Modern industry requires power to run its machinery. During the development of the Industrial Revolution in Britain,
coal was the main source of power. Even before the 18th century, some British industries had begun using the country’s
plentiful coal supply instead of wood, which was much scarcer. Coal was adopted by the brewing, metalworking, and glass and
ceramics industries, demonstrating its potential for use in many industrial processes.
One important factor in the industrial revolution was the creation of a large, urban, labour force. Many displaced farmeers
moved to the big, urban, growing cities where they tried to find work. Because of the new workers, coal mines and factories
started to open up. Many workers were hired to build roads, canals, and railroads that moved the goods and the people. The
Enclosure Acts and agricultural innovations created huge job oppurtunities which made the industrial revolution happen. Two
major industries are the textiles and transportation. In each of these industries, a series of new inventions made a tremendous
impact on Britain and, eventually the world. These inventions stimulated and supported each other. Which had caused enormous
growth in British industry in the late 1700s and the mid-1800s.
Inventions In The Textile Industry
In early 1700s, spinning and weaving werer cottage industries, so named because, at this time, almost all manufacturing
was done by hand at home. If you needed clothing yoou made it. Very few iems were bought from the store, so it was natural
to spin yarn and make clothing in one's home
Two people who made important changes to the textile industry were John Kay and James Hargreaves. Thier inventions moved
the industry from cottage to factory. John Kay invented the "flying shuttle" in 1733, replacing the hand-held shuttle used
in weaving. This machine doubled the amount of cloth a weaver could make; however, the weavers could only work as fast as
the spinners who made the yarn. In 1765, James Hargreaves built the first, "spinning jenny." Early models of his invention
had up to eight spindles. This allowed one spinner to produce eight times as much thread. The new spinning machines became
very popular and eventually had as many as 120 spindles. This greatly increased the amount of thread that could be produced,
so now the weavers had a good supply of thread for their work. The invention of the spinning jenny marks the beginning of
the Industrial Revolution.
In 1770, Hargreaves tried to patent his invention. A patent grants an inventor ownership of an invention. The invention
can then sell to others the right to copy and use the invention. The patent would have made him rich, but his application
was denied in a technicality. Because of this, Hargreaves made very little profit from his invention. He died in 1778 a relatively
Sir Richard Arkwright and the Factory System
The success of the textile industry increased with the inventions of Richard Arkwright. He began the manufacture of a
new spinning machine similar to the jenny, but which used sets of rollers to draw cotton from the carding machine. This process
produced a much stronger thread. Arkwright's machine was called a water frame because it was powered by water. The use of
new sources of energy to run machines was an important feature of the Industrial Revolution. It increased the quantity of
goods produced without increasing the number of workers needed.
Unlike Hargreaves who died poor, Arkwright prospered from his invention. Arkwright willingly risked his own money to
develop his original water frame. He persuaded a banker to provide him with money or capital to finance the manufacture of
his machines. In addition, he persuaded the government to remove the duty, or tax, on cloth. Since this made cloth cheaper,
he sold more of it.
Arkwright's business prospered and he built a number of mills which eventually employed as many as 5000 workers. Arkwright's
mill, built in 1771, marked the beginning of the factory system of employment. In this system, employees came to the workplace,
in contrast to the cottage industry where employees worked in their homes. The factory system changed the way millions of
people lived and worked.
Arkwright worked long days of upto 16 hours and prospered without a formal education. He died in 1792, a respected man
who had been knighted by King George III.
Inventions in the Iron and Coal Industry
A major breakthrough in the use of coal occurred in 1709 at Coalbrookedale in the valley of the
Severn River. There English industrialist Abraham Darby successfully used coke—a high-carbon, converted form of coal—to
produce iron from iron ore. Using coke eliminated the need for charcoal, a more expensive, less efficient fuel. Metal makers
thereafter discovered ways of using coal and coke to speed the production of raw iron, bar iron, and other metals.
The most important advance in iron production occurred in 1784 when Englishman Henry Cort invented
new techniques for rolling raw iron, a finishing process that shapes iron into the desired size and form. These advances in
metalworking were an important part of industrialization. They enabled iron, which was relatively inexpensive and abundant,
to be used in many new ways, such as building heavy machinery. Iron was well suited for heavy machinery because of its strength
and durability. Because of these new developments iron came to be used in machinery for many industries.
Iron was also vital to the development of railroads, which improved transportation. Better transportation
made commerce easier, and along with the growth of commerce enabled economic growth to spread to additional regions. In this
way, the changes of the Industrial Revolution reinforced each other, working together to transform the British economy.