The Industrial Revolution

In the end of the 18th century, the industrial revolution started. It was different then all the other revolutions, which had been political, social or cultural revolutions. The industrial revolution was an economic revolution. It changed the way people produced goods. It also changed our goods from hand-made goods to manufactured goods. This gave our lives a nice twist. The revolution first started in Great Britain, In the 18th century. At that time, it was the most powerful country in the world. It was logical that the wealthiest country would start a revolution. After England, other countries like Germany, the United States and France joined the revolution.

During the industrial revolution, the main source of energy changed from water and muscle power (especially horse muscle power) to steam power. That meant that the steam engine became more popular. Thomas Savery developed the first steam engine. His machine was a closed vessel filled with water. Steam was under pressure, which forced the water upwards and out of the mine where they got the water from. The vessel sucked vacuum, so it kept on getting water up the mine shaft. This was probably one of the most important inventions of the industrial revolution because it changed the energy source completely.

James Hargreaves invented in 1764 a machine, called Jenny. He worked as a carpenter and a weaver. The story goes that his daughter Jenny knocked over a spinning wheel and he saw the spindle roll over the floor. This gave him an idea. But that’s just a legend. There was also a story that Hargreaves’ wife was called Jenny and he called his machine after her. The first Jenny used eight spindles instead of the one that was usually found on a spinning wheel. So it gave eight threads. Later Jenny’s had 16 spindles, but he couldn’t get a patent on that. In 1768, a group of spinners broke into his house and destroyed his Jenny machines, because they thought it would take away their work. And it did decrease the need for spinners. This was an important machine, because it made labour faster and easier.

Count Alessandro Volta build one of the first electric batteries and showed it to Napoleon, emperor at that time (1800). He first studied older experiments that had to do with storing energy. Volta believed that different kinds of metal could produce energy when they got in touch with each other. In his experiment, he put copper, zinc and carton together and drenched it in salt water. When both ends of the pile were touched, an electrical stream ran. This was the first electric battery. This is an important invention, because we need batteries for almost everything. But I think that if Allessandro didn’t invent it, someone else would have done it.

On 17 December 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first controllable aeroplane. As children, mechanics interested them. In 1899, they started to read about flying, because that specific part of mechanics interested them the most. The longest flight with the aeroplane they made on 17 December was only 260 metres. The government didn’t take them seriously when talking about flying, but in 1908, the Wright brothers signed a contract for the first military aeroplane. The basics of the Wright brothers’ are used still. This is a great invention, and hugely important, because aeroplanes are a big part of transport now.

© Eva de Schipper, B2a

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