Causes of the Industrial Revolution & Major Inventions

The Industrial Revolution started in the 18th century in England, preceded by important changes and inventions applied in agriculture, mining and manufacturing. The following circumstances formed the basis for the Industrial Revolution: 

1 .  Scientific Thinking and Enlightenment. From about 1600, an industrial revolution took place in England and a scientific revolution throughout Europe. Scientific thinking was then reinforced by Enlightenment and laid the foundation for a more rationalistic way of running agriculture and cottage industries.

2 .  Inventions in agriculture, mining & industry. In England, the British landed gentry managed to make some improvements in mining and agriculture in the first half of the eighteenth century. Important was the steam-powered water pump that could drain mines, invented in 1709 by Thomas Newcomen (1664-1729).

In the same year 1709, Abraham Darby (1678-1717) discovered a way to make pig iron in blast furnaces, using coke instead of charcoal. And Jethro Tull's (1674-1741) seeder from 1701 made sowing easier, while the durable and light Rotherham Plowshare (Rotherham Plow) from 1730 - by inventor Joseph Foljambe (c. 1695-1750) - significantly improved plowing.

These kinds of inventions increased the yield in agriculture, mining and industry considerably and in the longer term the English population also grew. Growing yields meant that fewer people were needed in agriculture and there was room for people to specialize and work in emerging industries. The following five English inventions, which are crucial to the rise of industrialization, have yet to be mentioned:

1.  The flying shuttle invented in 1733 by John Kay (1704-1779);

2 . The 1764 Spinning Jenny, a fast weaving machine by James Hargreaves (1720-1778). These two inventions lead to a large increase in production in the textile industry;

3 . The water frame - a hydro-powered spinning machine as an improved version of the Spinning Jenny - by Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) from 1769;

4 . The Newcomen steam engine improved by James Watt (1736-1819) in 1769;

5 . The threshing machine of the Scot Andrew Meikle (1719-1811) from 1784. 

Rest & raw materials in England.

The fact that England took the lead had several reasons. England led the way mainly due to the fact that there was no fighting on its territory. England did participate in the Napoleonic Wars, but the English territory was not damaged by war in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Economically, England did better, there was political stability and therefore peace and space for science and technology to develop properly. England had a huge colonial empire and in the eighteenth century was the leading world power, especially at sea.

By 1900, England even "owned" a quarter of the world. Because England had raw materials such as coal and iron ore, and was able to get many raw materials from its colonies (such as rubber, gold and cotton), the country had everything it needed to build factories with machines: iron ore to assemble factories and machines. and coal to create steam that powered the machines. 

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