Industrial Revolution

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File:Powered weaving in 1836.jpg
A Roberts Loom in a weaving shed in 1836. Textiles were the leading industry of the Industrial Revolution, and mechanized factories, powered by a central water wheel or steam engine, were the new workplace.

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1756 to about 1890. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of water power, the increasing use of steam power and the development of machine tools.

CONTENT : A - F, G - L, M - R, S - Z, See also, External links


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F[edit]

  • Early British economists held that the application of the principle of division of labor was the basis of manufacture.... Charles Babbage, believed ... in [an] "Economy of Machinery and Manufacture." It appears, however, that another principle is the basic one in the rise of industry. It is the transference of skill. The transference of skill from the inventor or designer to the power-driven mechanism brought about the industrial revolution from handicraft to manufacture. It will be necessary to refer to this principle frequently throughout this report, in showing the meaning and position of management in industry.
No better single illustration of the application of this principle can be found than in the invention of the lathe slide rest by Henry Maudslay in 1794. This has been ranked as second only to the steam engine in its influence on machinery building, and thus on industrial development. The simple, easily controlled mechanical movements of the slide rest were substituted for the skilful human control of hand tools. So complete has been this transference of skill that today hand tooling is a vanished art in American machine shops.
  • The development of the Watt governor for steam engines, which adapted the power output of the engine automatically to the load by means of feedback, consolidated the first Industrial Revolution.
  • In the first stages of the industrial revolution, animals were used as machines. As also were children. Later, in the so-called post-industrial societies, they are treated as raw material. Animals required for food are processed like manufactured commodities. … This reduction of the animal … is part of the same process as that by which men have been reduced to isolated productive and consuming units. Indeed, during this period an approach to animals often prefigured an approach to man. The mechanical view of the animal’s work capacity was later applied to that of workers. F. W. Taylor who developed the “Taylorism” of timemotion studies and “scientific” management of industry proposed that work must be “so stupid” and so phlegmatic that he (the worker) “more nearly resembles in his mental makeup the ox than any other type.”
    • John Berger, About Looking (1980), chapter "Why Look at Animals?", Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015, pp. 10-11.
  • The industrial revolution was well underway before the steam-engine came into use for driving machinery. Only two prime-movers—the water wheel and the windmill—were widely available, and with very few exceptions these yielded no more than 10 h.p. and often less.
    • T. K. Derry & Trevor I. Williams, A Short History of Technology: From the Earliest Times to A.D. 1900 (1960) Ch.11, The Steam Engine
  • In the main, Bacon prophesied the direction of subsequent progress. But he "anticipated" the advance. He did not see that the new science was for a long time to be worked in the interest of old ends of human exploitation. He thought that it would rapidly give man new ends. Instead, it put at the disposal of a class the means to secure their old ends of aggrandizement at the expense of another class. The industrial revolution followed, as he foresaw, upon a revolution in scientific method. But it is taking the revolution many centuries to produce a new mind.
  • The development of science has produced an industrial revolution which has brought different peoples in such close contact with one another through colonization and commerce that no matter how some nations may still look down upon others, no country can harbor the illusion that its career is decided wholly within itself.
  • Almost everybody is sure... that it is proceeding with unprecedented speed; and... that its effects will be more radical than anything that has gone before. Wrong, and wrong again. Both in its speed and its impact, the information revolution uncannily resembles its two predecessors... The first industrial revolution, triggered by James Watt's improved steam engine in the mid-1770s... did not produce many social and economic changes until the invention of the railroad in 1829... Similarly, the invention of the computer in the mid-1940s... it was not until 40 years later, with the spread of the Internet in the 1990s, that the information revolution began to bring about big economic and social changes... the same emergence of the “super-rich” of their day, characterized both the first and the second industrial revolutions... These parallels are close and striking enough to make it almost certain that, as in the earlier industrial revolutions, the main effects of the information revolution on the next society still lie ahead.
  • This explosion of human population, especially in the post-Industrial Revolution years of the past two centuries, coupled with the unequal distribution and consumption of wealth on the planet, is the underlying cause of the Sixth Extinction.
    • Niles Eldredge, "The Sixth Extinction", 2001.
  • We may well call it black diamonds. Every basket is power and civilization. For coal is a portable climate. It carries the heat of the tropics to Labrador and the polar circle; and it is the means of transporting itself withersoever it is wanted. Watt and Stephenson whispered in the ear of mankind their secret, that a half-ounce of coal will draw two tons a mile, and coal carries coal, by rail and by boat, to make Canada as warm as Calcutta, and with its comfort brings its industrial power.

G - L[edit]

  • Whereas once economic production concerned itself with food, shelter, and clothing, and a few limited tools of production, the modern technology of the ongoing industrial revolution introduced many new consumer products... and a vast new array of producers goods needed for the sophisticated techniques of production. ...[E]ven many of the old standbys that had usually been homemade—children's clothes, pies, and laundry soap—began to be commercially produced. Not only was the commercial production more efficient, the disintegrated industrial family was no longer the effective production unit of home commodities it had once been ...
    • Martin Gerhard Giesbrecht, The Evolution of Economic Society: An Introduction to Economics (1972) Ch. 7, The Arrival of Modern Economies and Economics, p. 194.
  • To those who think that all this sounds like science fiction, we point out that yesterday's science fiction is today's fact. The Industrial Revolution has radically altered man's environment and way of life, and it is only to be expected that as technology is increasingly applied to the human body and mind, man himself will be altered as radically as his environment and way of life have been.
  • The Modernist reaction to the Enlightenment came in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, whose brutalizing effects revealed that modern life had not become... mathematically perfect...
  • Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolution, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it—we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

M - R[edit]

  • All of the technical innovations that formed the basis of the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries were made by men who can best be described as craftsmen, artisans, or engineers. Few of them were university educated, and all of them achieved their results without the benefit of scientific theory. Nonetheless, given the technical nature of the inventions, a persistent legend arose that the originators must have been counseled by the great figures of the Scientific Revolution.
    • James Edward McClellan III, Harold Dorn, Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction (2006).
  • Ever since the Industrial Revolution, Western society has benefited from science, logic, and reductionism over intuition and holism. Psychologically and politically we would much rather assume that the cause of a problem is “out there,” rather than “in here.” It’s almost irresistible to blame something or someone else, to shift responsibility away from ourselves, and to look for the control knob, the product, the pill, the technical fix that will make a problem go away.
    Serious problems have been solved by focusing on external agents — preventing smallpox, increasing food production, moving large weights and many people rapidly over long distances. Because they are embedded in larger systems, however, some of our “solutions” have created further problems. And some problems, those most rooted in the internal structure of complex systems, the real messes, have refused to go away.
    Hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, economic instability, unemployment, chronic disease, drug addiction, and war, for example, persist in spite of the analytical ability and technical brilliance that have been directed toward eradicating them. No one deliberately creates those problems, no one wants them to persist, but they persist nonetheless.
    That is because they are intrinsically systems problems-undesirable behaviors characteristic of the system structures that produce them. They will yield only as we reclaim our intuition, stop casting blame, see the system as the source of its own problems, and find the courage and wisdom to restructure it.
  • The opening of a foreign trade, by making them acquainted with new objects, or tempting them by the easier acquisition of things which they had not previously thought attainable, sometimes works a sort of industrial revolution in a country whose resources were previously undeveloped for want of energy and ambition in the people; inducing those who were satisfied with scanty comforts and little work to work harder for the gratification of their new tastes, and even to save, and accumulate capital, for the still more complete satisfaction of those tastes at a future time.
  • There is no machine or mechanism [as compared with the steam engine] in which the little the theorists have done is more useless. It arose, was improved and perfected by working mechanics—and by them only.
    • Robert Stuart Meikleham, A Descriptive History of the Steam Engine (1824).
  • La revolution industrielle est commencee en France.
    • Louis Guillaume Otto (1799) cited in: Mikulas Teich, ‎Roy Porter (1996) The Industrial Revolution in National Context, p. 45.
    • Earliest recorded use of the term Industrial Revolution in a letter by Louis Guillaume Otto, in which he announces that revolution began in France.
  • It seems to me that the notion of machine that was current in the course of the Industrial Revolution – and which we might have inherited – is a notion, essentially, of a machine without goal, it had no goal ‘of’, it had a goal ‘for’. And this gradually developed into the notion of machines with goals ‘of’, like thermostats, which I might begin to object to because they might compete with me. Now we’ve got the notion of a machine with an underspecified goal, the system that evolves. This is a new notion, nothing like the notion of machines that was current in the Industrial Revolution, absolutely nothing like it. It is, if you like, a much more biological notion, maybe I’m wrong to call such a thing a machine; I gave that label to it because I like to realise things as artifacts, but you might not call the system a machine, you might call it something else.
    • Gordon Pask (1972) in: Mary Catherine Bateson Our Own Metaphor: A Personal Account of a Conference on the Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation. New York : Alfred A Knopf. Quotes in: Usman Haque (2007) "The Architectural Relevance of Gordon Pask" in: Architectural Design. Vol 77, Issue 4, p. 54.
  • The Industrial Revolution was a watershed in the history of mankind. Three forces – technology, economic organization, and science, in this sequence – each from separate and undistinguished parentage, linked up, inconspicuously at first, to form, hardly a hundred years ago, into a social maelstrom that is still engulfing new and new millions of people, in an irresistible rush.

S - Z[edit]

  • What is the end of all the magnificent means provided by the productive activity of American society? Have not the means swallowed the ends, and does not the unrestricted production of means indicate the absence of ends? Even many born Americans are today inclined to answer the last question affirmatively. But there is more involved in the production of means. It is not the tools and gadgets that are the telos, the inner aim of production; it is the production itself. The means are more than means; they are felt as creations, as symbols of the infinite possibilities implied in man’s productivity. Being-itself is essentially productive.
  • In the middle of the last century there was comparatively little movement of workmen from place to place ; but Adam Smith's fierce attack on the law of settlement shows that migration was on the increase. The world was, in fact, on the eve of an industrial revolution ; and it is interesting to remember that the two men who did most to bring it about, Adam Smith and James Watt, met, as I have mentioned, in Glasgow, when one was dreaming of the book, and the other of the invention, which were to introduce a new industrial age.
  • Our attention will focus on the institutional context of technological innovation rather than the technology itself. We shall view technology as a social product and shall not be over much interested in the priority claims of individual inventors, for the actual course of work that leads to the conception and use of technology always involves a group that has worked for a considerable period of time on the basic idea before success is achieved.
    • Anthony F. C. Wallace, The Social Context of Innovation: Bureaucrats, Families, and Heroes in the Early Industrial Revolution as Foreseen in Bacon's New Atlantis (1982, 2003).
  • The significant thing about the Darbys and coke-iron is not that the first Abraham Darby "invented" a new process but that five generations of the Darby connection were able to perfect it and develop most of its applications.
    • Anthony F. C. Wallace, The Social Context of Innovation: Bureaucrats, Families, and Heroes in the Early Industrial Revolution as Foreseen in Bacon's New Atlantis (1982, 2003).

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

This page was moved from wikiquote:en:Industrial Revolution. Its edit history can be viewed at Industrial Revolution/edithistory

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