The Daily Telegraph

Wednesday January 23, 1901

Industrial Revolution at a Glance


Yesterday, Queen Victoria passed away, ending the longest reign in British history. Throughout her years on the throne, she experienced the creations of many inventions that formed the 1st Industrial Revolution. Many of these inventions have required hard labour, of which was generally done by children of poor families to earn money. Many small boys risked their lives working in the factories, instead of going to school like some of them richer people. In the mills, the children had to go under the running machines to clean the floor often getting their hair ripped right off their head.


Another great invention that was created in this era of time was the steam engine, created by Charles Algernon Parsons. He believed that his invention of the steam turbine had direct application to marine propulsion and electrical generation. Charles remade the steam engine that was originally created by Hero of Alexandria called the aeolipile. The steam engine was used to power machines in factories and mills.


Although it was created many years before the industrial revolution, the steam engine had no real use. But that all changed when mills, factories and agriculture were transformed by the use of steam. Thomas Newcomen was an English blacksmith, who invented the atmospheric steam engine. The steam engine was perfected and slightly enhanced by James Watt, a Scottish inventor. James Watt was assigned a task to fix a Newcomen Engine, instead of just fixing it he changed some parts. Most notable was Watt's 1769 patent for a separate condenser connected to a cylinder by a valve. Unlike Newcomen's engine, Watt's design had a condenser that could be cool while the cylinder was hot. He then later added a sun and planet gear converted reciprocating into rotary motion to power machines, an automatic control mechanism, and a double-acting engine made for much smoother power This new engine was the dominant design of the modern steam engines, and helped move along the Industrial Revolution. The steam engine was used to redirect water in mines, to be condensed into steam.


In addition to the creation of the steam engine, a whole new world of transportation was brought to our world and enabled quick and easy travel across the country. One of these include the faithful steam locomotive created by George Stephenson and Richard Trevithick. This steam locomotive allowed goods, people and information to travel quickly and efficiently from place to place. Another amazing invention created in addition to the steam engine was the steamboat. Though it was mainly used in America, we have used it to send people, as well as goods, from our nation, along with other European countries, across the Atlantic Ocean. It was originally thought of by multiple French inventors, but was successfully created by Robert Fulton.


A huge part of the Industrial Revolution was the factory systems. The first major factories produced a textile called cotton, but later introduced more items to the production line. The machines had been used some by workers, who did piece work at home with spinning wheels and hand looms. What brought the workers together into a factory was the invention of machines for spinning that could spin more than one thread at a time and then the application of water power first to spinning and then to weaving. This invention was nicknamed the ‘Spinning Jenny’ by James Hargreaves. Other necessary inventions to factories include the Power Loom, created by Edmund Cartwright, the water frame, created by Roger Arkwright, and the Spinning Mule, created by Samuel Crompton. With these new technologies, the industry took off, by 1833 237,000 people were employed in cotton textile factories in England, creating a whole new way of life. 46% of workers were women, and 15% children under the age of 13, the downside to these percentages is that the wages were hardly enough for a family to survive, even if all workers were above the age of 8.


Thankfully, by 1833 reform laws were introduced and disallowed children under the age of 9 to work in the factories, reduced the amount of hours a child between the ages of 9-13 to 9 and 12 hours for children between 13-18, this was also known as the Factory Ac of 1833. This act also prevented children from working at night, and were to be given 2 or more hours of schooling each day. As well as this, the Chartist movement fought unsuccessfully for political change, but conditions gradually improved.


All over the world, the industries grew tall, and revolutionized each country they were positioned in. But as all this went on, many people don’t realize that the children, that came from poor families, were one of the most important assets that contributed to the Industrial Revolution. The children were used to bring coal up from the bottom of the mine, as they were small enough to crawl through the tight shafts. They cleaned the chimneys from small to tall, with little support from the owners. In factories many children risked their lives by climbing onto or underneath the running machines to clean/dust them, many having their hair being ripped right off their head as well as their skin.


Our country is very thankful for all the work and effort the families of London, Manchester, Cornwall, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Our nation has urged forward and pushed further away from many other countries economy wise.