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Professor James Grubb
1st May, 2017
Great Britain: Beginning of the Industrial Revolution
One of the most influential turning points in history took place in Great Britain around the 18th Century (from 1760 to between 1820 and 1840). This great event was known at the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution played a huge role in the advancement in the fields of technology, science and culture. Specifically in 1775, a man by the name of James Watt would go on to form an important partnership with Matthew Boulton. Together they would go on to build one of the most successful and innovative businesses during the Industrial Revolution, Boulton and Watt.
Before the Industrial Revolution, the products that were produced by people were mainly all hand made and had to be constructed individually. This meant that the production of a product took a long time to make and that the individuals that made the products had to be specifically trained to master that skill. The main aim of the Industrial Revolution was to find a way in which people would rely less on human labor in the manufacturing processes, while also trying to increase the productivity levels. This is where different inventions, that could possibly help, would come in to play. A lot of inventors at the time were trying to build something useful and make doing these tasks easier and effective, and it finally came to fruition thanks to breakthroughs made by a number of inventors. One of the most important and influential discoveries was steam power, and the invention and development of the steam engine.
Progress was slow to build up steam power, over a period of several hundred years, as at the time there were only limited devices to work with. But it became very useful at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and turned out to be the most important technology of the Industrial Revolution. It was a simple device that used boiling water to create mechanical motion to be utilized in useful work. "The steam engine was used in many industrial settings, especially mining, where the first engines pumped water from deep workings. Early mills had run successfully with waterpower, but by using a steam engine a factory could be located anywhere, not just near water. Waterpower varied with the seasons, and was not available at times due to freezing, floods and dry spells."( "Steam Power and the Industrial Revolution: 1760-1840." PSC. Accessed April 30, 2017.)
It was in 1775, that a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer by the name of James Watt partnered with an English manufacturer named Matthew Boulton, and founded Boulton And Watt. People often have a misconception about James Watt, he actually did not invent the steam engine, but rather he was the person who made adjustments and improvements to original steam engine invented by Thomas Newcomen. "The partnership of Boulton and Watt became one of the most important businesses of the Industrial Revolution and served as a kind of creative technical center for much of the British economy. The partners solved technical problems and spread the solutions to other companies." ("Steam Power and the Industrial Revolution: 1760-1840." PSC. Accessed April 30, 2017) They would also start mass-producing the steam engine. Other companies followed the same pattern.
Communication between these companies were crucial as they ended up sharing information with each other which in turn helped to reduced the amount of time spent on research as well as expense that each business had to spend working with its own resources. Thanks to this collaboration between companies, the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution happened more quickly which also helped to develop new techniques or products. ("Steam Power and the Industrial Revolution: 1760-1840." PSC. Accessed April 30, 2017.)
"Incorporating steam power into production made it easier to complete physical tasks that would normally have taken multiple people or a team of animals to complete. Again, this allowed for an individual that was not highly trained to be in control of working on a task with the aid of a powered machine that could accomplish something that the worker was physically unable to do by them." ("Steam Power and the Industrial Revolution:
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