Textiles and the early British Industrial Revolution

previous chapter: what conditions caused/made possible the British Industrial Revolution--what caused it to start
this chapter: what happened in the early stages, and why--what caused it to grow once it started

to what extent did new technology cause the British industrial revolution?
what caused new technology to be invented and put into use
how exactly does the new technology relate to the economic growth

Textile factories were the first stage of the takeoff of the industrial revolution

graph showing cotton industry takeoff preceded iron

What caused that boom in textile factories?

Adopting technology wasn’t inevitable early on (later on it became hard to stay in business if you didn't)
Businesses that are more focused on profit are more likely to adopt new technologies

the story isn't just invention but why did people invest in building factories using a new invention?
With the experience of the IR, chasing after profit became a more common approach.

That shift made businesses more open to new technology
cause--businesses interested in new technology, effect--inventors go invent new things

Snowball effect:

The Factory System (origins video):

 Spinning Jenny

PEM photo--power loom (Slater Mill)

Other industries were necessary for the factories and developed at the same time.

 canals in Birmingham

coal mining

photo of iron bridge
  the first iron bridge, Coalbrookedale
  • 1783 invention of puddling made economical the production of wrought iron, which is much stronger than cast iron

Hogsbawm's argument about this period:
  • this early industrialization was a mix of old and new technologies and older business and labor practices with a change in approach
  • the businessmen who pushed forward the new technology took a new approach that focused only on profit (that was the mindset that made them bold enough to try radically new technology)
  • the way the economy worked and people lived was changing quite radically
  • the change in way of life resulted in a lot of political unrest and union activity

this page written and copyright  Pamela E. Mack
last updated 1/16/15