English Literature
Industrial Revolution in Literature

Industrial Revolution in Literature

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The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Literature

The period between 1760 and 1840 saw the rise of the Industrial Revolution, bringing about significant changes in society, politics, and the economy. This era marked the shift from manual labor to mass production and resulted in the migration of people from rural areas to cities. As a result, the Industrial Revolution became a popular theme in literature.

The Historical Setting of the Industrial Revolution

The revolution began in Britain during the mid-18th century and eventually spread to other parts of the world. This period was characterized by the replacement of manual labor with machine-based manufacturing, resulting in substantial economic growth. Along with the rise of factories and mass production, technology played a vital role in addressing previously labor-intensive tasks. This change from a home-based hand-crafting system to a factory-based production system also triggered urbanization, with people leaving their rural homes for cities in search of work.

The Effects of the Industrial Revolution

The rapid growth of manufacturing facilities also spurred the expansion of industries such as communication, finance, and transportation to support the increased production of goods. The introduction of the factory system, which replaced the traditional cottage industry, was more efficient and time-saving, utilizing machines and assembly lines to produce goods on a larger scale.

  • Factory system: A system that emerged in the late 18th century, involving the use of machinery in large factories for producing goods.
  • Cottage industry: The traditional method of small-scale production, carried out by skilled artisans in their homes.

The first factories were established after the invention of the water-powered frame by Richard Arkwright in the 1760s. This system allowed factory owners to accumulate significant wealth and produce goods on a massive scale. However, it also brought about a change in the way people worked, with workers now operating in production lines and working in shifts.

Technology played a crucial role during the Industrial Revolution, transforming the production process and considerably increasing its speed. This led to a decrease in reliance on manual labor, especially in the textile industry, which saw a significant increase in production. Moreover, advancements in the metal and textile industries enabled the mass production of goods for commercial and personal use.

Key Inventions of the Industrial Revolution

The advancement of technology during this period resulted in several significant inventions, including the steam engine - a primary source of power for machines in factories, replacing manual labor. Other critical inventions of this time include the flying shuttle, water frame, spinning jetty, and power loom, all of which contributed to the growth of mass production.

Transportation During the Industrial Revolution

The rise in production and the need to transport goods gave way to the invention and use of steam power. Steam-powered locomotives were employed to transport freight, while steam-powered ships and boats were used for transportation along canals and rivers and across the Atlantic. By 1815, more than 2000 miles of canals were in use in Britain. However, the use of steam engines also led to an increase in demand for coal as an energy source.


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