Social Aspects of Industry: A Survey of Labor Problems and Causes of Industrial Unrest

By S. Howard Patterson | Go to book overview

SOCIAL ASPECTS OF INDUSTRY

CHAPTER I
MODERN INDUSTRIALISM AND THE CHANGED ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT

SOCIAL UNREST AND NEW IDEALS OF INDUSTRY

1. Nature of Industrial Revolution. -- The Industrial Revolution may be defined as the changes involved in the invention of power machinery and the substitution of the factory system for individual craftsmanship and the domestic system. The term "revolution" merely indicates the sweeping changes involved in the complete reorganization of our economic life.

Because the Industrial Revolution was a gradual evolution, the suddenness and rapidity of which are only relative, it is difficult to give exact dates to this momentous movement. It is impossible to say just when the Industrial Revolution began or just when it ended. Perhaps it is still in progress, for the series of inventions has been fairly continuous.

It is generally conceded that the Industrial Revolution first took place in England. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution, in the narrow sense of the word, refers to the changes in the English textile industries which took place in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The spinning jenny of Hargreaves, invented in 1764, is a convenient date to mark the beginning of the new movement. It was followed by the water frame of Arkwright and the spinning mule of Crompton, which combined the best features of the two earlier inventions. Weaving, as well as spinning, was revolutionized by the development in 1785 of the power loom of Cartwright.

Although these important mechanical inventions meant the decline of the domestic system in the textile industries, water power was first used to run the machinery in the new factories. James Watt's invention of the steam engine, the first patent for which was granted in 1769, furnished a new motive power for manufacturing, however, and the small water-power mills gradually gave way to large steam-driven factories.

The Industrial Revolution, in the broad sense of the word, affected methods of transportation and communication, as well as manufacturing. As a continuation of the same general movement must be noted Fulton's

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