Throughout the history of humanity there have been certain events that changed its course. Some events changed everything for better and some changed everything for worse. Contemporary people still experience the impact of some events nowadays and some of them have been already forgotten. The major history changes are often connected with the word revolution. Revolution is a deep qualitative change of the development of some phenomena of nature, society or cognition. According to the encyclopedia definition: “The Industrial Revolution is the name given to the massive social, economic, and technological change in 18th century and 19th century…”
Nowadays lots of revolutions have taken place. For instance the Social Revolution, the Geological Revolution, the Cultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution are the brightest examples known to almost educated individual. It goes without saying that each of these revolutions realized inconvertible changes, nevertheless it is necessary to point out the Industrial Revolution as the power that lead to the technical progress people observe today and can not live without. The Industrial Revolution (IR) made revolutionary modifications of the existing instruments and in the organization of the whole process of production, which after many years created an industry-standard. Industrial revolution was a vital intermediate period between the pre-industrial and the industrial societies. The classical and the earliest example of an industrial revolution is the revolution of the end of the XVIII century and the beginning of the XIX century, which started in Great Britain. It was a period of fast and significant changes in all the industries of that time, which resulted in the following technological changes and industrial improvements.
2. Peculiarities of the Industrial Revolution
Before industrialization societies completely depended on the individual qualification and physical abilities of people. That is the primary reason of the fact that the process of labour remained mainly individualized. The basic picture of the production process before industrialization was the next: a peasant’s family handled their parcel of land or an artisan with his few apprentices personally worked in a workshop. The process of manufacturing was a joint hand-labour of many workers, due to this fact there were no foundations to speak about any kind of labour productivity. These “manufactures” had nothing in common with the industrial production. Workers were often hired for these manufactures for rather short periods and even if the could continue working they still left the “manufactures” because wanted to run their own business.
An overage mercenary workman had only one aim – to save money and become an independent artisan, since his labor skills allowed him to conduct mainly individual labor activity. In addition to that, since hand-labour required high qualification and considerable physical power -only men could became active and productive workers. Women were limited in their choices and did not have enough opportunities to work. The society needed automated machinery in all the existing industries, especially in the in the textile manufacturing. Great Britain, Western Europe, North America and the rest of the world were waiting for industrial modifications of a global character and obtained them in all fields, including textile manufacturing, too.
3. The textile industry
Back in the XVIII century the textile was generally based on processing wool. The wool, as it has already been mentioned, was processed industry wool, which was processed individually by individual artisans. Their work was home-based and they had their own individual premises at home to do the spinning and the weaving of the wool in order to process it . Ordinarily, house like this were called weavers’ cottages. Great Britain was the first to start the revolution in the sphere of textile industry due to the fact that it had lost of raw materials obtained from its countless colonies. The wool processing took much time and a lot of wool became very hard to handle. Basically, the textile industry was the main industry for many countries in the XVIII century.
3.a. Origins of the textile industry
The individual artisans used handlooms and spinning wheels as the primary tools for processing textiles. The handloom was originally a Roman invention that was used to cope produce yarn with interlaced threads this was the way artisan-workers obtained cloth some of which afterwards was converted into clothes and some remained cloth and was stored. The process of obtaining yard was very difficult as the worker had to size the yarn, dry it, and beam it in the handloom. Usually the cloths needed to be bleached, so the artisans soaked it in lactic acid and then dried in the open sun. So generally it took almost eight month before the cloth was completely ready. The processes of weaving, spinning and carding took a lot of precious time and were not that profitable for the workers, but their only way for their families to survive. Artisans had difficulties in making the cloth different from what they usually did, especially when they were asked for a wider cloth, because it meant that more than two people had to be at the handloom for a long time in order to achieve this result. Some textiles were dirty at the moment when they were to be processed so therefore they were cleaned. The technology of cleaning the textiles from dirt before the industrialization period was called willowing. So the members of the artisan’s family had to clean the textiles by hand which was very exhausting and took quite a long time.
The spinning of the textile was made with the help of a stick that was nearly 3 feet long. The person doing it had to be really skillful as he was supposed to hold the stick under his left arm and the forefinger and the thumb of his right hand neatly twisted the wool fibers obtained form the stick. Then the thread got on a spindle.
Basically, the whole process of getting cloth can be presented as a scheme:
Carding. Children did the carding. They were supposed to remove the short fibers with the help of a hand-card. A hand-card was a wooden block with small handles and had spikes made from metal its surface.
Spinning. Was usually made by a woman and it was a process of converting cardings to yarn with the help of a spinning wheel.
Weaving. With the help of a handloom the yarn was made into cloth. This work was conducted by a man and concluded the whole procedure of processing the textiles.
It is common knowledge now that he 18th century domestic system did not provide any solutions in dealing with wool, cotton, silk and flax, as these were the most used materials back then . Weaving, spinning and carding were the only options of conversion of the textiles into different goods. Being the heart of the textile industry, Great Britain was very much interested in the export of woolen goods and as the result needed a fast and high-quality production of these goods, which individual production could not give by any means.
3.b. Inventions in the textile industry
The Industrial Revolution brought qualitative changes to the development of the textile industry. The processes of weaving, spinning, willowing and carding became automatic processes fulfilled by machines controlled by people, but people did not have to work so desperately as they did before from the first sight. It is necessary to analyze the “evolution” of the inventions that were made during the Industrial Revolution to come to a better understanding of its impact to the development of the textile industry.
All the inventions within the framework of the textile industry were made in Great Britain. It all started with the magnificent invention of the Flying shuttle in 1733, which was invented by John Kay. A flying shuttle was a loom that could weave much faster than the handlooms used before. The worker had to use only one hand to activate the shuttle on the loom. After this invention, according to Gernhard, four people were required to cope with one cotton loom. Another ten people were needed to get the yarn ready for the weaver . The next vital invention was a creation invented in 1764 by James Hargreaves that got the name of “Spinning Jenny”. With its creation there was no need to use the old spinning wheel. Spinning Jenny was a machine that required only one person to operate it and spin eight threads at the same time by turning a single wheel.
Richard Arkwright patented one of the most outstanding inventions in the textile history in 1769. “Water frame” made a real revolution in the textile world, as it was the first powered textile-machine. It was a machine with rollers producing yarn of the thickness that was exactly needed. It produced yarn that was of a much better quality that the yarn produced by the “Spinning Jenny”. The Water Frame was powered by water, due to the fact that it was impossible for a man to operate it. This set up a begging for a factory-based manufacturing. Factories were open and the production of textile manufactures went on a high speed that corresponded to the demands of those times.
In 1779 Samuel Crompton continued the “chain” of outstanding inventions by producing the Spinning Mule. The advantage the spinning mule was that it was the spinning jenny and the water frame at the same time. According to Simkin the yarn produced with the help of Crompton’s mule was very strong and fine . It was the time when American numerous cotton finally was used at its full. The spinning mule required steam engines to raise productivity and be able to control it.
As James Watt invented the steam engine, which was a revolutionary and well-timed creation – it became the perfect base for the functioning of the Crompton’s mule. The steam engine made the used steam cool inside a condenser. This process of cooling took place separately from the main cylinder. The pressure from the difference of temperatures pressure made the piston go down over and over. In 1789 America got the textile machinery design, too.
Arkwright built the first steam powered textile factory in England in 1790. The invention of the cotton gin, separating the seeds from the fiber, the creation of the Jacquard Loom, which was able to produce complex designs added a lot to the process of formation and modification of the textile industry into an automatic one. Finally, in 1856 William Perkin became the one to invent the first synthetic dye, which transferred the textile industry to a modern level of productivity.
The industrial Revolution brought irreplaceable and very important inventions to the industry in general and to the textile industry in particular. These inventions dramatically increased the level of productivity of the textile industry. The possibility to interchange experience between countries also brought certain possibilities to the industry and started its blossom. The inventions brought by the Industrial Revolution became the base for the further development of the textile manufacturing, which has lead the industry to the level on which it functions on the present moment. All the inventions made first in the field of textile industry were later applied to other field of knowledge. For instance, Stephenson practically used the steam engine to introduce steam-powered trains. So, the textile industry did not only develop itself rapidly, but also gave the foundation for the development of other industries.
3.c. Changes and management in the textile industry
The changes that took place within the textile industry are enormous. The Industrial Revolution produced the result the industry was so much expecting – a greater amount of fabric was produced in less time at a lower cost . Of course it meant more money for the countries but at the same time factories required millions of workers in order to constantly increase the productivity and therefore the profit. The major minus and may be the most visible sign of lack of professionalism of the factory management was that they strived for having the more the workers the better not taking into account various factors, such as the conditions of work, the age requirements and contraindications and the sometimes even the decline of quality due to a non-rational exploitation of the machinery. Though the profits form the factories were huge people got tiny wages and sometimes were almost starving. This is what concerns the management of the textile factories.
Nevertheless, the new machinery used shoed outstanding results. It completely changed the technology of textile manufacturing making it more qualified and professional.
The industry was changed inside out. The new level of productivity brought its fruits. New quality textiles were improved and something new was added in the process of work. Of course they did have disadvantages such as the danger of the industry, nevertheless clothes became more available and yarn became very cheap and affordable. The new technology saved time and money making a huge step in the technical progress of the world’s history.
The Industrial revolution converted the domestic textile system into the factory system, which factions faster and better. The textile processing was not made by hand anymore. This separated humanity from the primitive existence. Before the Industrial Revolution people had to work at home, dedicating all their time to the textile manufacturing through weaving, spinning and carding. The Industrial Revolution brought new inventions that absolutely changed the situation. Workers had a working place, did not have no work at home anymore and the manufacturing became faster. The textile industry provided a strong base for the economy, but at the same time the workers were not protected and sometimes even forced to work for little salaries.
The term Industrial revolution emphasizes the fast and explosive nature of changes, that occurred on the borderline of the XVIII –XIX centuries, starting in England, and afterwards in all the other countries of the human civilization. The Industrial Revolution became the driving force of the progress. Owing to the results of the changes, which occurred back then the textile industry developed into a quality manufacturing. The amount of textile goods dramatically increased along with the demand on textile raw materials.
The industrialization of the countries of the world brought a lot of advantages to every single industry. Nevertheless it is necessary to point out the textile industry as it the industry that gave the push to the industrialization. Owing to the industrial development of the textile industry the rest of the industries got the opportunity to change and improve, too.
To conclude, it is important so mention that nowadays the textile industry is at its top-level and produces the most outstanding textile goods every. Nevertheless, it would have been absolutely impossible if it were not for the impact o the Industrial Revolution.
1. Bernal, John Desmond “Science and Industry in the Nineteenth Century” /Indiana University Press/1970.
2. http://industrialrevolution.sea.ca/innovations.html – inventions of the Industrial Revolution
3. Porter, Glenn “Industrial Revolution.”/ Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia/Microsoft Corporation/ 1999.
4. Simkin, John “Encyclopedia of British History,”/http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/industry.html
5. “Industrial Revolution: The Industrial Revolution in Great Britain,” The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, www. factmonster. com/ce6/history/A0858818.html.
6. http://wikipedia. org – Industrial Revolution
7. Gernhard, Rempel. “The Industrial Revolution,” mars.acnet.wnec. edu/~grempel/courses/wc2/lectures/industrialrev.html.
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