12 Facts on the Industrial Revolution

Updated on December 13, 2017
PaulGoodman67 profile image

Paul graduated from university in 1987. He has done a variety of jobs, including librarian and teacher. He currently resides in Florida.

Samuel Crompton's Spinning Mule, an important invention in 18th Century textile making.  Mules were operated in pairs by a minder, with the help of two boys, known as the little piecer and the big, or side piercer.
Samuel Crompton's Spinning Mule, an important invention in 18th Century textile making. Mules were operated in pairs by a minder, with the help of two boys, known as the little piecer and the big, or side piercer. | Source

The Industrial Revolution is the name given to the enormous changes that took place with technology, farming, mining, manufacturing, and transportation from the middle of the 18th Century through to the middle of the 19th Century.

These changes had a massive impact on people’s social and cultural life, as well as their economic conditions.

I hope that you enjoy reading my 12 facts on the industrial revolution and find them interesting.

1. The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain. It later spread to Western Europe, North America, and around the world.

2. The main thing that happened during the Industrial Revolution was that machines were developed that could perform many of the jobs and tasks that had previously been done by people (or in some cases, animals, such as horses).

The Industrial Revolution was another of those extraordinary jumps forward in the story of civilization.

— Stephen Gardiner

3. Before the Industrial Revolution, societies were largely rural and people made things at home. Industrialization meant that more and more people lived in cities, and goods were mass produced in purpose-built factories.

Drawing of Marshall's Mills, a flax mill in Holbeck, Leeds, England, showing workers at their machines.  The picture is taken from the Penny Magazine Supplement, December 1843.  The mill was earlier targeted in the Plug Riots of August 1842.
Drawing of Marshall's Mills, a flax mill in Holbeck, Leeds, England, showing workers at their machines. The picture is taken from the Penny Magazine Supplement, December 1843. The mill was earlier targeted in the Plug Riots of August 1842. | Source

4. The Industrial Revolution generally brought about much better economic conditions for most people, but the poor and working classes often suffered with grim jobs and terrible living conditions. Dissatisfaction and poverty sometimes resulted in social breakdown, protests, and rioting.

The Luddites

The industrial revolution meant that many artisans saw their traditional livelihoods wiped out by the new machines. The Luddites were a group of English textile artisans who protested against the introduction of labour-replacing machinery from 1811 to 1817 often through sabotage and other forms of resistance. Protests broke out in Nottinghamshire and Northern England and became violent in some instances, with fighting between the protesters and the British Army.

5. There are still some countries in Africa and Asia that have yet to experience industrialization. These countries are sometimes referred to as “Third World” or "Developing" nations.

In the industrial revolution Britain led the world in advances that enabled mass production: trade exchanges, transportation, factory technology and new skills needed for the new industrialised world.

— Lucy Powell

6. Britain was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution for three main reasons. Firstly, Britain had lots of coal and iron ore, which was needed to power and make the machines that were required by industrialization. Secondly, it helped that Britain was politically stable. Thirdly, Britain was a major colonial power at the time, with the colonies providing both the raw materials for manufacturing and the marketplaces for the manufactured goods to be sold after they had been made.

Steam powered traction engines.  Although these vehicles seem large, heavy and difficult to manoeuvre from a modern viewpoint, they revolutionized agriculture and road haulage when they were introduced.
Steam powered traction engines. Although these vehicles seem large, heavy and difficult to manoeuvre from a modern viewpoint, they revolutionized agriculture and road haulage when they were introduced. | Source

7. The Industrial Revolution was the most important thing to happen in human history since the time when animals and plants were domesticated.

8. Before the Industrial Revolution happened, each generation of people produced a roughly similar amount of products to their predecessors and overall economic wealth was fairly stagnant. After industrialization, production began to grow quickly and it generally continued to grow each year.

"I am always struck by the fact that human awareness of our place in nature, like so much of modern science, began with the Industrial Revolution."

— Kenneth R. Miller

9. The Industrial Revolution effectively created a new economic system, known as: “Capitalism”.

10. Although the overall effects of industrialization were positive, there were many bad sides too, including all the pollution and waste that was created as a side effect by the machines. Working practices also became more regimented and many people worked long hours in factories performing repetitive, and sometimes dangerous or unhealthy jobs.

When the Industrial Revolution started, the amount of carbon sitting underneath Britain in the form of coal was as big as the amount of carbon sitting under Saudi Arabia in the form of oil, and this carbon powered the Industrial Revolution, it put the 'Great' in Great Britain, and led to Britain's temporary world domination.

— David J. C. MacKay

11. The production of textiles was one of the things that was totally transformed by the Industrial Revolution. Before industrialization, people generally made clothes at home. Merchants would often give the clothes makers the raw materials and essential equipment, and then collect and sell the finished products for them.

Children at work in a mill in Georgia.  Child labor, often with long hours and harsh conditions, was unfortunately common during the early part of the industrial revolution.
Children at work in a mill in Georgia. Child labor, often with long hours and harsh conditions, was unfortunately common during the early part of the industrial revolution. | Source

Industrialization meant that machines took over most of the work, with humans becoming less and less involved. On top of that, those that did work had to go to a factory each day, where their time and effort was closely monitored for efficiency. In effect, production increased, but not everyone’s lives got better.

12. The steam engine was one of the most important inventions of the Industrial Revolution. The first practical steam engine was a machine made to pump water out of mines by the English inventor, Thomas Newcomen in 1712. The steam engine design was later improved upon by the Scotsman, James Watt. As well as powering the machines used in factories and mines, steam engines were also used in ships and locomotives, which improved transportation dramatically.

The Scottish inventor, James Watt, who dramatically improved steam powered engines.  Through redesigning the engines of his time, he found that he could avoid much of the energy waste, and greatly improve their power and efficiency.
The Scottish inventor, James Watt, who dramatically improved steam powered engines. Through redesigning the engines of his time, he found that he could avoid much of the energy waste, and greatly improve their power and efficiency. | Source

If you go back to 1800, everybody was poor. I mean everybody. The Industrial Revolution kicked in, and a lot of countries benefited, but by no means everyone.

— Bill Gates

Questions & Answers

  • Did kids work for free during the Industrial Revolution?

    Children were paid but received considerably less money than adults. Typically an adult woman would receive half as much as an adult male, and a child would receive around half as much as a woman.

  • How has the industrial revolution benefited our lives today?

    Basic goods like clothes and food are generally much more plentiful and cheaper nowadays, thanks to manufacturing and the mechanization of farming. There is also a much wider choice of products available to people. Travel is quicker, more comfortable and convenient, enabling us to go very long distances in short time periods, as well as large transport amounts of goods. Jobs are generally much better paid and less physically arduous than they were in pre-industrial times, contributing to people living longer. Medical treatments have blossomed with X-ray machines, scanners, and incubators. Communications have advanced with mass-produced books, telephones, televisions, and computers. Labor-saving devices such as vacuum cleaners, washing-machines and driers have taken much of the drudgery out of housework. Our towns and cities are lit and powered by electric. Last but not least, the industrial revolution has contributed to creating a modern society of educated children, a larger middle class, less poverty overall, and an equal role for women in society, as jobs become less physical and, increased production leads to greater affluence and more potential leisure time.

  • What effect on poverty did the industrial revolution have?

    The Industrial Revolution certainly changed the nature of poverty. Before the Industrial Revolution, poverty generally came with rural serfs working on farms. Afterward, poverty was more likely to be seen among urban working class factory workers. Overall the Industrial Revolution improved lives, with far more children surviving into adulthood than ever before thanks to better conditions. Working class poverty was more visible because it was gathered in pockets, whereas older rural poverty was spread across numerous farms and was harder to see.

© 2012 Paul Goodman

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      Monica 

      21 months ago

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      But for everything there will be a advantage and disadvantage. ... Even for industrial revolution........

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      21 months ago

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      23 months ago

      Amazing, it helped me with my homework yesterday and I got an A+ just for writing it out! My friend Teressa says that I might as well have been there! My history teacher was so impressed that I also got a positive note! Here are a few more facts though: Britain had the highest wages=11k, Delhi had the lowest wages=-2k, Eductaion was a privallaige, not a right. Thank you, whoever made this! My cousin Lila's doing this next term, so I am SO going to recommend this awesome site! Thank you, once again.

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      Devon Grogan 

      2 years ago

      I only needed 10 facts about the industrial revolution for my history homework but this is 1 of my fave subjects in school! Thank you!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      It's interesting how so many things seem to repeat themselves in history. I learned a lot of new things from your hub. For example, the Luddites complaining about automation taking away their jobs.

      The same thing seems to be happening today, but in reverse. People tell me every once in a while that they are upset because they can't talk to a live person when they call their bank or insurance company. Everything is automated online.

      I happen to like that because I feel it speeds things up and is more accurate. But that's just me, because I come from a computer background. I can understand why the general layman would rather talk to a live person.

      I also found it interesting that the production of textiles was part of the industrial revolution. I never thought about that before, but it makes sense because people didn't have to make clothing by hand anymore.

      The Industrial Revolution sure I had a major impact on many aspects of life.

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      Sacred heart college 

      2 years ago

      Solid facts aye bro loving the facts thank you take care

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      Jack rees 

      2 years ago

      Interesting facts I learned some more things about the poor life's of people

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      suzelle de toit 

      2 years ago

      really interesting facts I learned some new thing today !!!!!!!

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      devakiandan 

      2 years ago

      super ,thanks

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      ryry 

      2 years ago

      I like

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      Cerys 

      2 years ago

      Good Article

      Thanks

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      emma 

      2 years ago

      wow what good facts this helped me to finish my homework

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      Evan 

      3 years ago

      Wow! My wife had a headache and reading this list to her got her clear headed enough to put her right to sleep.

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      Victor Aspilcueta 

      3 years ago

      This is really useful for my homework, this is so great information about the facts about industrial revolution.

    • profile image

      jt 

      4 years ago

      i love it

    • Jatinder Joshi profile image

      Jatinder Joshi 

      5 years ago from Whitby, Ontario, Canada

      Interesting facts about the industrial revolution, which changed the way people lived, communicated and made money and war.

      Great article.

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 

      5 years ago from India

      A very good, interesting and useful for history studies. Good share, thank you.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 

      5 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Probably the most important revolution Europe has ever met, along with the French Revolution that is...

      It changed everything!

    • PaulGoodman67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Goodman 

      5 years ago from Florida USA

      From the French word, industriel, and from Medieval Latin, industrialis, meaning "diligence, activity, zeal." It took on its modern meaning later in England.

    • profile image

      Leyla Badija 

      5 years ago

      Where does the word industrial come from .

    • incomeguru profile image

      Oyewole Folarin 

      6 years ago from Lagos

      Industrialization and urbanization brought some problems, such as, overcrowding of the cities, traffic congestion, pollution, social vices like rape.

      As a result of these, urban and regional planning was introduced to manage and control changing human environmental system.

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