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The Industrial Revolution has had far more impact on the world than any political revolution, because its influence on society is longer lasting. For example, today we have automobiles, television, and computers. All of these goods were made possible by this revolution. Without the Industrial Revolution, we would not have the advanced technologies that we enjoy today.

The Industrial Revolution began in Europe and would soon migrate to America with the opening of Samuel Slater's cotton mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1793. With the opening of his mill begins the American Industrial Revolution.

New kinds of machinery and the application of steam energy to running the machinery helped create the factory system. New machinery also meant the standardization of products. The @{industrial revolution}@ began in the British textiles' industry.

The Industrial Revolution had its beginnings in Britain because the English merchants were leaders in developing a commerce that increased the demand for more goods. The expansion in trade had made it possible to accumulate capital to use in industry.

A cheaper system of production had grown up which was largely free from regulation. There also were new ideas in England that aided the movement. One of these was the growing interest in scientific investigation and invention.

Another was the doctrine of laissez-faire, or leaving business alone. This doctrine had been growing in favor throughout the 18th century. It was especially popular after the British economist Adam Smith argued powerfully for it in his great work 'The Wealth of Nations' (1776).

Necessity is the mother of  invention; therefore, it was necessity that brought about the revolution, especially in manufacturing. The use of machines enabled goods to be produced in more quantities and cheaper for both producer and consumer.

Before the introduction of machines and the factory setting, hand manufactured goods, in single homes or cottages, where the owner worked side by side with his employees was normal. This changed with the introduction of machines and mass production.

The major advances in technology, particularly in the use of steam, in the later half of the 18th century has its roots in devices that were invented earlier in the era. Three major inventions enabled this advancement and opened the way for the later machines. These were:

1. John Kay's invention of the flying shuttle in 1733.

2. A crude, slow-moving steam engine built by Thomas Newcomen (1705), which was used to pump water out of mines.

3. A frame for spinning cotton thread with rollers, first set up by Lewis Paul and John Wyatt (1741). However, not commercially practical, but it was the first step toward solving the problem of machine spinning.

These inventions, made possible James Hargreaves spinning jenny 31 years later, which revolutionized the making of yarn and the weaving of cloth. By 1800, a host of new and faster processes was in use in manufacturing and transportation.

The Industrial Revolution lead to several other revolutions as technology became more sophisticated. The Transportation Revolution, The Communications Revolution and The Information Revolution all can trace their roots in the Industrial Revolution. 
Each of these revolutions has added to the betterment of mankind, and each of these has had their own effects on society as a whole.

External Websites
To learn more about the Industrial Revolution you can visit these Web sites.

Blackburn, Cotton and the Industrial Revolution
This article explains the history of the cotton industry during the Industrial Revolution. It also has short biographies of the men who contributed to this area of technology.

James Watt
This is a short biography on the man who perfected the steam engine.

Industrial Revolution on the History Channel
The History Channel Website has information and resources abouot the Industrial Revolution. This is a good place to start your research on the topic.


Some of the material for this article was excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. Copyright © 1994, 1995 Compton's NewMedia, Inc.