The industrial revolution (1760-1830), Science

We will first give a brief description of  the qocial and economic changes of  this period so  that developments in science can be seen in the proper perspective. Already, by  the end of  the seventeenth century, the stage was set for the further advance of  the capitalist mode of production. The feudal and even royal restrictions on manufacture, trade and business had been swept away. The triumph of the bourgeoisie, and of  the capitalist system of economy which they had evolved, had taken place only after the most severe political, religious and intellectual  struggles. 

In Britain, the urban middle class had broken away completely from feudal limitations by  the eighteenth century. With an ever increasing market for their products all over the world, they could finance production for profit. With an expansion of markets, growing freedom from manufacturing restrictions and increasing opportunities for investment in profitable enterprise. the time was ripe for great technical innovations. 

Thus, we.find  that by  the middle of  the eighteenth century, the slow and gradual changes in the production of  goods gave way to a rapid change. The new methods of experimental science that emerged from the Scientific Revolution of  the sixteenth and the seventeenth century were now extended over the whole range of human experience. Their applications in creating new techniques brought about the great transformation of  the means of  production which we call the Industrial Revolu!ion.  The architects of  the Industrial Revolution were artisan inventors. Workmen with their small accumulated or borrowed capital were, for the first time, establishing  their claim to change and to direct the production processes. The domination of merchants over the production of  small artisans was also being broken. 

The Industrial Revolution came mainly from developments in  industry, that too  within  thc major industry of  those times:  the textile industry. As  the demand  for cloth increased, the old industry could not expand rapidly to meet  it. Also, by  1750, the industry came to deal with a new fibre, cotton. Earlier, cotton cloth had been  imported from India. With the import of cotton textile from India into Britain being prohibited, there was a great impetus to increase production of cotton  textiles. The use of cotton called for new techniques. Here, at last:  in  the cotton industry there was unlimited scope to substitute machinery for manual work. Thus, from the technical changes which had been taking place for many decades, came the idea of introducing several mechanical gadgets tor spinn~ng  and weaving. Manual work was greatly redue as machines replaced &&operations  that were done by hand).  

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mining and transport. The new mechanical industry developed around coal fields. However, it was the use of  the steam engine for power in the textile industry that really created the industrial complex of  the modem world. It revolutionised textile production, so much so, that production of goods increased almost five fold within 20 years. The idea of mechanisation rapidly spread to other areas such as  mining, metallurgy and even agriculture. Very soon the attention of the entire society was drawn to its explosive potential. With soaring profits, the search for markets became niore acute. It became necessary to have radically new means of  transport and communication to carry on this trade. The steam engine, as a stationary device, had long been used in mines and then in "factories" which had come into existence. Now it was put on rails to draw heavy loads over long distances. Thus, the railways linked the centres of  industry; and the steamships collected its raw materials and distributed its finished products far and wide. While the eighteenth century had  found the key  to production,  the nineteenth century was to find that to communication. Electricity had been used as long ago as 1737  to transmit messages for distances of a few kilometres. But now  it was absolutely necessary to transact business over long distances. This was ensured by  the successful invention of  the telegraph in 1837. Soon, wires were laid for speedier communication between  towns, from one country to another. By  1866, across the Atlantic Ocean. on its bed  in the form of cables, wires were laid to form a telegraphic link between Britain and America. Withiv a hundred years from the beginning of  the Industrial Revolution, factory towns had sprung up and the appearance of even the countryside had changed. A complete  transformation had taken place in the lives of milliork of people living in  the newly industrialised countries like Great Britain, France, Gennany, Holland, USA etc.

Posted Date: 9/27/2012 9:07:21 AM | Location : United States

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