studies were done to prove or disprove the
teachings of the Church which included having the Earth as the center of
the universe and the idea of creationism. An excellent example of
how science helped lead to the Industrial Revolution can be seen in development
of the steam engine.

For our purposes here we will assume the
development of the steam engine started with Galileo in the 17th century.

Galileo introduced a theory of atoms. Although he never actually
said the word "atom" he described it in great detail. The Church
did not support the atom theory, as they believed it went against the teaching
of the Bible. The Church preferred the idea that "empty" space was
just that, empty, not filled with tiny particles called atoms. The
reason Galileo never uttered the word "atom" was to avoid the wrath of
the Church. He ended up being placed on house arrest during the Inquisition,
but that is another story.

Galileo’s theory created a lot of excitement
and led to many experiments. The excitement was not so much because
of Galileo’s theory, but because of the implications of this theory.

If Galileo was proved correct, the teachings of the Church were wrong.

In today’s world this may not seem like a big deal, but remember that in

Galileo’s time the Church ran society in many ways.

The first major development influenced
by Galileo’s theory was the barometer developed by Torricelli. Torricelli
was a pupil of Galileo before he was home jailed. The barometer was
not developed to measure atmospheric pressure as it is used for today.

It was merely an attempt to prove Galileo’s atomic theory. The barometer
worked by demonstrating a partial vacuum caused by a pressure differential
between a closed end and on open end of a tube containing mercury.

The details will not be discussed here. The end result was that the
barometer worked, thus proving Galileo right and the Church wrong.

The success of the barometer led to the
development of primitive air pumps. A type of "reverse bellows" was
the first air pump. Inspired by these developments Denis Papin, a

Protestant physician, developed the first practical steam engine.

His steam engine was developed in 1690. This primitive engine heated
water in a cylinder, which turned to steam. The pressure from this
steam forced the piston upward once it was high enough to counteract the
weight and atmospheric pressure on the cylinder. The engine was then
removed from the heat source and atmospheric pressure forced the piston
back down as the steam condensed and the pressure within dropped.

In 1698 Thomas Savery improved on the same
basic idea. He used the steam engine to pump water out of mines.

This was one of the first applications of technology to industry.

Thomas’s engine did not contain a piston but used the partial vacuum created
by the engine to suck the water up and out of the mine.

Newcomen took the steam engine a step further
in 1712. His engine did include a piston but he used a counterweight
to extract it. The cylinder was then injected with steam. This
was followed by injecting water into the cylinder, which cooled the steam,
and caused it to condense which lowered