Industrial Revolution Took Place

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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The Industrial Revolution took place during what we know as the Victorian Era. It impacted the lives of millions of people in ways that could never have been imaged at the time; and the ideals and inventions of then continue to influence our lives even still. While many of the developments during the Industrial Revolution had a positive effect, some did not. The Industrial Revolution brought about extreme poverty, child labor, gruesome injuries, and unhygienic practices. Many of these things were due to the living and working conditions of factory workers during the time.

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The use of the factory system was first adopted by Britain at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, but before then, the workshop (Putting-out) system was used. In the previous system many skilled craftsmen would be needed in order to complete one project or item, therefore the output of goods was low and the price was high, eliminating most of the possible profit. However, in the factory system, the use of machinery and the division of labor enabled businessmen to produce far more goods with workers who had no special experience in a craft and therefore could be paid extremely low wages. The production and variety of goods produced due to the use of this system and the new machines had never been seen before the Industrial Revolution.

One of the most known machines invented during this time was the Spinning Jenny; which was a type of multi-spooled spinning wheel. The invention of the Spinning Jenny by James Hargreaves in 1764 was important to Textile Industries at the time because it sped up the process of spinning wool into thread and also allowed for a larger output of the material. This abundance of material led to the mass production of fabrics mainly used in the making of clothes. It’s original design featured eight spools which would all be turned by one power source or factory worker. The spool count was eventually improved in order to hold over a hundred spools on one machine.

Originally, the spinning of thread took place in homes and provided a somewhat steady income for textile workers. Many of these so called Cottage Industries were brought to an end by the large factories of the Industrial Revolution. Those who were previously able to make a comfortable living in the more rural parts of the country were forced to move to the larger cities in order to find work and pay after the large factory machines made their way of life impossible. This lead to overcrowding in the cities and a sharp increase of poverty due to lack of work. While factory work allowed for those who were less skilled in a specific field to find work, the actual pay they received for their work was barely enough to make a living off of. This lead to people needing to work more than one job, or have their families all work in order to make just enough to keep them alive.

Unfortunately, the need for every members of the family to work in order to survive led to the use of child labor. Within Great Britain’s Textile Industry alone, more than half of the workforce was under nineteen, with five percent of them being under the age of ten. While it was somewhat common during the time for youths to have jobs in order to help support their families, it had never been in such a staggering amount before. Some of the main things about child labor that outraged society during the time was the unsafe working conditions and strict disciplinary rules, as well as the inflexible and harsh hours.

Many children during the time were forced to work fourteen to sixteen hour shifts six days a week, leaving little time for school, play, and healthy development. The workers who operated the Spinning Jenny were often younger children because of their small frames and nimble fingers which made it easier for them to use the machines. Many of the children suffered from injuries and mutilations because of the machines. Most of the injuries were scratches, cuts that could go to the bone, the pinching and tearing away of skin and muscle , loss of fingers, hands, and limbs within the clamps. Some of the more serious injuries that were caused by other machines resulted in death by infection or blood loss. The deaths of most of the children in factories were caused by the children falling into the machines due to exhaustion and lack of sleep. These children would be crushed and ground by the machines because there were no safety barriers or rules in factories at the time.

Many of the writers and poets of the time protested the way factories treated the workers, especially the children. These artists were part of the social movement to help put laws and practices into place in order to help the people of the factories by calling attention to their struggles. One of the authors who is well known for their involvement in the political and social changes during the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian Era was Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Her poem, The Cry of the Children, examined the children who were forced to work in the factories and the business mean who exploited them. Her work was incredibly important in bringing about awareness to the issues with child labor and the implementation of laws that helped protect children, and eventually ban child labor.

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Industrial Revolution Took Place. (2020, Mar 23). Retrieved from