History of The Industrial Revolution!
The term “Industrial Revolution” was coined by Auguste Blanqui, a French economist, in 1837 to denote the economic and social changes arising out of the transition from industries carried in the homes with simple instruments, to industries in factories with power-driven machinery in Britain, but it came into vogue when Arnold Toynbee, the great historian, used it in 1882.
1. Meaning of Industrial Revolution:
The term “Industrial Revolution” was coined by Auguste Blanqui, a French economist, in 1837 to denote the economic and social changes arising out of the transition from industries carried in the homes with simple instruments, to industries in factories with power-driven machinery in Britain, but it came into vogue when Arnold Toynbee, the great historian, used it in 1882.
However, historians question the appropriateness of the term on the ground that the Industrial Revolution covers a period far too long to justify a single label. The period is from about 1740 to about 1850 in Britain and from 1815 to the end of the nineteenth century in Europe.
Moreover, the term “Revolution” is misleading for describing a complicated series of forces, processes and discoveries which worked very slowly but gradually and created a new economic organisation. It is contended that it is better to call it evolution and not revolution.
It is also suggested that instead of calling it the Industrial Revolution, it should be called “The Transition of Industrialism”. In spite of these objections, the term industrial Revolution is preferred and is in common usage.
Up to the middle of eighteenth century, European society was mainly agricultural. Whatever industries there were, were confined to the “domestic” sphere. There was no machinery or water- power or steam to work those industries.
Manual labour was the chief source of power. Each village was practically self-sufficient. There was not much of inter-village trade. Roads were in a very bad condition and travelling was extremely risky and inconvenient.
Practically, each villager took to some small industry to supplement his income. There was no large-scale corporate industry. The individual worker worked as a single unit.
The Industrial Revolution brought a series of changes in the methods of manufacture, production and distribution and drastically affected the economic and social life of the people.
It transformed an overwhelmingly agricultural society into an industrial society. This revolution was not a revolution in the normal sense of the word. Revolutions are generally associated with suddenness, violence and bloodshed. However, the Industrial Revolution was free from all these characteristics. It was a long, slow process of change, beginning obscurely, we cannot say precisely when, and only ending recently, if indeed it has ended yet.
2. Why it’s beginning in England?
Political and economic conditions in England in the latter half of the eighteenth century were the most suitable for the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in that country. It enriched her and gave her a lead over all other European countries. It spread to the main Continent of Europe and further abroad almost fifty years later.
It influenced Belgium, France and the United States only after the fall of Napoleon in 1815. Germany was affected still later and the East European countries continued to be mostly agricultural right up to the end of the nineteenth century.
The Industrial Revolution was preceded by Agrarian Revolution in England. Jethro Tull (1674- 1741) invented a drill which deposited the seeds in straight furrows with adequate space in between to help luxuriant growth. Tull is rightly called the father of scientific agriculture. Viscount Townshend (1674-1738) turned his lands into an agricultural laboratory.
He is called the founder of the innovation commonly known as the rotation of crops. In the past, every piece of cultivable land was left fallow for a year after two years of consecutive cultivation to recuperate itself which meant that every year one-third of arable area grew no crops.
Through his experiments, Townshend showed that the existing method was wasteful and suggested that if root crops and artificial grasses were alternately grown on the same piece of land in successive season with grain, depletion in the mineral salts required for healthy growth of plants would be minimal. He recommended a system of four-year rotation which means wheat in the first year followed by turnips in the second, barley in the third and cloves in the fourth.
By this system of rotation of crops, Townshend doubled his income. As he popularised the growth of a new plant called turnip, Townshend got the nickname of “Turnip” Townshend. In the field of cattle-breeding, Robert Backwell tried in 1750 a novel method of mating the finest specimens with a certain breed and then making their offsprings mate with offsprings of better breeds of species.
The result was that more meat was available for human consumption at cheaper rates. At the end of the eighteenth century, iron ploughs drawn by horses began to displace wooden ploughs drawn by oxen. A new threshing machine displaced the existing threshing implement. In 1834, McCormick developed a new reaper which revolutionized the process of harvesting. Increased agricultural output was achieved by the new trend of enclosures.
In the past, agricultural areas had no fences. Cultivation was in strips and no cultivator had all his strips located at one place. Much land was wasted because pathways had to be made to enable a cultivator to go from one strip of his own to another. Enterprising landlords started enclosing the common land, reclaiming marshland, consolidating their strips into “unified fenced off fields” by brow-beating or intimidatory tactics.
They also got passed through Parliament Enclosure Acts which enabled the landlords to add millions of acres of land to their estates. It caused hardship to the poorer classes but land came increasingly under the strict control of private ownership and management. This encouraged greater investment by landowners and higher production was the result. Food supply increased substantially as new methods of cattle-breeding meant fatter cattle yielding more meat and also more cereals. England virtually became the “granary of Europe”.
Those persons, who were forced to leave their lands on the countryside, came to cities and thus labour was available in England for the new factories which came into existence as a result of the Industrial Revolution. It is rightly said that agricultural revolution in England paved the way for Industrial Revolution.
The latter would not have been possible without the former. With abundant food, surplus labour, requisite managerial skill, forward-looking entrepreneurs and willing bankers, the ground for Industrial Revolution was well prepared in England.
Ship-building was an old and popular industry in England. England had a powerful navy which had defeated all her rivals like the Dutch and the French. She was the undisputed mistress of the seas. This enabled her to build up an enormous and lucrative trade. Her ships sailed to many parts of the world and brought raw material, tobacco, tea, sugar, spices and cotton in large quantities. England acquired a number of colonies and founded a few settlements.
British expansion beyond the seas opened up new vistas of foreign trade. Her expanding foreign trade made it necessary that her exports should keep pace with imports. It was necessary to step up domestic industries to meet the increased demands. If England was to become the richest country of the world, more and more goods for export must be manufactured to capture foreign markets.
That required great effort. Stakes were high and the prize was worth attaining. The English capitalists and inventors rose to the occasion. There was a strong urge among the people to improve production and that prompted the people to make a number of inventions.
Nature was specially kind to England. She had given England vast stores of iron and coal which are the life-blood of industry. They were found in abundance in close proximity to each other in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Both of these minerals were needed in the manufacture of machines and production of steam. Moreover, the moist climate of England was ideally suited to the manufacture of cotton textiles.
The Bank of England which was started in 1694 and the National Debt were institutions of great importance. They were brought into existence to provide ready money to finance the war against Louis XIV Loans were made available to the state on the security of the taxes. In peaceful times, that money was available for economic and industrial development at a nominal rate of interest. “The engines of the Industrial Revolution which made England so rich and powerful that she was able to stand the strain of Napoleonic wars were moved by the oil of finance, and at the heart of the English financial system stood the Bank.”
Political condition in England was also favourable for Industrial Revolution. England was a free country. Her parliamentary system of Government had become stable and there were no political upheavals to disturb, domestic peace, unlike France and other European countries. Peaceful political conditions provided a suitable environment for the growth and development of commerce and industry. The capitalists of England felt secure in investing money in them and were not afraid of a change of Government.
Englishmen had established wide contacts with different countries of the world. Their spirit of adventure which was confined to maritime activity was now turned to other spheres. A large number of talented English workers applied their energy and knowledge to industrial development and invented a large number of machines.
No other country in Europe had so many potentialities for industrial development. Forces were favourable for a change in England. The Industrial Revolution provided England with money for her wars against Revolutionary France and Napoleon.
As a matter of fact, those wars gave a further fillip to the English Industrial Revolution and encouraged greater production. “Napoleon’s career enabled the Industrial Revolution to go forward in England and the Industrial Revolution enabled England to overthrow Napoleon.”
3. Textile Industry:
The Industrial Revolution was mainly confined to developments in the fields of cotton industry, mining and transport. As regards cotton industry, the urge to increase production of cotton cloth led men to apply their knowledge and energy to invent machines and a number of weaving and spinning machines were invented. In 1733, John Kay invented what was known as “The Flying Shuttle”. This doubled the speed of weaving and saved labour considerably.
This invention enabled the weavers to turn out greater output. It made possible the weaving of broad cloth by one man. In 1765, James Hargreaves invented a machine known as “The Spinning Jenny”. The new machine had 8 spindles and consequently one spinner was able to do the work of 8 spinners. The Spinning Jenny was a simple wooden frame on which 8 spindles moved by the turning of a wheel.
In 1769, Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) invented “Water frame”. This machine consisted of a series of rollers and was run by water power or horse power. It helped the manufacture of hard and firm yam suitable for weaving. The rollers could not work in small places and consequently the water-frame of Arkwright ushered in the factory system. That is why he has been called the “parent of the factory system.”
In 1779, Samuel Crompton (1763-1827) invented a machine known as “The Mule”. The new machine combined the advantages of the Spinning Jenny of Hargreaves and water-frame of Arkwright. It made the production of fine muslin possible.
In 1785, Edmund Cartwright invented what was called “The Power Loom”. Although the Power Loom was clumsy in shape, it helped the work of weaving to be done with great speed. In 1793, Whitney invented a machine by which seeds could be separated from the cotton fibres. Previously, this was done with the help of hand and that was a slow process.
In 1785, cylinder printing was invented. A roller with a design engraved upon it ran over the paper. In 1800, a speedy method of bleaching with the help of chemicals was found. The result was that it was not necessary to expose cloth to the sun for weeks for drying it. Likewise, the help of industrial chemistry was taken for dyeing purposes.
4. Mining and Metallurgy:
As regards mining and metallurgy, wood was used for smelting iron in old days. That process was long and tedious. There was also the danger of denuding the country of her forests. It was found that coal was a much better substitute for wood. Coal v/as available in abundance but the problem was how to take it out of the mines which got flooded with water. Inventors began to pay attention to the problem of pumping out water.
Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729) invented a steam engine which helped the miners in pumping out water quickly. There were many defects in the engine. It wasted a good deal of heat and fuel and sometimes it did not start. Its defects were removed by the invention of James Watt. Abraham Derby used coke successfully for smelting iron but its quality was crude. In 1784, Henry Cort (1740-1800) discovered better processes to improve the quality.
The steam engine revolutionized industry and mining. As motive power, steam had a distinct advantage over water power. It was not necessary now to set up factories near waterfalls. Steam could be produced anywhere and everywhere. James Watt (1736-1819) studied the steam engine of Newcomen and removed its defects and invented a new engine with a separate condenser. The new engine was called Beelzebub. It was first employed in mines. Later on, the invention of the rotary motion brought the steam engine into cotton factories also. Steam replaced horse and water power in the textile industry also.
There was a great demand for steam engines. With the financial assistance of Boulton, James Watt began to produce steam engines for industrial purposes. “The union of machinery with steam force multiplied tremendously the resources of mankind”. On account of the lack of precision tools, James Watt had great difficulty in making the steam engine. Maudslay’s “Slide-Rest” was a great invention which helped considerably in the making of such tools.
As regards transport, the old roads were in a very bad condition. Navigation by sea and river was very slow. There were yet no railways or aero planes. There was the necessity of improving the means of transport. John Metcalf, Thomas Telford and John Macadam (1756-1836) made tremendous improvements in the art of road construction. Gravel, stone and tar were used in making pucca roads and a network of roads was laid all over the country. Travelling by coach became more comfortable and transport quicker.
According to a distinguished British historian, “Macadamising was not only, in its liberal sense, a practical work of great public utility; it became a symbol of all progress and was metaphorically used in common, parlance for any aspect of a new age where improved and uniform scientific methods were in demand.”
As heavy goods could not be carried to distant places by means of roads, it was decided to use water for transport purposes. The Duke of Bridgewater (1736-1803) employed Brindley (1716-1772) to design the Bridgewater Canal from Worsely to Manchester. After that, Mersey and Calder canals were dug.
George Stephenson (1781-1848) is called the father of steam locomotive. He invented the first locomotive for hauling coal over iron rails. It moved at a speed of 3 miles an hour. Gradually, it was improved. By 1823, a locomotive factory was established at Newcastle. At the opening of the Liverpool-Manchester Railway in 1830 the locomotive moved at the speed of 30 miles an hour. The invention of locomotives and introduction of railways were a great boon to mankind. It became possible to transport goods more speedily and cheaply from one part of the country to another.
The motive power of steam was also applied to transport by sea. In 1807, a steamboat constructed by Robert Fulton sailed from New York to Albany, a distance of 150 miles in 32 hours. The first regular steamboat service in Great Britain was inaugurated in 1812 on the Clyde between Glasgow and Greenock by a boat called the Comet.
In 1819, the first steamship, the Savannah, crossed the Atlantic from the United States to England in 29 days with the help of sails. In 1838, two steamers crossed the Atlantic without sails in 18 and 15 days respectively. Until about 1870, sailing vessels competed successfully with steamships. After 1878, steamships demonstrated their superiority. Early steamships were made of wood. In 1843 the first iron steamship crossed the Atlantic.
A lot of improvement was made in the means of communication. In the middle of the nineteenth century, Charles Wheat-stone with the collaboration of two Americans Samuel Morse (1791-1872) and Alfred Vail produced the electric telegraph. It was due to the joint efforts of Sir Charles Bright and Cyrus Field that the first Atlantic telegraphic communication across water was laid in 1866. Telephone owes its origin to Philip Reis, a German inventor.
Michael Faraday (1791-1867) invented electro-magnetic induction in 1831. In 1839, Louis Daguerre (1789-1851) devised a method of photography by mercury vapour development of silver iodite exposed on a copper plate. In 1836, John Ericsson (1803-1889), a naval engineer, built the Monitor, the screw-propeller. In 1844, Charles Goodyear (1800-1860) invented rubber vulcanisation.
In 1856, Sir Henry Bessemer (1813-1898) invented the so-called “Bessemer process” of making steel direct from cast-iron, for rails, ship plates, etc. by forcing a blast of air through the molten metal in order to burn out the impurities. Then came the “open-hearth process” of making use of a shallow hearth of reverberating type for the large-scale manufacture of steel.
As the Industrial Revolution progressed machinery became more and more complicated and expensive. It was beyond the financial resources of single individual to install factories. Hence arose the necessity for co-operative effort. There sprang up Corporations and limited companies in which thousands of people invested their money in the hope of gaining good dividends.
The system of individual industrial proprietorship yielded place to joint stock companies and managing directorships. There also arose the demand for the services of engineers to man the new machines and to invent new ones to keep pace with the demand for greater production. By 1828, the Civil Engineers Society was founded in London. Specialisation in industry required a variety of engineers such as mechanical, mining, road, marine, electrical engineers.
They built up new industries and improved the old ones. England became the workshop of the world. English industrial capital and English engineers sought new avenues of investment and work in foreign countries and companies with English capital and English technicians were floated in many foreign countries. Thus, the benefits of the English Industrial Revolution were spread far and wide.
More and more complicated industrial machinery could thrive on the inventions and discoveries of scientists. Progress in industrial inventions benefited the development of the Industrial Revolution proportionately.
The Safety Lamp of Davy was a boon to miners. Faraday’s invention of electroplating of iron plates with nickel stopped rusting and increased the life of machines. Siemen’s dynamo supplemented steam power. Bunsen’s electric lighting made life more cheerful. Kelvin enabled submarine cables to be laid between America and England. Clement’s planning machine, Nasmyth’s steam hammer and machine for cutting grooves in metal, Robert’s drilling machine and Bessemer and Siemen processes for large-scale conversion of iron into steel revolutionized and expanded industry.
The cotton and wool industries became more and more mechanised. The expansion of steam navigation was phenomenal. The steamships could now cross the Atlantic and other seas without fear. Steamship companies like the Cunard Lines were inaugurated.
A variety of other industries like building, furniture making, laundering, brewing and shoe-making also made tremendous progress. Food preservation, canning industry, gas-lighting and heating and a number of electrical appliances gave more amenities to the people. The invention of the telegraph made transmission of news from one place to another quicker and cheaper and that enabled the newspapers to publish news of the world.
Rubber and petroleum industries expanded tremendously. Rubber pipes, tyres and washers were available in large quantities. Petroleum products proved of great value to men and industry. Weapons of warfare were also improved.
The old flint-lock muskets were substituted by breech-loading grooved rifles whose striking power was several times greater. Richard Gatling, an American, invented the first machinegun which could fire 350 shots a minute.
6. Industrial Development in England:
The period between 1830 and 1848 was the heroic age of railway building. To begin with, rail-roads were resisted by the existing interests of roads and canals. There were people who had advanced money for making and repairing the turnpike roads and canals. There were people who were making a living as coach-makers, harness-makers, horse-dealers, innkeepers, etc.
The first attempt to get through Parliament a bill permitting the making of the rail-road between Liverpool and Manchester, failed. It cost £ 70,000 to secure parliamentary permission in 1826 even before starting the capital outlay needed to buy the land and construct the line. British railroad builders were pioneers and they incurred the costs and burdens of all pioneers and paid the price for technical experiments and mistakes.
The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 inaugurated the new era. By 1838, there were 490 miles of railroad in England and Wales and 50 in Scotland. Their construction cost more than £ 13 million. By the end of 1850, there were 6,621 miles of rail-road in operation.
The two boom periods of building came in 1836 and in the years 1844-47. In spite of wild speculations and financial disasters in 1847, there was considerable consolidation of lines which had been built piecemeal. George Hudson, the British “Railway king”, devoted his business and administrative skill to bring about extensive amalgamations and improvements in their general running.
The revolution in transport through railways brought with it new demands for coal and iron and stimulated a revolution in heavy industries, especially mining and metallurgy. Britain’s coal output which was about 16 million tons in 1815 rose to 30 million tons by 1835 and 50 million tons by 1848.
Her output of iron doubled from one million tons in 1835 to two million tons in 1848. By 1850, about half the whole world’s production of pig iron took place in Great Britain. Engineering proper and the industries devoted to making machines were still small-scale in 1848.
The main progress in engineering techniques came after 1848. The railroads encouraged the rise of big contractors. They offered employment to thousands. A great new industry was born in little more than 20 years and the fears of unemployment proved to be unfounded. There was a general stimulus to the whole economic system.
Above all other commodities, cotton was linked with the expansion of British overseas trade. In 1830, three-quarters of the new cotton came from the United States. In 1849, the total import was as high as 346,000 tons, worth about £ 15 million. By the middle of the nineteenth century, more than half a million people were engaged in cotton industry alone. Textiles as a whole employed more than one million.
Textile manufacture was the industry which was most representative of the age of machinery and power. Although mechanization was slow, cotton set the pace in factory production.
Cotton trade boosted shipping. Between 1827 and 1848, the total tonnage of British shipping, both sail and steam, rose from VA to 4 million tons. At the middle of the 19th century, 60 per cent of the world’s ocean-going tonnage was British. The tonnage of all shipping entered and cleared from ports in the United Kingdom rose from 6 million tons in 1834 to more than 14 million tons in 1847. By 1850, the United Kingdom had established herself as not only “the workshop of the world” but also as the shipper, trader and to a great extent the banker of the world.
7. Industrial Development in Belgium:
Industrial development in Belgium was facilitated because important coal fields were discovered there. The Government in that country played a notable part when its funds were channelled into shipbuilding and manufactures.
Belgium set the pace in rail-road building. Her rich supplies of coal and the spirit of national enterprise, released particularly after her independence in 1830, made possible an Industrial Revolution comparable in intensity, if not in scale, with that of Great Britain. The line from Brussels to Malines was opened in 1835.
It carried in its first year more than half a million passengers. This was more than the passengers carried by all the British lines in 1835. Belgium was ahead of Britain in having a railway policy and in planning rail-road construction as a national concern to serve national needs. The railway lines were designed to take full advantages of the geographical and economic position of Belgium as a land of passage.
The lines were planned to link up England, France, Germany and Holland and make Belgium the commercial entrepot of Western Europe. The plan began in 1834 and was completed within ten years. Throughout that period, Belgium produced more coal than France. Liege and Southern Hainault were the first developed coal-mining areas of the Continent of Europe.
The Liege district was a well established metallurgical centre. Belgium sent machinery all over Holland, Germany and even Russia. Her spirit of national enterprise and traditions of craftsmanship, her urban society and her network of railways gave her an economic lead in Europe second only to Great Britain.
After her independence in 1830, the Government gave financial help for the construction of railways and by 1850 about 900 kilometres of rail were laid. Private entrepreneurs were also encouraged to invest. During the 1850s and 1860s the Government virtually withdrew from the field and private investors were allowed to develop private lines rapidly which rose from 150 kilometres in 1850 to 2,100 kilometres in 1870.
Thereafter, the state again entered the field competing with private lines. The output of coal, iron and textiles went up steeply. Upto 1870, Belgium was self-sufficient in its entire requirements of food. After that, she was able even to export its agricultural products which between 1840 and 1900 touched high figure of 50 per cent.
8. Industrial Development in France:
On the eye of the French Revolution, the textile mills of Abbevilla employed 12,000 workers. The Anzin Mining Company employed about 4,000 workers. In Paris, there were about 50 “manufactories” and they employed between 700 and 800 workers. The workers were subjected to quasi-military type of discipline. Napoleon took keen interest in the matter.
Many French industrialists and technicians visited England, purchased English machines and even hired English workers. All this was under the patronage of the Government. Between 1788 and 1812, the number of looms in France increased from 7,000 to 17,000 and workers from 76,000 to 131,000.
There were 452 mines with 43,305 workers, 41 iron works with 1,202 workers, 1,219 forges with 7,120 workers and 98 sugar refineries with 585 workers. It has been estimated that French industry reached by 1815 the level of mechanization of England in 1780.
After the French Revolution, the pace of mechanization did not pick up because the ruling elite in France were not mechanically minded. The landed proprietors were also not interested in mechanization.
In 1832, horse power of French industry was under 1,000. By 1848, it increased seven times. In England, even in 1820s, six times more horse power was used. French coal production in 1790 was about one-twentieth of that of England. During the July Monarchy (1830-1848), the increase was three times which was inadequate to meet her requirements.
The output of iron ore went up only two times. It took long before modem methods of smelting were adopted in France. The use of charcoal in furnaces continued in France till the World War I (1914-18). The development of roads and railways in France was faster but there was the difficulty of adequate funds at the beginning.
However, the Government of Louis Philippe gave sufficient funds for that purpose. A law was passed in 1836 for the construction and upkeep of local roads. From 1830 to 1848, the length of canals was doubled. Railway construction was slow in France on account of a controversy. The governing elite opposed the investment of funds on railway construction. Even a man like Thiers (1797-1877) resisted it.
Private capitalists were not coming forward for the construction of railways. Ultimately, a law was passed in 1842 which provided that capital for railway construction was to be jointly contributed by public authorities and private interests. The authorities were responsible for providing the “infrastructure” such as land, track, bridges and tunnels.
They were also asked to provide much of “super-structure” such as stations, rails, equipment, etc. The state was given representation on the boards of management and also retained the right to nationalise the lines after the expiry of the prescribed concession period. From 1844 to 1846, France was in the grip of its first railway mania. By 1846, France had railway lines approximately 1,800 kilometres. However, many small local lines went bankrupt in 1847. In 1848, the length of French railways was only 1,921 kilometres.
The boom revived under Napoleon III (1852-1870). Private initiative was encouraged by guaranteeing assured interest on investment. The result was that while railways in 1851 were less than 4,000 kilometres, they went up to 7,000 in 1857 and 17,000 in 1870. The construction of railways boosted the production of coal and iron. The consumption of coal was trebled between 1851 and 1871. In the same period, the use of horse power in industry went up five times.
The average price of steel was almost cut by half. The greatest iron works at Le Creusot which produced 5,000 tons in 1,836 was able to produce 18,000 tons in 1847, lion output increased from 35,000 tons in 1855 to 133,000 tons in 1867. During the same period, foreign commerce increased three times.
By 1846, there were hardly more than a million workers employed in large-scale industries in France. They were congested into a few big towns and industrial areas—the cotton textile areas of Alsace, Normandy and the Nord, the metallurgical areas of Lorraine and the basin of the Loire and the silk area around Lyon. This means an abnormal growth of a few towns. In the ten years from 1831 to 1841, Saint Etienne grew from a population of 16,000 to 54,000 and Roubaix from 8,000 to 34,000.
The unregulated employment of women and children for long hours in bad factory conditions exposed the industrial workers not only to insanitary living conditions and hardships but also to widespread tuberculosis and epidemics of cholera which ravaged France in 1831 -32 and 1847-48. It was found in 1840 that out of every 10,000 Youngman drafted for military service in France, 9,000 had to be rejected as medically unfit.
9. Industrial Development in Germany:
The mechanization of industry came comparatively late in Germany. In 1815, the German states as a whole were far more rural in character than France. There were a few trading towns of some size like Hamburg and Frankfurt but there was no city comparable to Paris. The largest city was Berlin with a population of about 150,000. Of the 1,016 towns, only 18 had more than 10,000 inhabitants. 73.5 per cent population of Germany was definitely rural.
The unit of production was the small shop. In most industries, guilds still played an important role. It is true that their power had been broken but in many states the guild regulations continued in force. Methods of trade were backward. As a rule, craftsmen sold their goods directly to the consumers at the weekly markets and fairs. Economically, most of the Germans were living in the middle Ages.
There were many reasons for this state of affairs. The political division of Germany was an obstacle to commerce and industry. Each of the 39 states into which Germany was divided was a law unto itself in economic matters. Trade was obstructed by tariff barriers and differences in the systems of coinage, weights and measures. Each state, whether small or big, had its own laws.
So long as the states remained as separate units, no industrial development could be expected. German markets were not sufficiently large to absorb the products of large-scale production. German manufacturers had no outlets for their products. The home market in Germany was limited by the difficulties of transportation. Germany as a whole was ill-provided with roads.
After the Napoleonic Wars, the roads in Germany were so bad that it was difficult and at times impossible, to move even food supplies except in dry seasons. German manufacturers were hampered by the lack of free capital. Germany had not reaped the advantages of a profitable foreign trade. As a matter of fact, it had suffered from the devastating effects of the Napoleonic Wars.
It was a poor country in every sense of the term. There was no surplus capital which could be used in industrial enterprises. Banking and credit facilities were lacking. The so-called banks of Germany were only places for money changing.
Credit facilities were in an elementary stage. During the first decade and a half after the Napoleonic Wars, there was practically no progress. Sombart writes, “I believe it will not be amiss to assume that the economic condition of the people was worse in 1830 than in 1802.”
After 1830, a movement began which gained momentum after 1850. In that development, Prussia took the lead. The Prussian Government had freed the serfs in the first decade of the nineteenth century and thereby created a supply of free labour. During the same period, it abolished the guild restrictions and thereby established industrial freedom which permitted each person to choose his own trade. Power machinery was introduced there slowly.
In 1846, less than four per cent of the cotton looms of Prussia were driven by power. Industrial development along factory lines made headway after the middle of the nineteenth century. Up to 1850, coke smelting furnaces were rare. After that, improved methods were introduced rapidly. The railway era was inaugurated by the Prussian state in 1848 when work began on the railway running from Berlin towards the Russian border.
The state of Prussia took an important step towards the economic unification of Germany by establishing the Zollverein or the Customs Union. When it was started on 1 January, 1834, the Zollverein included 18 states.
During the subsequent period, its membership was extended until it included most of the German states. Within the framework of the Zollverein, traffic among the states was made free from customs barriers of every kind. The aim of the Union included the establishment of uniform coinage, weights and measures.
The Zollverein proved to be a stimulant to industrial development after 1850. The consumption of raw cotton in Germany arose from about 28,000 tons in 1851 to about 50,000 tons in 1865. The annual consumption of silk increased from 300 tons in 1840 to 950 tons in 1870. A beginning was made in the systematic exploitation of the natural resources of coal and iron.
The production of iron ore quadrupled during the two decades from 1850 to 1870. The production of coal increased from three million tons in 1846 to 18½ million tons in 1867 and nearly 30 million tons by 1871. During that period, the modem credit banks appeared. Rail-roads were extended until Germany had 11,501 miles of rail-roads by 1870.
By the time of the establishment of the German Empire in 1871, she got rich lands of Alsace and Lorraine from France in 1871. From 1871 to 1914, Germany became the most powerful state m Europe. She already produced more coal than France in 1850. Both countries almost doubled their coal production from 1850 to 1860. Between 1850 and 1880, France multiplied her production by a little more than four and Germany by nearly ten. Coal production in Germany was dependent on the building of railways which in their turn needed greater coal production. The use of the steam engine to accelerate transport on land and sea was important for Germany.
10. Industrial Development in Italy:
Like Germany, Italy was divided into many states. The pace of industrial development in Italy was fitful and varied from state to state. There came into existence many industrial complexes mostly located in Northern Italy. The industrialisation of Italy picked up real momentum after the completion of her unification in 1870.
11. The Austrian Empire:
Although Maria Theresa (1717-1780) adopted a policy of selective industrialisation, its pace was slow. There were many conflicting ethnic, political and economic issues which stood in the way of her progress.
In mid-eighteenth century, Russia produced more cast iron than England and France and twice as much as Germany. However, her production of cast iron was surpassed by Britain m 1805, by France in 1828 and Germany and Austria in 1855. It seems curious that while Russian diplomatic prestige and influence was at it’s highest in Central and Western Europe from 1815 to 1854, her economic life was primitive. Before the Crimean War (1854-1856), the great majority of Russians never handled money but gave services and received payments in kind.
At the village markets, trade was mostly carried on by barter. A money economy developed in Russia after the Crimean War partly because of emancipation of serfs, partly because of the export of wheat abroad and partly because of the building of railways. Until the 1860s, industries remained merely unimportant supplements to agriculture. Industrial workers often worked in factories only in winter and returned to land in summer.
Russia was handicapped by the location of her mineral wealth. The iron ore of the Urals was far from the areas of dense population and from the coal needed for smelting iron ore. To take the products of the Urals to Moscow and St. Petersburg, canals and rivers had to be used. That could be done only when the weather conditions were favourable. The iron ore of the Krivoi Rog region and the coal of the Donetz region were equally remote from Moscow and St. Petersburg and the great rivers flowed in the wrong direction.
Hence, the building of railways was of vital importance for the economy of Russia. Unlike the countries of Western Europe, Russia began to acquire a railway network before industrialisation had started. In 1843, the Government built a line from Warsaw to the Polish-Austrian frontier, on the way to Vienna. In 1851, the line from St. Petersburg to Moscow was completed. By 1855, there were only 660 miles of railway track in Russia. Under Alexander II, encouragement was given to investment in the railways by Reutern, the Minister of Finance. By 1861, there were a thousand miles of railway trade. In 1880, there were 14,000 miles of railway track.
From a completely un-industrialised society in 1860, production of coal and iron was building up in the period to 1880. From 1860 to 1876, coal production multiplied itself by 16 and steel production by ten. Russian industry was born fully grown. A few large factories, rather than many small ones were the pattern. In 1879, about 40 per cent of the industrial workers were in factories employing more than a thousand men.
That was partly due to the role played by the state in the Industrial Revolution in Russia. In 1860, the State Bank was founded. Capital was made available for industry and industrial enterprises were run by the Government. In 1857, the Russian Government founded a railway by decree.
In economic terms, Poland was the most modem part of the Russian Empire. Polish industry developed quickly from small beginnings in the 1870s. The textile industry was the first to be modemised. Poland began training her own engineers and technicians. Coal and iron industries were developed in the South-West. The Balkans, Most of the Balkan states were under the Ottoman Empire and they remained insulated from European industrialisation.
13. The Industrial Expansion after 1870:
If the forty years from 1830 to 1870 saw a veritable “Industrial Revolution” in Great Britain and the preparatory stage in Western and Central Europe and in Eastern North America, the next forty years from 1870 to 1910 were marked by a progressive output of industries already largely mechanised, a rapid evolution of novel industries and a transformation of agricultural into industrial population.
These developments applied equally to Britain, European states and the United States. During this period, the number of engineers and scientists, physicists and chemists multiplied and they allied themselves to machine industry. A large number of polytechnic schools and schools of applied sciences were set up in all countries which aspired to be civilised and progressive. Tools of precision were multiplied.
14. Coal Iron and Steel:
The production of coal and iron was speeded up during this period. British production of coal increased from 100 million tons in 1870 to 265 million tons in 1910. Likewise, production of pig iron increased from six to nine million tons. In Germany, the output of coal increased from 37½ million tons to 222 million tons. It increased in France from sixteen to forty million tons.
In the United States, it increased from 35 to 415 million tons. The output of pig iron in Germany increased from two million tons to about 15 million tons. In France, it increased from 1½ million tons to five million tons. In the United States, it increased from 1-2/3 to 27-1/3 million tons.
There was an improvement in the Bessemer and Siemens processes for the manufacture of steel. The steam locomotives were improved. There was further expansion of railways not only in Europe but also in the United States, Canada, Australia, Latin America, Asia and Africa. By 1905, Trans-Siberian railway linked Moscow and Western Europe with Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean.
The steamships increased in numbers, size and speed. Regular services were multiplied for passengers and goods from London and Liverpool, Hamburg and Bremen, Le Havre and Marseilles, Antwerp and Rotterdam, Genoa and Trieste, New York and Montreal, Yokohama and Shanghai, Bombay and Melbourne, Cape Town and Buenos Aires.
15. Textile Industry:
The textile industry kept on growing during this period. In Britain, the number of spindles increased from 36,700,000 in 1870 to 53,500,000 in 1910. The number of power looms increased from 475,000 to 700,000. In 1870, Britain possessed more spindles, and power looms than all the rest of the world put together, but in 1910, it had only about 40 per cent of the spindles and 30 per cent of power looms.
In 1910, there were 37,200,000 spindles on the Continent of Europe, 27,800,000 in the United States and 10,000,000 in other parts of the world. There were similar improvements in the other textile industries of wool and linen. The silk industry of France and Italy was mechanized and expanded. Search of artificial silk led to rayon.
There was a steady progress in applying chemistry to the dyeing of fabrics. A large number of chemical dyes were derived from coal tar. With the improvement of machines, enlargement of factories and increase in markets, there was a mounting output of cutlery, porcelain, tinware, boots and shoes, paper, furniture, tools, fire-arms and other implements of war.
The machinegun was improved and made automatic in 1889 by Sir Hiram Maxim, an American. In 1908, he also invented the “Maxim Silencer”. His brother Hudson Maxim perfected a smokeless powder. Rifles were improved in quality. Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist and engineer, introduced dynamite in 1867. In 1875, John Holland invented the first practical submarine.
Many new industries were set up. One of them was the rayon industry. There was an increase in the knowledge and exploitation of electricity.
After 1870, the use of electricity became popular and common. Side by side with the steam engine, there developed a wide range and great variety of electrical devices. Electrical dynamos and motors were improved and multiplied. Lighting by gas or kerosene was largely supplanted by lighting. Thomas Edison invented the incandescent electric light in 1878. Bell invented the telephone in 1876.
By the end of the 1880s, most cities of Europe and America were being provided with systems of electrically-powered street railways. Later on, electric railways were also introduced. In 1895, Marconi, a youthful Italian, devised a practical system of wireless telegraphy. In 1898, wireless telegraphic communication was established across the English Channel and in 1901 across the Atlantic.
The application of electricity became more and more popular. People came to have electric lights and telephones and small electric motors for vacuum cleaners, for sewing machines and for washing machines. There was rapid progress in electroplating, in electro-typing and in the use of electric furnaces for making steel.
Many other things for personal comforts were invented. Artificial heating was provided by a variety of furnaces. The first sewing machine was designed and patented by an American, Elias Howe, in 1846. The first commercial exploitation of it was undertaken in the 1850s. In 1863, the Singer Manufacturing Company was established. The electric sewing machine was patented in 1889.
The first really successful typewriter was made in 1867-1872. Its commercial manufacture was started in 1874 by Remington and Sons. Other firms also started making typewriters in America and in Europe. The manufacture of bicycle developed after 1870. Ball bearings were introduced in 1877. Pneumatic rubber tires were added in 1889. By the 1890s, the bicycle was widely used in Europe and America.
One form of cellulose called celluloid was first made in the United States in 1869. Other forms came to be employed for new artificial silk, for explosives, for photographic films and for print paper. The extensive manufacture of cheap wood-pulp paper was of great importance in the evolution of journalism.
Photography made great progress after 1870. In 1884, the film-roll was invented. In 1885, George Eastman laid the foundations of his great photographic industry at Rochester, New York, by patenting a machine for the manufacture of films. In 1888, the Eastman Company marketed the first Kodak, a small portable roll-film camera. By 1900, photography was an important and widespread industry.
A lot of progress was made in the direction of moving pictures. In 1891, Thomas Edison patented a peep-show device. In 1895, two Frenchmen patented the cinematograph, a mobile machine, combining a camera, a film-printing device and a projector. This marked the real beginning of the motion picture industry. After 1900, the display of motion pictures became a regular feature of life. In 1905, the first exclusively motion picture theatre was opened at Pittsburg.
The internal combustion engines were applied to motor cars, motor-boats and aviation. The utilization of the principle of the turbine for a steam engine was an invention of Sir Charles Parsons who patented his steam turbine in 1884. In 1889, he established at Newcastle a large factory for the manufacture of steam turbines. The diesel engine was patented in 1892 and publicly demonstrated for the first time in 1898. By 1910, it was being employed in electrical works, ocean-liners and locomotives.
In 1885-1886, a small portable internal combustion engine, fuelled with light oil and capable of propelling vehicles and boats was made. This was the gasoline engine. Daimler applied the gasoline engine to a bicycle in 1886 and to a wagon in 1887.
Aviation was rendered practicable by the gasoline engine. In the 1890s Daimler’s engine was utilised for airships. The first Zeppelin was constructed in 1900 and the first successful flight was made in 1906. Many mechanics and engineers devised motor airplanes (heavier than air). In 1903, a gasoline engine was set up in a glider. In 1909, Bleriot, a French aviator, flew across the English Channel from Calais to Dover.
17. Petroleum and Rubber:
There was a great demand for petroleum products on account of their rapidly extending utilization for motor parts, motor-boats, airplanes, etc. The output of crude oil throughout the world increased from half a million barrels in 1860 to 325 million barrels in 1910.
To begin with, most of the petroleum came from the United States but later on it came from Russia, Rumania, Mexico, South America, Persia and the Dutch East Indies also. It was a big undertaking to refine the crude oil and transport it to the places where it was required for consumption.
There was also the development of rubber industry. More and more of rubber was required for making tyres for motor-cars. The production of crude rubber rose from 10,000 tons in 1870 to 75,000 tons in 1910.To begin with, rubber was got from Brazil but later on most of it started coming from rubber plantations in the Dutch East Indies, Ceylon, Borneo, French Indo-China and various regions of tropical Africa.
Lime cement had been made in the eighteenth century. About 1825, good cement was invented in Great Britain and named Portland cement as it resembled in colour to Portland limestone. Portland cement was manufactured in Britain and France in the 1850s. After 1870, cement came to be manufactured on a large scale in many other countries.
After 1870, there was a steady mechanizing and industrialisation of agriculture. Farm machinery continued to be improved and multiplied. To bigger and better drills, seeders, cultivators and harvesters were, now hitched gasoline engines. There was a better knowledge and use of chemical fertilizers.
There had already been industrialisation in Britain and Belgium between 1830 and 1870 and from 1870 to 1910, Germany and the United States were industrialised. France was also industrialised but not to the same degree. In lesser and varying degree, Italy, Austria, Bohemia, Holland, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan were also industrialised.
In 1870, England and Belgium were the only countries in the world where more people were engaged in manufacture and mining than in agriculture. However, in 1910, Germany and the United States could be ranked with England and Belgium in that respect. Even in other countries, more people were now engaged in manufacture and mining.
The so-called Industrial Revolution was not halted by the World War I. As a matter of fact, it reached a new stage of achievement in the next thirty years. The output of previously mechanised industries was increased by technological improvements. At the same time, new machine industries sprang up and expanded with great speed. Industrialisation was intensified not only in the so-called capitalist countries but also in a Communist country like the Soviet Union and also in Turkey and Mexico. The whole of Europe was mechanised. As a matter of fact, industrialisation spread to all parts of the world.
The production of coal and iron was almost doubled throughout the world between 1910 and 1940. There was a slight decline in Great Britain but it was more than offset by gains in the United States, in Russia and in Japan. By 1940, Russia was mining almost as much coal and iron as Germany, and Japan almost as much as France. There was also a large-scale production of coal in China and South Africa.
The same was the case with industries dealing with textiles. The production of cotton increased slightly, but that of wool increased by more than a third arid production of natural silk was more than doubled and that of artificial silk or rayon was multiplied four hundredfold. Rayon development was one of the great achievements of industrialisation. From the very start, it was a thoroughly mechanised industry.
Not only the raw material was made by machinery, but its whole manufacture of thread and cloth was also done by machinery. It became suddenly important all over the world. Along with textile industries, many other industries were established, i.e., leather, pottery and porcelain, paper and printing, typewriters, cutlery, fire-arms, furniture, tinware, tools, canning and refrigeration and electric goods.
Electrical industries developed at a very high speed. Electric power was substituted more and more for steam power. Hydro-electric power plants were multiplied. Electric lighting was improved by the use of the tungsten filament lamps.
There was further improvement in the means of communication and transport. The existing network of railways was extended to Asia, Africa and South America. Rail locomotives carried a very large number of persons and large quantities of goods from one place to another. Over the whole earth, messages were carried by telegraph and telephone wires.
The existing network of steamship lines was expanded. The total tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping rose from 40 million in 1910 to 59 millions in 1935. Great Britain kept a large merchant fleet than any other nation. The tonnage of the United States, Italy and the Netherlands doubled between 1910 and 1939 and that of Japan tripled.
The number of motorcars, motor-trucks, airplanes, motion pictures and radios increased immensely. Their production assumed colossal proportions. Production of motorcars and trucks developed rapidly in the United States. Gradually, increasing number of cars were produced in Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada and Japan. By 1939, the number of registered motor vehicles throughout the world exceeded 43 millions.
Aviation also developed rapidly and was used for commercial carrying of mails and passengers. Regular airplane services were inaugurated between Paris and London, Paris and Alexandria and on to Baghdad and India, from Paris to Brazil and from New York to Mexico and Central and South America. In 1929, a Zeppelin aero plane circumnavigated the world from Germany via Tokyo and Los Angeles and New York back to Germany, in 20 days.
In 1927, Lindberg, an American aviator, flew his airplane alone and without a stop from New York to Paris. Admiral Richard Byrd explored the Arctic Ocean and visited the North Pole in 1927. In 1929, he explored the Antarctic Continent and flew over the South Pole. By 1939, commercial airlines were being operated by every major nation and were carrying mail, merchandise and passengers over all the oceans and Continents of the world.
The fuelling of gasoline engines gave an impetus to petroleum industry. Between 1910 and 1939, the world output of petroleum increased over six fold, from 325 million barrels to 2,000 million barrels. Rubber industry also made great progress. Its consumption rose from 75,000 tons in 1910 to more than a million tons in 1939. Most of the rubber came from the Dutch East Indies, the Malaya Peninsula and Ceylon. There was a beginning in the production of synthetic rubber.
There was a widespread use of concrete. Concrete roads paralleled railways or provided a substitute for them. Concrete was also used for public buildings, industrial plants, garages, hangars, piers, bridges and even ship-building.
In the post-war period, motion pictures became popular all over the world. They were perfected and popularised during the World War I and more particularly after 1920. In 1928, talking movies were first made and very shortly afterwards, they were heard and seen all over the world. A large number of films were made in the United States. A beginning was made in other countries also.
There was also the development of radio. In 1920, the first permanent radio broadcasting station was put into operation by the Westinghouse Company of the United States. Private homes began to be equipped with radio receiving sets. There was rapid progress in the production and use of radios. Within 15 years, every nation in the world had broadcasting stations.
Everywhere there were enough receiving sets to enable most of the people of the world to receive practically simultaneous news of what was happening in different parts of the world, particularly the metropolitan cities. In the United States alone, there were 51 million radio sets in use in 1940. In 1928 began the transmission of pictures across the Atlantic and in colour.
There was also an increase in the output of foodstuffs in the world. Agriculture continued to be industrialised and mechanised more and more. The result was that there were more vegetables, fruits, grain and meat. The output of wheat in the world increased from 3,250 million bushels in 1920 to 4,600 million bushels in 1938. Industrialisation promised to provide humankind with an ample supply of food and clothing, quicker means of communication and more and more of comforts.
18. Results of the Industrial Revolution: Economic Effects:
The Industrial Revolution had its effects in various fields. As regards its economic effects, it resulted in the factory system. A variety of articles and goods began to be manufactured in large quantities in big factories. The factory system led to the division of labour and mass production through standardisation of processes and parts. Before the Industrial Revolution, industry was the hand-made of commerce.
After the Industrial Revolution, industry became a big field for investment. It was industry that furnished commerce with an ever-increasing supply of saleable commodities and extended enormously its range. Commerce grew by leaps and bounds. There was a rapid rise in the producer’s goods industries as distinguished from consumer’s good industries.
The Industrial Revolution created surplus wealth which came to be owned by the capitalists. With the progress of the Industrial Revolution, the power and influence of the captains of industry grew more and more. They shaped the course of further industrialisation by reinvesting their gains in new enterprises. There was so much of increase in production by machines that in spite of lavish personal expenditures on non-productive display, only a small fraction of the total increase in wealth was immediately consumed. The growth of the joint stock companies with limited liability facilitated the investment of surplus capital and the progress of new industries.
Machines produced much more than what was necessary for the domestic markets and hence arose the necessity of foreign markets for the disposal of the surplus goods. That ultimately led to imperialistic expansion and spheres of influence in the undeveloped countries of the world. The Industrial Revolution introduced the new phenomena of large-scale booms and depressions after intervals. Industrial Revolution led to international economic dependence.
The cotton spindles of Britain depended upon a steady supply of raw cotton from the United States. As urbanization progressed in Britain and Europe, less food was grown in these countries which became heavy importers of wheat, meat and tropical food products. Europe exported manufactured goods in exchange for food. “The entire world became a market place. Dislocation of industry in any part of the world often has important repercussions in countries thousands of miles away.”
Industrial Revolution led to the expansion of trade all over the world. There was expansion of trade, both inland and overseas. Articles made in one country found their way into foreign countries and brought in a good deal of wealth to the producers.
Before the Industrial Revolution, there was a great strain on manual labour. The rate of production was slow. The output was small and the finished products were costly. The new machines worked by steam power or by oil worked faster and saved time and labour. They produced much more and more cheaply too.
The Industrial Revolution was directly responsible for the construction of tarred roads, the introduction of steam engines, railways and steamships and the expansion of the canal system. Industrial centres were linked with business centres by sea, by road and by rail. The new highways, railways and steamboats carried goods safely and quickly from one part of the world to another and also provided comfortable travelling to the people. As more and more factories and mills were constructed, the demand for workers went up and expanded industries absorbed millions of people as workers, labourers, technicians, managers, salesmen, etc.
The Industrial Revolution had its impact on agriculture also as some of the inventions included agricultural machines. Mechanical ploughs, cultivators, drills, threshers, etc., reduced the labour and time of farmers and performed their work better. The result was larger production, more food and greater prosperity.
19. Social Results:
As regards social results of Industrial Revolution, there was a migration of workers on a vast scale from small agricultural villages to cities. Thousands of agricultural workers who were without work on account of the Agrarian Revolution and the “Enclosure” movement in England left their homes in the agricultural South for the industrial North in the hope of finding employment in factories. That caused untold miseries and hardships.
Those workers found that the living conditions in the industrial towns were absolutely unfit for human beings. No attention was paid to sanitation and the workers had to live in slums with foul smell. The employers found it more profitable to employ women and children in their factories because they were easier to control than men and they could be employed on lower wages.
The result was that while men were unemployed, their wives and children worked in factories. The children and women were mercilessly exploited. Children of pauper parents were farmed out to factory owners on terms which amounted to slavery. They were literally worked to death. They were given something as trifling wage, sometimes only board and lodging.
They were forced to work for very long hours till they dropped from sheer exhaustion. Not infrequently, they fell into the machinery to be killed or maimed for life. The brutality with which they were treated was simply unbelievable. The food given to them was bad and insufficient. Many of the factories were entirely without ventilation.
Not infrequently, workers were victims of certain diseases traceable to the character of their work. Schapiro writes, “Early every morning the pauper children sent to factories by the overseers of the poor were awakened and taken to the mill where, in stench, in heated rooms and constant whirling of a thousand wheels, idle fingers and little feet were kept in ceaseless action, forced into unnatural activity by blows from the heavy hands and feet of the merciless over lookers and the infliction of bodily pain by instruments invented by the sharpened ingenuity of insatiable selfishness. If they were suspected of a desire to run away in order to escape from their unbearable misery, they were regarded as criminals, mercilessly chained to the machines which they operated.”
Dance observes, “Most of the factories were cramped, dirty, unhealthy places merely to work in and often causing the working people to catch diseases of various kinds. Often too, they were badly built so that they collapsed under the weight of their machines and injured the workmen. Hardly were any of these machines protected by railings and it was quite common for those in-charge to be caught in the wheels and get either injured or killed. It was not at all unusual for men to be kept at work from six in the morning till ten at night, sixteen hours of work, often without a break, even for meals.
In the cotton factories in Lancashire, it was worse still. In many cotton mills, the air had to be kept very warm and very damp, or the cotton was spoilt. This warm, damp atmosphere was very bad for the workers and in the old days of 16 hours’ work, many of them got fearful coughs, consumption and rheumatism so that before long they either died or became crippled. Worst of all, the women and children suffered from all this just as much as the men who could stand it better.
Their hours were as long as the men’s, they were kept in the same unhealthy rooms and the children were especially given dullest work to do since they were not old enough to do the more difficult work. Boys and girls of six had to work even for 12 or 16 hours and remained without attention. There were no proper arrangements for latrines as well as for recreation after hard labour.”
Industrial Revolution led to insecurity of work. The number of workers who went to industrial towns was considerably more than the total number of jobs available in factories. The result was that many of them remained unemployed. That led to the practice of underselling themselves in order to get employment.
The problem of unemployment of men was aggravated by the employment of women and children on lower wages. If a worker employed on daily wages became unwell or otherwise he could not attend the factory on a particular day, he lost his wages. There was no provision for old age or insurance against unemployment. The workers did not know what was in store for them in future.
When industry was in the domestic stage, there was a variety of work for a worker. He completed all the processes of manufacture himself A change from one process to another provided recreation for him. A shoemaker would cure and tan the skin and would cut the “upper” and the sole and finish the entire job of making the shoe himself under the factory system, there was specialization and day after day, the worker had to handle the same machine. Consequently, the work became monotonous and uninteresting and the worker felt bored.
Although under the Industrial Revolution, the factory-owners and big industrialists made fortunes and lived in luxury, the workers remained miserably poor. Their wages were small. They were forced to live in abominable conditions. The disparity between the living standards of the capitalists and workers was very great. The factory workers launched the Chartist movement claiming better conditions of work and higher wages. That resulted in a perennial strife between capital and labour.
There was insecurity and mass unemployment as a result of Industrial Revolution. There was also the danger of large-scale shut-down as a result of business depressions. Mass unemployment became one of the gravest social problems arising from Industrial Revolution.
As a result of the Industrial Revolution, the old personal relationship between the employers and the employees disappeared. There occurred a sharp cleavage between the employers and the employees. Under the domestic system, the employers brought raw materials to the worker to be turned into finished products and those were returned to the employer.
The workers themselves often possessed the spindles and looms. Under the factory system, the employer seldom saw his workers and much of the capital invested in the factory was owned by the people who never saw the factory. Although their interests were common, there was an unbridgeable gulf between the industrial masters and their men.
Under the factory system, labour became more and more impersonal. For example, the man who made a shoe was himself concerned with the making of every part of it. There was a chance to display individual skill. Things changed after the Industrial Revolution. The worker performed only a fraction in the process of making a shoe. That function was purely mechanical. He was merely a hand. Work was changed by the Industrial Revolution into a monotonous and deadening affair. The unskilled labourer largely replaced the skilled labourer.
20. Political Results:
As regards the political results of the Industrial Revolution, there was a strengthening of the middle class. A large number of villages became rotten boroughs. While the rotten boroughs were sending two members each to British Parliament, very many new industrial towns were completely unrepresented.
The result was that Parliament passed a bill to remove discrepancies in the teeth of bitter opposition from the big landlords who constituted a large majority of the Conservative Party. There was the necessity of disenfranchising the rotten boroughs and giving representation to the newly founded industrial towns. Parliament passed laws to remove this anomaly. The Reform Act of 1832 redistributed seats in Parliament to give representation to the new industrial centres.
The bourgeoisie were successful in putting down the Chartist agitation which aimed at the extension of political power to the working classes. The position of the bourgeoisie in France was strengthened by the July Revolution of 1830 which put Louis Philippe on the throne of France.
In the long run, labour became a great political force. As democracy progressed, the labouring classes became stronger politically and ultimately were able to make their influence felt at the time of elections. Many radical movements were started as the Government failed to take prompt action to improve the lot of the workers. Society came to be divided into two parts, the haves and have-nots.
As a result of the Industrial Revolution, the military superiority of a country became dependent upon the extent of industrialisation in that country. Industrialised countries, alone could produce modem military weapons. The Northern States succeeded in the Civil War (1861-1865) because they were more industrialised than the Southern states.
The Industrial Revolution also had intellectual and cultural results. In his book entitled “Wealth of Nations,” Adam Smith (1723-1790) forcefully expressed himself against interference by government with business. His view was that each man is the best judge of his own economic affairs.
The free play of competition and universal desire for enrichment would result in the maximum increase m total wealth. Though individuals may be selfish and unconcerned with the common good, their collective activity would automatically tend to the economic welfare of all. He supported the economic doctrine of Laissez faire.
The function of government was merely to be an omnipresent policeman protecting property and compelling the performance of contracts. Laissez faire implied two things unfettered relations between seller and buyer and between employer and employee. It was the social and economic changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution which stimulated the growth of economic or political economy.
The ideas of Adam Smith were developed and elaborated by the classical economists such as Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) and David Ricardo (1777-1823). In 1798, Malthus asserted that any improvement in the economic condition of the poor would be counter-balanced by an increase in population, as population tends to increase to the limit of the means of subsistence. Grinding poverty and high death rate from starvation, disease and war must for ever be the lot of the mass of mankind.
The only alternative was the limitation of population by moral restraint. Ricardo enunciated the “iron law of wages” which means that wages must inevitably tend to an amount just capable of maintaining life, such as “the coal fed into a steam engine was just capable of maintaining the fire under the boiler”.
The socialists rejected this thesis. Robert Owen (1771-1858) set up a model factory where he put emphasis on good working conditions, fair wages, public schools, good homes and cooperative stores. Saint Simon (1760-1825) was in favour of an industrial state organised and directed by scientists and engineers. Charles Fourier (1772-1837) proposed to abolish the state and substitute phalansteries or working cells. Louis Blanc (1811-1882) tried to improve working conditions by setting up national workshops through which he hoped to eliminate unemployment and relieve the pressure of competition. Proudhon (1809-1865) expressed the view that property is theft.
Industrial Revolution also encouraged scientific investigation. The necessity of experts was felt as manufacturing techniques became, more complex. The profession of engineers became an integral part of the industrial civilization. A lot of money was spent on laboratories carrying out research in various technological problems.
Industrial Revolution secularised interest. “The mass-circulation newspaper, the automobile, the motion picture and the radio—all products of the Industrial Revolution—have supplied men with a whole new set of interests and far more than the arguments of philosophical agnosticism have brought about the secularisation of viewpoint and widespread religious indifferentism that is characteristic of contemporary life.”
It has rightly been said that “the immediate economic effects of the Industrial Revolution were on the one hand, to add enormously to English wealth and capital and on the other hand to degrade the English masses, enlarging the urban proletariat and holding it to poverty as a permanent condition”.
Industrial Revolution was all-pervasive and comprehensive. It radically altered the face of Europe. Its impact was on every phase of European life. However, it was not an unmixed blessing. It had both its merits and demerits. It raised the standard of living of Europeans but made them psychologically shaky.
It opened new vistas of unusual potentialities but also aggravated the rat race which tended to dehumanise them. If there were numerous pockets of affluence, there were more segments of poverty and starvation. There were more slums than the sky-scrapers. The rich became richer and the poor poorer. Urbanization spoiled the beauty and serenity of the natural landscape. Population increase upset the ecological balance.
Life expectancy of men went up but along with it insecurity has increased. Spiritualism has been thrown in the background. Industrialisation reinforced by rapid scientific progress has made man arrogant and belligerent and he is fast losing his balance and sobriety. Man has lost his sense of direction. Moral values are being obscured. There is a craze for more material possessions. Industrialisation has many more boons to offer provided man is prepared to tame it for the welfare of humanity at large.