Integrated Humanities: Industrial Revolution

I agree to the statement that the textile industry was the most significant factor in industrialization in the 18th and 19th centuries in Britain to a great extent. The development of the textile industry promoted the productivity of manufacturing textile. The more textile products were produced and they satisfied the marketing requirement.

Some of the excessive products were exported overseas and gained great income for Britain. The capital also contributed to other constructions. To improve the productivity, steam engines were introduced as well as the other innovative inventions. Then the application of these engines turned the previously manual labor and draft animal based manufacturing into machine based economy.

Also, the industry even provided occupations for the unemployed transients. In a word, it was the textile industry which triggered the commencement of British Industrialization and invention of many marked machines. As the core and basic industry in Britain, it plated an very important part in industrialization. However, other factors like steam engines were dependent on the textile industry. Industrialization was a great ideal of progress in industry taking place in Britain in 18th and 19th centuries.

Goods were no more made slowly and expensively by craftsmen at home with hand tools. Instead they were mass produced quickly and cheaply in factories with the aid of machines. Later, I will explain and elaborate the importance of the textile industry and the reason why other factors were not as significant as this one.

Along the progress of textile industry, several extraordinary innovative inventions were created. At first, the cotton cloth was made by workers in their own homes. In other words, the industry was organized on the domestic system, which provided very low efficiency and productivity and it caused the situation that the whole country only imported 500000kg of raw cotton to make into clothes.

Then the flying shuttle invented by John Kay allowed a weaver to work twice as quickly as before. Afterwards, James Hargreaves made a spinning machine named after his wife ‘Jenny’ which could spin 120weavers, much more than 16 threads comparing with before. But all these above were only attachment to the handloom, it didn’t promote the workers to produce more quickly. Later, the revolutionary invention made by Richard Arkwright was a very heavy machine.

For the purpose of turning it, the water wheel and then steam engine were introduced. Gradually, many workers took the responsible of each specific area of making textile because the complicated machines needed cooperation. Then the factories formed. there were more and more textile production produced. They satisfied the marketing requirement and reduced the price of the textile.

The ordinary people were delighted. So we can say that the textile industry dealt with the cloth shortage due to previously low productivity, and it stimulated the invention of other things, like steam engines, water wheels, and even iron since iron was the core material to make machinery.

And the change in main forms of making textile turned the industry from cottage-based to factory-based. In addition, the change in technologies the workers used turned the industry from previously manual and draft-animal based to the machine-based. And these two elements should be the most obvious changes during industrialization. Furthermore, the income made by exportation was unbelievable.

The share of total exports in percentages turned from1 in 1750 to 46 in 1831. The capital was applied to the other developments, such as railway building. Also the many jobs provided by newly set factories helped the unemployed transients who were the originally poor farmers suffering from enclosure act to make a living.

Compared with influences the textile industry brought, the others’ seemed lesser.

First, the enclosure act was not so significant as textile industry ,it depended on it. The Enclosure Acts were a series of United Kingdom Acts of Parliament which enclosed open fields and common land in the country.

They removed previously existing rights of local people to carry out activities in these areas, such as cultivation, cutting hay, grazing animals, using Because of the high rental fee, the poor farmers who could not afford that became the transients losing their lands and works. However, the occupation opportunities provided by the textile manufacturing factories mitigate this problem in great extent. Since 17th century,the farmers’ land which was taken rose up to 3.6 million square miles.

According to the statistic from Baidu(search engine), the percentage of the towns in Britain at that time increased from 3.1 percent to 8.8 percent. Why did the amount decrease? It was because the large number of original peasants flocked into the town where the jobs were available. If the homeless transients come to a place where the jobs are limited, the February Revolution in Russia would happen in London (there, the people protested for jobs and accomodation).

Furthermore, the improved textile industry pushed the development of the cities. The prosperous cities increased the requirement of agricultural products. This motivated the enclosure act further in which the enclosure act achieved its peak until 1845. It implied that the textile industry helped the growth of agriculture and solved the left problem made by the enclosure act. Second, not only the enclosure act depended much on textile industry, but also the steam engines.

A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid. With the Watt steam engine, the pieces were in place to build a mechanized textile industry. It made the gross amount of textile product increase 5 times within 20 years (from 1766 to 1799). However, as I mentioned above, because the human muscular strength was not enough to run the big machines, so the other power creators should be invented, whatever it was team engine or not. Without the application on the textile machines, the effectiveness and greatness of the steam engines couldn’t be proofed.

Moreover, since the textile industry had been already very developed, if the engines can be applied in this area, it can accelerate the speed of spreading and development of this delicate machine. Without the crucial need of creating power to support the machines, the inspiration of making steam engines might not exist. The iron and steel manufacturing worked in the similar ways as the main material to make machinery. Based on the general understanding, the invention is created catering to the social requirement of technology.

Third, the urban planning which was formed almost by the development of textile industry was of course less significant than textile industry. Urban planning distributed the different ranks of people in different areas. The industrial part was in the central areas. Many poor people gathered there using the limited facilities. Consequently, the serious decease spread out and people lived in poor slum houses. It all seemed very bad.

However, the intensive textile manufacturing brought many newly set-up factories. And this kind of urban planning allowed the workers to go for work in factories without going too far and it created an effective industry center. So in my opinion, the textile industry gave the urban planning some positive meanings. On the other hand, to purchase the maximum benefit, Britain was a new country of constitutional monarchy and mercantile system of economics. So there was no peace and was relatively free.

The urban managers just accepted all the arrangement being beneficial to the economy. The government didn’t play an active part in urban construction even planning. In some ways, we can say the reason why the British social structure became like that was almost caused by chance, not government deliberate plan. And the chance was the development of textile industry ,it acted a more important role in urban planning.

In a word, most of the factors of industrialization in 18th and 19th centuries in Britain were occurring along with or even just promoted by the processing of textile industry, such as steam engines, enclosure act and urban planning which mentioned above. They were dependent on the textile industry in different degrees. And the textile industry was the first industry being worked on for industrialization. And others did not play such a significant and historical role. So I agree that textile industry was the most significant factor in industrialization.(1412words)

Gao YunyiJh305


Reference (website pages—the time I used them: 22 02 2013) the Chinese-written pages ,I translated them.

For all the above, there is no specific details on authors or books. Reference (book: the industrial revolution to present-day Britain ,using time: from 18th to 19th of Feb 2013)