One of the five innovations, mass production through the division of labor, changed traditional industries forcing workers to grow a stronger work ethic, but took home lesser pay due to fewer skills required. Josiah Wedgwood changed the lives of Europeans with the start of his pottery business creating items from porcelain. The porcelain would not ruin the flavor of peoples tea, cocoa, or coffee. Wedgwood divided the work among the workers by breaking them up into doing different tasks, such as unloading the clay, mixing it, pressing flat pieces, dipping the pieces in glaze, putting handles on cups, packing kilns, and carrying things from one part of his plant to another (Bulliet et al. 476).
He created what the United States calls today, the assembly line. The assembly line is still used to this day to quicken the process of production of items. During this period, the cotton industry boomed in Britain through mechanization the use of machines to do work that was previously done by hand. Mechanization had some advantages which were increased productivity for the manufacturer and lower prices for the consumer (Bulliet et al. 478). It brought the time it took to spin cotton from five hundred hours down to eighty minutes. Americas most valuable crop was cotton at the time of industrialization.
The invention of the mechanical cotton gin by Eli Whitney created an enormous amount of cotton crop down South, and extended slavery by fifty years. The Americans ended up adapting the cotton industry into the United States around 1820 and are continuing to grow cotton present day. Another major innovation developed during the industrial revolution was the iron industry. Iron was generally used throughout Africa, China, and Eurasia for tools, household items, and weapons; however, charcoal was needed for iron, but the need for charcoal caused deforestation. In 1709, Abraham Darby found out that coke could be used instead of charcoal.
Most of Britain was eventually making iron with coke which was cheaper, while other countries were still using charcoal. Coke-iron expanded greatly in Britain and their iron production rose relatively quickly. Cheap iron made mass production of objects appealing, but that brought along expensive labor. To lower the labor costs, manufacturers Eli Whitney and Eli Terry developed interchangeable parts which were eventually adopted worldwide. Interchangeable parts came to the Americas quickly using them for farm equipment, firearms, tools, and sewing machines.
The firearms and farm equipment in America today are still made with interchangeable parts. The device that set the Industrial Revolution apart from all other periods of innovation was the steam engine. Thomas Newcomen developed first steam engine between 1702 and 1712; however, James Watt repaired Newcomens steam engine and patented his own product which became a commercial product. The steam engine was highly celebrated because there always seemed to be supply of coal and the steam-generated energy was a source of power. Steam engines were eventually put on boats.
Steamboats could then sail upstream making it easier and quicker for people to get to certain destinations. The United States quickly became a nation that moved by water. Along with steamboats, railroads took a big turn with the production of the steam engine. Today, railroads and boats are major means of transportation for people and material. Lastly, electricity was applied to communication inventing electric telegraphs.
The electric telegraph was the device that allowed rapid long-distance communication through an electric wire. Telegraph wires were spread throughout the eastern United States, western Europe, and eventually began a network of the entire globe. The people no longer needed to take a train, sail, or use a horse to communicate. The invention of the electric telegraph made it easier for countries to communication and receive and send information quicker than having to travel from country to country or even city to city.
The telegraph was the first step to inventing what nations have today, telephones. In conclusion, the innovations from the Industrial Revolution led to profound changes in communication, society, and the economy. It had a major impact on the world people live in today. Britain set the standards for what every country strived for during that period.
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