To What Extent Can It Be Claimed That England Underwent An Industrial Revolution In The Years 1750 1850?

2213 words - 9 pages

TO WHAT EXTENT CAN IT BE CLAIMED THAT ENGLAND UNDERWENT AN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IN THE YEARS 1750 - 1850The Industrial Revolution was neither sudden nor swift. It was a long, slow process in which production from hand tools to machines and in which new sources of power such as steam and electricity replaced human and animal power. The Industrial Revolution did not only convert the patterns of work in nations, but completely transformed the way of life.In the years preceding 1750, England, although a wealthy nation still suffered from poverty and a poor economy. Despite the fact that there were manufacturers, not enough produce could be made, and so England needed an industrial revolution. The two main areas of productivity were agriculture and woolen textiles, the larger earner of these two being wool. The manufacture of woolen cloth had been the main industry since the middle ages, when England was one of the world's greatest producers of raw wool. However the garments were made in the people's homes and the progress was very slow this was known as the domestic outworking system. All the tools were worked by hand and were small enough to be used in the home. Not only was this process slow, but also such was the demand for yarn that it was constantly in short supply. Wool production was hard to mechanise, however cotton which was a new material being brought into Britain, was much easier to make and faster. Not only was it easier and faster, it was also more comfortable to wear. This new material may have been easier to mechanise but the raw materials had to be imported and this was more expensive, but still the demand was there, this is because cotton was so much lighter and a lot more comfortable, as a result people were not too bothered about the price, mainly the wealthy people. Such was the popularity of cotton, that in 1700, a law was passed banning all imports of cotton and in 1721 the wearing of cotton was actually banned. Due to these import bans and the popularity of cotton, even though the wearing of it had been banned (although how could they keep a check on who was wearing it?) local producers were allowed to step into the market, this not being possible before the ban because imports were so many that local producers could not get in, and so began the rise of the cotton industry in Britain.Although cotton was on the increase, the process was still to slow and was done in people's homes; this had to change if the cotton industry was to be a success. There were people who invented various items to make things easier and quicker, people like John Kay. In 1733, John Kay invented the flying shuttle, an improvement to looms that enabled weavers to weave faster. The original shuttle contained a bobbin on to which the weft (weaving term for the crossways yarn) yarn was wound. It was normally pushed from one side of the warp (weaving term for the series of yarns that extended lengthways in a loom) to the other side by hand. Large looms...

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