Industrial Revolution

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Term which gained currency during the mid-19th century and became widely used by the 1880s. It has traditionally been used to describe dramatic transformations occurring in manufacturing industry between approximately 1750 and 1850 that set the pattern for industrialization.
The first Industrial Revolution occurred in Great Britain, and profoundly altered its economy and society. The most immediate changes were in production: what was produced, as well as where and how. Labour was transferred from provision of primary products to the production of goods and services. Far more manufactured goods were produced than ever before, and technical efficiency rose dramatically. In part, the growth in productivity was achieved by systematic application of scientific and practical knowledge to the manufacturing process. Efficiency was also enhanced when large agglomerations of enterprises were located within limited areas. Thus, the Industrial Revolution involved urbanization, through migration from rural to urban communities.
Perhaps the most important changes occurred in the organization of work.
In general, production took place within the firm or the public enterprise instead of the family or manor. Tasks became increasingly routine and specialized. Industrial production became heavily dependent upon the intensive use of equipment produced for the express purpose of increasing efficiency. A reliance on tools and machinery allowed individual workers to produce more goods, and commitment to a particular task or device reinforced the trend towards specialization.
The industrial landscape of mid-19th-century Britain was vastly different to that of the mid-18th century; evidently some sudden change in the British economy did occur in the intervening period.
The move from agrarian and primarily rural-based occupations to urban, and subsequent industrial and service, employment rapidly increased. This transformation was accompanied by social and political unrest in the form of rioting, machine-breaking, and political campaigns aimed at reforming hours of labour and other working conditions, as well as Poor Law legislation. Agriculture was sufficiently developed, having undergone its own Agricultural Revolution, to allow the economy to support a growing urban labour force. The growth in population in turn enlarged the domestic demand for goods and services. Marketing techniques were devised which primarily targeted the wealthy middle and upper strata of society. Trade became increasingly associated with a developing laissez-faire ideology that was gradually absorbed by British institutions. These unprecedented changes were focused in particular sectors and regions of Britain. Furthermore, the organization of manufacturing techniques cannot be separated from changes within Britains developing commercial infrastructure, marketing, finance, emerging consumerism, established handicraft skills, and the expansion of international trade.
All these factors and ...


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