The First Industrial Revolution was spawned by the Commercial Revolution that took place in Europe between the fifteenth and mid-eighteenth centuries.
The expansion of international trade and the increase of wealth allowed the financing of technical progress and the establishment of industries.
Industrial Revolution in England
The First Industrial Revolution began in England around 1750, and soon reached France, Belgium and later Italy, Germany, Russia, Japan, and the United States. By this time, commercial activities were driving the pace of production.
In the English industrial revolution , the main manufacture was the weaving of wool. But it was in the production of cotton fabrics that the process of mechanization began, that is, from the transition from manufacturing to the factory system.
The raw material came from the colonies (India and the United States). About 90% of English cotton fabrics were sold abroad, which played a key role in England’s industrial sprint.
Mechanization and Inventions
Mechanization has extended from the textile sector to metallurgy, transport, agriculture and other sectors of the economy. Several inventions revolutionized production techniques and altered the system of economic power.
The great source of wealth shifted from commercial to industrial activity. Those who developed the capacity to produce goods would have the economic leadership in the world.
And this is what happened to England, being the first country to industrialize using the machine in production:
- the spinning machine , which transforms the textile fibers of cotton, silk and wool into yarn for the manufacture of fabrics. This invention revolutionized the production technique, making England the largest producer of fabric yarn. This invention replaced the distaff, one of the simplest and oldest spinning instruments.
- The mechanical loom , invented in 1785 as a replacement for the manual loom, considerably increased the production of fabrics, placing England in the world leadership of the time.
- the steam engine , whose use in the fabric industry, coal plants, iron industrialization, vessels (steamships), railways (steam locomotive), among others, represented a revolution in the transport of passengers and cargo.
The invention of machines, the utilization of coal heat energy and its transformation into mechanical energy to operate the machines, represented a great advance in the techniques used for the manufacture of goods and, consequently, in the increase of production.
England thus moved from manufacturing to machining . It produced and sold its industrial products worldwide, thanks, among other factors, to the expansion of the colonial system.
Thus, in the eighteenth century, the country became the largest capitalized nation in the world, with London being the international financial capital.
This moment represented a true revolution in the way of producing goods in a much shorter time compared to manufacturing.
The early development of mechanized textile industries in much of Europe and the United States depended on many of these British inventions. This revolution became known as the First Industrial Revolution.