2Why did the Industrial Revolution begin in Great Britain? The Agricultural Revolution beginning in the 18th century changed agriculturalpractices. Expansion of farmland, good weather, improved transportation, andnew crops such as the potato dramatically increased the food supply. Morepeople could be fed at lower prices with less labor. Now even ordinary Britishfamilies could use some of their income to buy manufactured goods.With the increased food supply, the population grew. Peasants moved into townscreating a labor supply for factories.Great Britain had a ready supply of money, or capital, to invest in new machinesand factories. Entrepreneurs found new business opportunities and new waysto make profits.Natural resources were plentiful in Great Britain. The country’s rivers providedwater power for the new factories and a means for transporting raw materialsand finished products. Britain also had abundant supplies of coal and iron ore.A supply of markets gave British manufacturers a ready outlet for their goods.Britain had a vast colonial empire, and British ships could transport goodsanywhere in the world. A growing demand for cotton goods will increasedomestic markets as well.
3Cottage IndustryIn the 18th Century, Great Britain had surged far ahead in the production ofInexpensive cotton goods. The manufacture of cotton cloth was a two-step process.First, spinners made cotton thread from raw cotton. Then, weavers wove thecotton thread into cloth on looms. In the 18th C., individuals did these tasks in theirrural cottages. This production method was thus called a cottage industry.
4New InventionsAs the demand for cloth grew, inventors came up with a string of remarkable devices that revolutionized the British textile industry. For example, using John Kay’s flying shuttle, weavers worked so fast that they soon outpaced spinners. James Hargreaves solved that problem by producing the spinning jenny in 1764, which spun many threads at the same time. A few years later, Richard Arkwright invented the water frame, which used water power to speed up spinning still further.
5The new machines doomed the cottage industries The new machines doomed the cottage industries. They were too large and expensive to be operated at home. Instead, manufacturers built long sheds to house the machines. At first, they located the sheds near rapidly moving streams, which provided water power to run the machines. Later, machines were powered by steam engines.
6The Factory SystemSpinners and weavers came each day to work in these first factories – places that brought together workers and machines to produce large quantities of goods. Early observers were awed at the size and output of these establishments.
7Early TransportationAs production increased, entrepreneurs needed faster and cheaper methods of moving goods from place to place. Some capitalists invested in turnpikes, which were privately built roads that charged a fee to travelers who used them. Others had canals dug to link rivers or connect inland towns with coastal ports. Engineers also built stronger bridges and upgraded harbors to help the expanding overseas trade.
8Steam EnginesThe great revolution in transportation was the invention of the steam locomotive. It was this invention that made possible the growth of railroads. In the early 1800s, pioneers like George Stephenson developed steam-powered locomotives to pull carriages along iron rails.The Rocket Locomotive
9The railroad did not have to follow the course of a river The railroad did not have to follow the course of a river. This meant that tracks could go places rivers did not, allowing factory owners and merchants to ship goods over land.
10World’s First Rail Line The world’s first major rail line, from Liverpool to Manchester, opened in England in In the following decades, railroad travel became faster and railroad building boomed. By 1870, rail lines crisscrossed Britain, Europe, andNorth America.