The Industrial Revolution of the 18th century was a primary factor in the major transformation of the economic, intellectual, social, and political realms in the western area of Europe. This era is also known as the Age of Enlightenment due to the broad implementation of the previous centurys ideas. Manufactured goods made their way from homes and small shops to factories in bigger areas. As this this took place, cultures began to change due to families moving from small, rural capacities to the urban cities for new, better job opportunities. These changes also brought about better modes of transportation, fresh technologies, and a better way of living for more people. The Industrial Revolution ultimately created growth and change in agriculture, transportation, iron and steam usage, labor and even influenced a revolution in the United States.
One of the very first inventions that helped change agriculture for the better began in 1731 with a farmer named Jethro Tull. He had noticed that the way farmers planted their crops resulted in little to no vegetation due to the seeds being washed away by rain or being eaten field mice and birds. Tull designed a drill that bored straight rows of holes into the ground where seeds could be dropped with no risk of being eaten or washed away (Bland 4).
He also created the horse hoe, which initially broke up the ground for more efficient irrigation, and published Horse-hoeing Husbandry as a way to encourage other farmers to change how they planted their crops. His inventions increased the growth of crops and were eventually implemented all over the country. Tulls innovations sparked a movement of new stock breeding and crop rotation theories, which led to the growth of new vegetables such as turnips and asparagus.
While this particular event is not discussed much in history classes, it plays a very important role in how farmers are now able to grow crops for food and produce more raw materials, like that of wool and cotton, for cloth. According to Joseph Montagna, the increased growth of crops primarily led to the ability to sustain livestock for food and larger herds for springtime farming. The invention and implementation of other techniques, such as metal equipment, has led to better farming conditions and allows farmers today to work at a faster pace to produce the items needed for everyday life.
The improvement of transportation systems was one of the most significant transformations that happened during this revolution. The construction of the steam engine and railroads became a more reliable to transport food, people, raw materials, and other products needed in factory settings in a timely, less expensive manner. As stated by Matthew White, Thomas Newcomen revealed his steam-driven piston machine in 1712, which he created to allow more resourceful pumping of deep mines.
As time quickly passed, the production and make of steam engines improved greatly. One account of the improvisations made came from Richard Trevithick, an inventor and engineer born in 1771. He developed the first high-pressure steam engines that were used to raise tin, water, and waste more efficiently from local tin mines and eventually created the worlds first operational steam locomotive (George 18).
The modifications in steam technology added on to the limited sources for power and sped up the development of industrialization. With the coal mines strict dependency on waterwheels, horsepower, and windmills, the addition of the steam engines and locomotives gave the iron industry a cheap and more reliable supply of coal.
The increased demand for coal and other raw materials initially led to the need for better road construction and conditions, and the use of canals. These new improvements allowed manufacturers to send and receive thousands of tons of raw materials and manufactured goods.
Although it does not coincide with the transportation, the use of steam power also allowed people to print books and newspapers at a cheap price, which in turn helped people learn to read.
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