Industrial Revolution

Prior to the 18th century, in the United States and Western Europe, the majority of the population lived on farms. However, during the 1700's many remarkable new innovations came into being which caused an upheaval of sorts. ?New forms of power, such as steam, replaced animal strength and human muscle. The factory system of making goods came into use. All of these advances affected patterns of living as well as working. Because society was so transformed, this time of great change is known as the Industrial Revolution.? (Perry, Scholl, Davis?491) The Industrial Revolution brought upon many changes in society. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the United States had established an agrarian society and soon, the Industrial Revolution would lead to rapid urbanization.
There were many revolutions that took place within the Industrial Revolution. ?A revolution in agriculture had paved the way for the Industrial Revolution.? (491) Farmers were in dire need to increase production, which in turn would increase trade. ?The Agricultural Revolution began in 1701, when Jethro Tull invented a mechanical drill for planting.? (492) A Transportation Revolution broke out when traders and commuters needed better methods of transportation. The Transportation Revolution led to the building of canals and railroads. The poor conditions of roads led to the building of canals. It was far less costly to transport heavy goods by waterway than by land. (491) Railroads, at the time, were the fastest method of transportation on land. A trip that might take days would only be a few hours by train. Railroads would also aid in trafficking raw materials, machinery, and finished products from north to south in far less time. A demand for better methods of transportation would lead to more innovative designs in the field of transportation.
One of the greatest problems that existed in the South was ?how to produce enough cotton to meet the demands of England's newly invented spinning and weaving machines?? (Compton's Encyclopedia, Eli Whitney) There were two types of cottons grown on plantations: ?A black-seed, long-staple cotton was easily cleaned, but it grew only near the coast, while a green-seed, short-staple variety grew in inland areas but resisted cleaning since its fiber stuck to the seed.? (Compton's) ?Before cotton can be used, the fibers must be separated from the seeds.? (Compton's) It takes about one day to get a pound of cotton if the fibers are being separated by hand. (Compton's) Whitney discovered a way to resolve the issue regarding the green-seed by inventing a machine to clean the green-seed cotton. Whitney based his renderings never having seen raw cotton. He just assumed that comb-like teeth were imperative. Whitney had designed a crude model within days. ?Based on simple principles, the cotton gin was finished in 1793. By 1800 cotton production had increased from about 3,000 bales a year to 73,000. His cotton-cleaning invention brought prosperity to the South.? (Compton's)
The steam engine was perhaps one of the greatest inventions during the 1700's. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the steam engine was improved to increase its work potential. In 1698, the purpose of the steam engine was to pump water. The demand for the steam engine had been minimal until the establishment of factories. ?In the days before 1760 most industries were carried out in the home or in small workshops where the muscles of men, and women, provided the power.? (Storer, 50) The key motivation behind the invention of the steam engine, was the need for power. Edmund Cartwright developed a loom that would be powered by a steam engine. (50-51) In time, ?The spinning wheel started to become obsolete, a steam-powered factory had been established.? (51) Despite the fact that steam-powered factories started out as a financial disaster, ?Powered machines grouped in factories replaced home industries.? (51) In 1769, James Watt was recognized as developing the first practical steam engine that burned coal. (Perry?493)
?While repairing a model of a Newcomen-type engine for Glasgow University, Watt realized that a large quantity of heat was being wasted by successfully heating the cylinder to fill it with steam and cooling it to condense the steam. Watt solved this problem.? In his own words, Watt describes the realization that he comes to regarding steam and how to apply it. ?As steam