The Industrial Revolution

Written by: Joanna Edmonds

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The Industrial Revolution

The industrial revolution was a time of both good and bad. The good was that technology improved greatly, changing man made to machine made. The bad was that this led to major pollution and the population swelled from about one million to about 4.5 million in London. Children worked long hours in factories only to be paid little. Soon, child labor laws were put into place and reduced the amount of small children in factories. Major inventions such as the cotton gin and the steam engine were patented during the industrial revolution. The assembly line was also introduced, making mass production an easier thing to accomplish. Overall, the industrial revolution has changed and affected us in many different ways. Thanks to the great inventors of this time, we have an easier life today.

Child Labor

During the industrial revolution, children as young as five years old worked in factories. These children had to endure the loud machines and long hours of working in a factory, and for almost no pay. By the year 1836, child labor laws began falling into place. In 1842, Massachusetts lowered the hours of children working to 10 hours each day. The Working Men's Party lowered the age minimum of children working to 14 years. Many other laws became established over a short period of time before the federal law managed the hours and employment of working.

In class, we viewed a picture and read an article about Addie, a young mill-girl who worked in a factory. Addie was in poor condition; she wore dirty clothes, was barefoot, and looked thin and underfed. The article we read gave us more information about Addie, telling us that she was 12 years old in the picture and that she lived in Vermont. This information gave me a more clear picture of what child labor was like during the industrial revolution.

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The Assembly Line

The assembly line, by definition, was a series of workers and machines in a factory by which a succession of identical items is progressively assembled. In class, we did an experiment that related to the assembly line, making paper airplanes. Fourteen people lined up and did one step of the process of making a paper airplane, either folding it in half or making the wings. Then, we flew it into a basket and had a person count how many we could make. At the same time, there we three people who would make each airplane by themselves and also had a person count how many they could make. The assembly line people made 56 paper airplanes in two minutes while the "experts", or people by themselves, made only 30 in the same amount of time. This showed me that with an assembly line, it is easier to mass produce an item.
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