Video appunto: Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions
-Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions-
During the end of the 18th century, the methods of farming and of the manufacture of goods began to change.
Scientific thinking was being applied to more situations and stimulating inventions.
Also there had been a vast increase in trade, both domestic and colonial, which was to provide raw materials.
Another contributor to change in both agriculture and industry was a population increase.
Britain was still agricultural in the 18th century and the changes were only just beginning, in fact the Agricultural Revolution happened gradually: first small parcels of land were enclosed to make larger more efficient arable farms, the soil was drained and made more fertile and cereal production greatly increased. Animals started being chosen carefully, in order to produce more meat, so the population was better fed.
Even King George III was an enthusiastic agricultural reformer and was nicknamed ‘Farmer George’.
Spinning wool was a common domestic activity and it was the first process being mechanised in the 1760s and 1770s. It was invented the steam ‘jenny’ working on a power loom, that could produce 50 bales of cloth.
Because of those inventions in the textile area, country people moved to mill towns to get employed and weavers were de-skilled, becoming simple factory workers.
The textile being produced was cotton and the raw material came from Indian and American colonies; cotton was cheap and easy to wash.
The first new machines were water driven, but the invention of the steam engine by James Watt changed not only the textile industry, but also coal mining and the production of iron.
The steam engine was primarily used to pump the water out of the coal mines; deeper mines produced more coal which was a more efficient fuel than wood, and once made into coke, could fuel the furnaces of the iron industry.
Coal and iron mechanised the other industries, first pottery, but also sugar refining, flour mills, breweries and much more.
In the 18th century only a few industrial towns had emerged, such as coal mining towns and mill towns; most industry was still in workshops.
All this new economic activity made it necessary to improve transports: new roads were built (the ‘Turnpikes’ or the toll roads). However land travel was slow, so it was much more efficient to transport heavy and bulky goods by water, in fact in some big cities of the Centre or North were built a new canal system, that revolutionised goods traffic.