Changes Created from the Industrial Revolution; Technological, Socioeconomic, and Cultural

Changes Created from the Industrial Revolution; Technological, Socioeconomic, and Cultural


Changes Created from the Industrial Revolution; Technological, Socioeconomic, and Cultural

Technological Changes

  1. The use of new basic materials, chiefly iron and steel
  2. The use of new energy sources, such as coal, the steam engine, and electricity
  3. The invention of new machines, such as the spinning jenny and the power loom that permitted increased production with a smaller expenditure of human energy

4. A new organization of work known as the factory system, which entailed increased division of labor and specialization of function

  1. Important developments in transportation and communication, including the steam locomotive, steamship, automobile, airplane, telegraph, and radio
  2. The increasing application of science to industry. These technological changes made possible a tremendously increased use of natural resources and the mass production of manufactured goods

Socioeconomic Changes

  1. A wider distribution of wealth
  2. The decline of land as a source of wealth
  3. Increased international trade
  4. The growth of cities
  5. The development of working-class movements

Cultural Changes

  1. The worker acquired new and distinctive skills, and his relation to his task shifted
  2. Instead of being a craftsman working with hand tools, he became a machine operator, subject to factory discipline.
  3. There was a psychological change: man's confidence in his ability to use resources and to master nature was heightened
Quotes on the Industrial Revolution

Part of the problem is the prevailing approach
that seeks to reduce the natural world including
ourselves to the level of nothing more than a
mechanical process.

Prince Charles, BBC Reith Lectures 2000

The Industrial Revolution and its consequences
have increased the life-expectancy of those who
live in "advanced" countries, but they have
destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling,
have subjected human beings to indignities, have
led to widespread psychological suffering (in the
Third World to physical suffering as well) and have
inflicted severe damage on the natural world.

Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber's Introduction to
his Manifesto

The man has the gradually sinking feeling that his role as provider, the definitive male activity from the primal days of the hunt through the industrial revolution and on into modern life, has been largely seized from him; he has been cuckolded by it”

George Gilder, American Writer


The Evils of Child Labor During the Industrial Revolution

Wages and Hours:
Children as young as six years old during the industrial revolution worked hard hours for little or no pay. Children sometimes worked up to 19 hours a day, with a one-hour total break. This was a little bit on the extreme, but it was not common for children who worked in factories to work 12-14 hours with the same minimal breaks. Not only were these children subject to long hours, but also, they were in horrible conditions. Large, heavy, and dangerous equipment was very common for children to be using or working near. Many accidents occurred injuring or killing children on the job. Children were paid only a fraction of what an adult would get, and sometimes factory owners would get away with paying them nothing. Orphans were the ones subject to this slave-like labor. The factory owners justified their absence of payroll by saying that they gave the orphans food, shelter, and clothing, all of which were far below par. The children who did get paid were paid very little.


The treatment of children in factories was often cruel and unusual, and the children's safety was generally neglected. The youngest children, who were not old enough to work the machines, were commonly sent to be assistants to textile workers. The people who the children served would beat them, verbally abuse them, and take no consideration for their safety. Both boys and girls who worked in factories were subject to beatings and other harsh forms of pain infliction. One common punishment for being late or not working up to quota would be to be "weighted." An overseer would tie a heavy weight to worker's neck, and have them walk up and down the factory aisles so the other children could see them and "take example." This could last up to an hour. Weighting could lead to serious injuries in the back and/or neck. Boys were sometimes dragged naked from their beds and sent to the factories only holding their clothes, to be put on there. This was to make sure the boys would not be late.

Child labor: Movements to Regulate
There were people in this time period that strongly advocated the use or the abolishment of child labor, or at least the improvement of conditions. Factory owners loved child labor, and they supported their reasoning with ideas that it was good for everything from the economy to the building of the children's characters. Parents of the children who worked were almost forced to at least approve of it because they needed the income. There were, however, some important figures that fought for the regulation, improvement, and/or abolishment of child labor.

The first step to improving conditions was in 1833 with the Factory Act passed by Parliament. This limited the amount of hours children of certain ages could work. Specifically, children 9 to 13 years of age were only allowed to work 8 hours a day. Those 14 to 18 years of age could not work more than 12 hours a day. Children under 9 were not allowed to work at all. Also, the children were to attend school for no less than two hours during the day. Perhaps the most important part of this act was the part that said the government would appoint officials to make sure the act was carried out and complied with. Later, in the early 20th century, activists went even further to protect children's rights in labor. Among these figures was Jane Addams, founder of the Hull House. Activists in the U.S. made the government set up the Children's Bureau in 1912. This made it the U.S. government's responsibility to monitor child labor.


Life of a European Industrial Revolution Worker

Unguarded machinery was a major problem for children working in factories. One hospital reported that every year it treated nearly a thousand people for wounds and mutilations caused by machines in factories. A report commissioned by the House of Commons in 1832 said that: "there are factories, no means few in number, nor confined to the smaller mills, in which serious accidents are continually occurring, and in which, notwithstanding, dangerous parts of the machinery are allowed to remain unfenced."
The report added that he workers were often "abandoned from the moment that an accident occurs; their wages are stopped, no medical attendance is provided, and whatever the extent of the injury, no compensation is afforded."
In 1842 a German visitor noted that he had seen so many people in the streets of Manchester without arms and legs that it was like "living in the midst of the army just returned from a campaign."

On 16th March 1832 Michael Sadler introduced a Bill in Parliament that proposed limiting hours in all mills to 10 for persons under the age of 18. After much debate it was clear that Parliament was unwilling to pass Sadler's bill. However, in April 1832 it was agreed that there should be another parliamentary enquiry into child labor. Sadler was made chairman and for the next three months the parliamentary committee interviewed 48 people who had worked in textile factories as children.
On 9th July 1832 Michael Sadler discovered that at least six of these workers had been sacked for giving evidence to the parliamentary committee. Sadler announced that this victimization meant that he could no longer ask factory workers to be interviewed. He now concentrated on interviewing doctors who had experience treating people who worked in textile factories. Several of these doctors expressed concerned about the number of textile workers who were suffering from physical deformities.

Disabled youth in the yard of children's home in London