Industrial Revolution I

  1. Being First - Great Britain's Advantages

    1. Abundant cheap labor supply
    2. Critical natural resources
    3. Investment capital
    4. Entrepreneurs - people who organize and manage businesses
    5. Transportation - rivers, canals, well developed ocean going fleet
    6. Available domestic and foreign markets
    7. Governmental support
    8. Increasing use of paper money - eases transactions
  2. Necessity as the Mother of Invention
    1. Britain faced growing land and population pressures
      1. Because of the plague, population of England and Wales fell to 2 million c.1450
      2. By 1700, that had risen to 9 million
      3. Less available land for farmers, but also increasing need for food
    2. Environmental bottlenecks also appeared - the "forest famine" being a prime example
      1. Britain used wood extensively for both fuel and shipbuilding
      2. Clearing of land for fields and cities created a scarcity, causing price of wood to go up at twice the rate of inflation, 1500-1700
      3. While coal was abundant, it was inappropriate for most uses, given available technology
    3. Bottlenecks like these would be broken by advances in farming, iron making, spinning and weaving, mining, and transportation
  3. The Norfolk System
    1.  Increasing demand for food and and greater commercialization of economy lead to sweeping agricultural changes
      1. Innovations such as new fertilizer and four-field rotation increased productivity
      2. Growth of cities resulted in higher cereal prices, encouraging commercial agriculture and creating land pressures
    2. Enclosure
      1. Enclosure involved joining together small strips of fields into larger fields and walling or fencing them off
      2. Also involved fencing off the Commons and turning them into private farms
      3. This enabled large-scale production, and was more profitable to large land owners than renting to peasants
      4. A number of Enclosure Acts by parliament in the mid-1700s greatly accelerated this process
      5. This greatly increased efficiency of British agriculture
        1. Pushed many people off the land, creating a pool of landless laborers
        2. Also increased the wealth of landowners and the value of land, creating investment capital
        3. By 1870, England had 300% more food than 1700, but only 14% of agricultural labor
  4. New Developments Respond to these Pressures
    1.  Abraham Darby develops a system for forging iron with coal - 1709
    2. Thomas Newcomen invents a steam engine for pumping water out of mines, 1712
    3. James Watt develops a dramatically improved steam engine, 1765
    4. Yet these and other developments took place without reference to the Scientific Revolution
      1. Built in response to practical problems
      2. Developed by experienced artisans using trial and error methods
      3. This was true broadly of much of the innovation of the 17th and 18th centuries
  5. New Technologies Develop in Response to Others
    1. Weaving and Spinning
      1. John Kay invents the flying shuttle in 1733, increasing the speed of weaving
      2. This creates a gap in spinning, as thread production can't keep up
      3. Various inventions in 1760s and 1770s close that gap (spinning jenny, carding)
      4. Powered loom (1785) accelerates weaving again, and creates demand for more (and better) Watt steam engines
    2. All the new technologies are interlocking, as growth in one enables and demands growth in another
      1. Coal
      2. Iron
      3. Steam Engines
      4. Railroads
      5. Weaving