The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. 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. It also included the change from wood and other bio-fuels to coal. Textiles were the dominant industry of the Industrial Revolution in terms of employment, value of output and capital invested; the textile industry was also the first to use modern production method
Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution in Britain was centred in south Lancashire and the towns on both sides of the Pennines. In Germany it was concentrated in the Wupper Valley, Ruhr Region and Upper Silesia, while in the United States it was in New England. The four key drivers of the Industrial Revolution were textile manufacturing, iron founding, steam power and cheap labour. Before the 18th century, the manufacture of cloth was performed by individual workers, in the premises in which they lived and goods were transported around the country by packhorses or by river navigations and contour-following canals that had been constructed in the early 18th century. In the mid-18th century, artisans were inventing ways to become more productive. Silk, wool, and fustian fabrics were being eclipsed by cotton which became the most important textile. Innovations in carding and spinning enabled by advances in cast iron technology resulted in the creation of larger spinning mules and water frames. The machinery was housed in water-powered mills on streams. The need for more power stimulated the production of steam-powered beam engines, and rotative mill engines transmitting the power to line shafts on each floor of the mill. Surplus power capacity encouraged the construction of more sophisticated power looms working in weaving sheds. The scale of production in the mill towns round Manchester created a need for a commercial structure; for a cotton exchange and warehousing. The technology was used in woollen and worsted mills in the West Riding of Yorkshire and elsewhere.
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