Q3. Explain the technological milestones which helped textile industry during Industrial Revolution
The triumph of the mercantile middle class in the English Revolution of the 1600’s and the growth of European colonial empires, especially that of Britain, had created global trade links such as had never been seen before. Europe’s higher standard of living made its goods and labor more expensive, which led to an influx of cheaper textiles from India that could undersell European, and particularly British, goods. In order to compete more successfully, British textile producers needed a cheaper and faster way to produce cloth. They invented machinery which helped in reducing labor and gave higher productivity.
Powerloom: Hargreaves invented a machine which speeded up spinning. Arkwright adapted this machine for running with water. Crompton, sometime later, combined the advantages of the machines invented by Hargreaves and Arkwright. These three inventions alone made it possible for England to produce thread that was finer and cheaper than any that could be produced by others or with older techniques. Then in 1785. Cartwright invented a power loom. This machine could he run by horses or bullocks and later, when factories were set up along rivers and canals, water power was used to operate it.
Cotton Gin: Cotton ginning (removing seeds) was a slow process and worker could clean only five or six pounds of cotton by hand. In 1793, Eli Whitney, an American, invented a ‘cotton gin‘ This machine made it possible to separate the seeds from cotton three hundred times faster than by hand.
Steam Engine: The invention of steam engine by James Watt in 1769 made it possible to produce goods on a big scale. Machines run by the muscle power of man or animals and even by water power, could not compete with those driven by the steam engine. This invention revolutionized production.
Blast Furnace: With availability of steam power there was a greater demand for machinery. The development of the blast furnace and, later, the method of turning low-grade iron into steel, enabled the English industries to produce steel cheaply. Thus they could have more and better machines.
In 1814, George Stephenson developed steam engine to haul coal from mines to ports by railways.
In 1830, the first railway train began to carry passengers and freight from Liverpool to Manchester.
These events were followed by a great wave of railroad construction in England and the United States. As early as 1853 in Lord Dalhousie’s time, the first railroad was laid in India.
The need to transport raw materials and manufactured products led to the improvement of roads and the digging of canals.
Mc Adam devised the method of making ‘macadamized’ roads which could last longer and revolutionized road transport.
Water transport is much cheaper than roads and England began connecting rivers and lakes with canals.
Canal building spread to Europe and America and was a big help in providing cheaper transportation, especially after steam boats came into use.
In a little more than fifty years after the use of machines began, England had become the world’s leading industrial nation. Her textile exports, coal mined and pig iron saw exponential rise in production, consumption as well as exports
Industrial Revolution in Other Countries
In Europe, the Industrial Revolution gathered momentum after 1815. This was after the defeat of Napoleon and the end of 23 years of war. Machines started making inroads in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. However, unstable governments and unrest among the people in some of these countries slowed the growth of industries for some time.
France was developing the iron industry by 1850 though she had to import both iron ore and coal.
Germany had, by 1865, occupied second place as a producer of steel. After a late start, Germany’s industrial development took an amazing leap after 1870 when the German states were finally welded into one nation. Soon Germany was to become England’s rival.
Russia was the last of the big European powers to have an industrial revolution. She was rich in mineral resources but lacked capital and free labour. After she freed the serfs in 1861, she obtained capital from foreign countries and Russian industry moved ahead. However, it was only after Russia’s 1917 Revolution that rapid industrial development started.
The United States had introduced machines and started factories before 1800— after gaining independence from England. By 1860 she had well established textile, steel, and shoe industries. The American industries grew very rapidly after 1870.
Japan was the first country in Asia to industrialize. Traditionally, Japan produced mainly such articles as silk, porcelain and toys. By the end of the 19th century, Japanese production included steel, machinery, metal goods and chemicals— and in quantities large enough for export.