Science and Technology of the Industrial Revolution Era

In a time where anything and everything seemed limitless, the recipients of the Industrial Revolution not only welcomed the budding emergence of reformed sciences and technologies, but also practiced the arts and methods, allowing it to shape their very being and lifestyle. In the turn of the century, the outlook on the future was high with a fervent lingering of promise to a new generation of skillful workers.

Life had begun to change for the better as the manual labor of rural communities began to shift into an industrialized state of progression. As scientists and technologists emerged from humble beginnings, their individual and creative thought processes not only amazed the public, but also became a natural part of history. The end result of hard work and determination is more than just a progressive society; it is a refined culture destined for great power. From the late 1700s to early 1800s, the advancement of natural philosophy escalated to immense proportions.

Not only did the physical advancements bring change to the world, but the mental and scientific advancements also brought the same amount of change if not more. With dedicated philosophers and innovative minds, the world saw the evolution of anatomy, chemistry, electricity, and medicine. It was in 1796 that the cure for the lethal smallpox was invented, thanks to Edward Jenner (Murdarasi). Ever since the vaccine was invented, the world of today has yet to witness another smallpox case.

During the Industrial Revolution, it was chemistry of the four scientific practices that received the most attention and progression. The periodic table of today is extensive and intricate, each element composed of different materials and compounds. By 1789, Antoine Lavoisier had discovered a total of twenty-three elements, as well as devised a method of etymology for chemical compounds. As the years passed, men of different backgrounds discovered the components that made up air: nitrogen (Daniel Rutherford, 1772), oxygen (Joseph Priestly, 1774), carbon dioxide (Joseph Black), and hydrogen (Henry Cavendish, 1776).

There was also a theory devised by Cavendish that when oxygen and hydrogen were combined, the product was that of water (Murdarasi). The Industrial Revolution also saw rise in electricity in the form of Galvanism, a newly devised practice named after Luigi Galvani. Galvani had believed that he was on the verge of discovering a new subsidiary of electricity.

Galvani noticed that after touching a dead frog’s legs with lab instruments, the legs twitched upwardly. Galvani believed that the combining of two chemicals made up of separate components would cause an electrical current to spring from the chemical reaction. He went on to call this act “animal electricity.” (Murdarasi). Galvani’s act led Alessandro Volta to believe that Galvani had not created animal electricity, but instead for a way for energy to be stored. This belief led to the invention of the electric cell or, more commonly, the battery (Murdarasi).

Some of the most pivotal moments in the Industrial Revolution involved the inventing of various machines that made manual labor easier. As the machines were produced and given in a rural community, the work force went through a state of evolution as production increased. Inventors such as John Kay, Samuel Crompton, and James Watt were appreciated for their work and determination in turning around the state that they lived in. Not only did the Industrial Revolution give them problems that could be solved, but it also allowed them to use their surroundings to create a contraption that would better their country and the future.

Many machines were used for production in clothing, as with the flying shuttle (John Kay), which increased cloth production. The Spinning Jenny (James Hargreaves, 1764) also increased the production of cotton for workers. Steam became as useful as coal and iron in the late 1700s, early 1800s. With steam, the steam engine (James Watt, 1769), steamboat (Robert Fulton, 1807), and steam powered train (Stephenson, 1814). Each machine was used as a mode of transportation, a converter of energy, and a method of trade, which furthered the Industrial Revolution.

People of the Industrial Revolution have learned that science and technology not only shapes their future, but it shapes their culture as well. With Britain being the largest industry of the revolution, science and technology would only make the turn out better than most have imagined. The scientific and technological methods are still practiced today, and the innovations from years down the road only prove that progression will not come without hard work, individual thoughts, and action.

Works Cited: Murdarasi, Karen. "Science in Industrial Revolution." Suite101.com. N.p., 19 May 2008. Web. 12 Aug. 2012.

"Innovations of the Industrial Revolution." The Industrial Revolution. Sea.ca, 17 Feb. 2003. Web. 12 Aug. 2012.