Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Industry Peaks

Revolution Continues to Expand

Revolution has Arrived!

The Industrial Revolution was a period of time of dramatic and exiting changes and advancements in transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, technology, and mining that began around 1760 and lasted into 1830-1840. This period of industrialization meant increased manufacturing of production machines, not just in Great Britain, but all over the world. Inventors weren't the only people reaping the rewards of the industrial improvements. For the first time in history, even the weakest classes were prospering. There were jobs to be had, and money to be made, and while the inventors were becoming quite wealthy for their personal contributions, the average person was also on the rise.

Transportation was drastically improved with the advancements of steam powered engines, railways, combustion engines and the electric powered generator. We learned how to increase water power, and began to use coal for fuels.

People were moving to the cities to be closer to their new jobs, and this urbanization made the cities bigger and more exciting for everyone. The energy of the cities meant more arts and more trade, and there was basically no one in the city that wasn't positively affected by this growth. Women were suddenly a part of the work force! The factories were filled with women who were contributing to their families abilities to get ahead of where they had been in the past. The middle class was predominate in the cities, since they made up the majority of the working class, which was a sign of improvement in the common mans life.

As the revolution continued to grow, it wasn't just Europe that was seeing dramatic changes. Developments were spreading through Western Europe and into the Americas. Inventors were sharing ideas and improving on concepts that were just coming to be known. It truly was a time of vast change, and people were filled with hope and optimism for maybe the first time in history.

Men to Admire

The Industrial Revolution would never have happened were it not for the men whose genius brought about the creations that fueled the growth through the times. Transportation went from horses and carriage to steam powered engines, combustion engines, electric motors and Diesel engines! Men such as James Watt, whose studies led to the understanding that steam could be used in a way that increased the power needed to fuel a motor, is a perfect example of the way that ideas were come up with and used, and then expanded upon by other inventors. His discoveries were not without challenges, and for a time, he was poor and in definite financial disaster. He was fortunate enough to find a partner in Matthew Boulton, whose wealth allowed him to continue his studies, and eventually they both gained great wealth from his discoveries. The unit of energy measurement was named after Watt due to these inventions.

The process of producing steel was a time consuming and very expensive, complicated process. Henry Bessemer was able to figure out a way to convert and mold metals that was much less time consuming and much less expensive. His discovery led to being able to mass produce steel inexpensively. He was considered a pioneer in the metal industry, but he also created other time saving devices, like the sugar cane press.

Advancements in medicine were also on the rise. Cities were growing larger and the threat of an outbreak scared some people. Louis Pasteur was concerned about making the food that people ate safer. He figured out how to prevent bacterial contamination of milk and wine. This process was called pasteurization, and it was a breakthrough in keeping people safe. Edward Jenner was concerned about something greater. He had seen what Smallpox could do to a nation, and he was determined to make sure that history didn't repeat itself. He dedicated his studies to finding a way to prevent another Smallpox outbreak. He eventually came up with the first ever vaccine, a way to prevent Smallpox. Jenner is called the father of immunology and it is said that his work "saved more lives than the work of any other human". While this was a fantastic find for mankind, and a marvel to medicine, it was not alone for long. Men like Pasteur were soon adding to the vaccines available with the invention of a rabies vaccine and another for Anthrax.

There were no areas no touched by the Industrial Revolution. Cars were made and then improved, sewing machines were designed that allowed textiles to be sewn together by a machine, and then they were made better. Cables were laid in the waters, across the air, and over the land. Communication was improving thanks to the discoveries of Alexander Graham Bell and Cyrus Fields. Thomas Edison invented the first long lasting incandescent light bulb.

There was little that couldn't be dreamt of and brought to light in the Industrial Revolution. Life was better! And people couldn't be more anxious to be a part of that world!

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Machines are doing the Work of Men!

People's Lives Forever Changed

All good things come at a price, some say. The Industrial Revolution is possibly the exception to that thought. Urbanization brought people to areas that were smaller and struggling, often with people who were poor and starving, and often sick. More people and more jobs created wealth. That wealth was shared by the people in that town. If a person earned more money, he spent it on goods that someone may have struggled to sell before. In turn, that person may need extra help at his store, and might hire another person, which increased that person's wealth. The more people started to get ahead, the more productive they became. Factories grew so quickly that women were added to help carry the load. For the most part, this factory system was a positive, but there were sometimes children that were put to work and with no child labor laws in place, they weren't always treated the way they should have been.

Labor movements were put in place to protect the workers at the factories, and their rights. As more workers were brought into the work force, the treatment needed to be equal for all, and the movement was a way to ensure that there were rules and policies for this. The down side of the increased factory work was an increase in pollution. Where people had been used to open space and fresh air, the pollution poured from factory chimneys. Some question if the pollution created other health problems down the road, but the good that was brought about by the factories tended to outweigh the potential problems down the road.

The middle classes rose in wealth and importance, whether actual or assumed. This confidence in their future gave most people a clear focus to move ahead and to be a part of the advancements in the country. Even the middle class was now able to afford travel with all of the options becoming available. For so long, people could only use horses and carriages, or walk. Now there are cars, and motorized carriages, and steam engines and ships with engines, and no one was stuck in a place they didn't care to be.

The Industrial Revolution opened doors that had been closed to many ordinary people. Their chance to step through that door and enter a new world was a chance to better themselves, and most took that opportunity with pleasure.

Industry Levels the Playing Field?

In the days of the Industrial Revolution, factory owners were the big winners, but the workers were also winners. Society was on an upward slope, with enough income for the needs of most people. City life gave people opportunities to socialize with other people and make friendships and have relationships that would not have been available had the cities not grown so much. The excess money meant that the arts began to become popular again.

Transportation options meant that the middle class was now able to travel the same ways that wealthy people could, and they began to dream of things they never thought of before. Ordinary people believed in the importance of having rules in place to protect them in the work place, and make sure that their rights were enforceable.

The relationship between the upper class and the middle class became better, but there was still a divide between what people could offer and what was expected of them. Inventions like the sewing machine made factory jobs available, the telephone allowed for communication between places not easily reached in person. The light bulb bettered the safety and overall quality of life. Vaccines made people safer from outbreaks, and pasteurization made milk and wine safer and led to other ways to make food safer.

The longer the Industrial Revolution went on, the more the changes continued to affect the everyday lives of the people in Great Britain, western Europe and the United States. We learned to utilize the new communication and travel options to improve not just our own production, but trade with other nations, and travel and new opportunities in other lands. Growth was on the rise, and the middle class believed at last that all things were possible with hard work.