DMPQ-Why were other European countries slower to industrialize than Britain? Discuss.

. The Industrial Revolution marked a period of development in the latter half of the 18th century that transformed largely rural, agrarian societies in Europe and America into industrialized, urban ones.

Goods that had once been painstakingly crafted by hand started to be produced in mass quantities by machines in factories, thanks to the introduction of new machines and techniques in textiles, iron making and other industries.

Thanks in part to its damp climate, ideal for raising sheep, Britain had a long history of producing textiles like wool, linen and cotton. But prior to the Industrial Revolution, the British textile business was a true “cottage industry,” with the work performed in small workshops or even homes by individual spinners, weavers and dyers.

Starting in the mid-18th century, innovations like the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny, the water frame and the power loom made weaving cloth and spinning yarn and thread much easier. Producing cloth became faster and required less time and far less human labor.

More efficient, mechanized production meant Britain’s new textile factories could meet the growing demand for cloth both at home and abroad, where the nation’s many overseas colonies provided a captive market for its goods. In addition to textiles, the British iron industry also adopted new innovations.

Chief among the new techniques was the smelting of iron ore with coke (a material made by heating coal) instead of the traditional charcoal. This method was both cheaper and produced higher-quality material, enabling Britain’s iron and steel production to expand in response to demand created by the Napoleonic Wars (1803-15) and the later growth of the railroad industry.

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