1780-1850 is generally considered the period of time the First Industrial Revolution period exploded in Britain and marks a transformation that spread across the globe. One definition used describes the Industrial Revolution as “the burst of major inventions and economic expansion that took place in certain industries, such as cotton textiles and iron, between 1780 and 1850”(1 p. 687).

Many factors merged together culminating in the progress which roared like a steam-engine locomotive reshaping the politics, the landscape, and daily life. Economics, agriculture, raw materials, and the Scientific Revolution as well as the Enlightenment all influenced the historical event.

J. M. W. Turner's Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway; (9)
Britain was booming financially which made more willing to invest in new schemes as well as savvy businessmen looking for new innovative ways to stretch their profits. The improvements in farming increased production which furthered the economy but it also created a new pool of workers. Having access to raw materials like cotton, coal, and iron enabled Britain to increase manufacturing to a new level. Along with the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment; innovators and scientists were more open to questioning and experimenting with the limitations and boundaries of the natural world.

This site will examine some of the ways the Industrial Revolution impacted every aspect of daily life; from its political and human rights reforms, economic development, world-changing inventions and the people who inspired and perspired through it all. While the Industrial Revolution had its share of drawbacks it helped set the stage for our modern society.

Use the links in the sidebar, navigation above or this quick start guide above to explore the past. 

For further reading about the origins of the First Industrial Revolution check out Why the Industrial Revolution happened in Britain. If you'd prefer a quick video overview check out this Crash Course.

1. McKay, John P., et al., et al. A History of World Societies: since 1450. Boston : Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012. Vol. 2.