The Significance of the Early Industrial Revolution
Early Industrial Revolution or Pre-Industrial Revolution refers to the period before the advent of the Industrial Revolution. The period between 1500s and 1750s marked a shift in the foregoing level of selling and buying goods. The impetuous existing art forms and production of goods were brought to polarity in this era. The voyages from Western Europe led the way for the Revolution. The chief trade practices included trading in precious metals, handicrafts, cotton, etc. The farmers and merchants wanted to raise money by increasing trade with other nations. This led to the expansion of economy through fostering development in the involved nations. It is crucial to understand the genesis of the Early Industrial Revolution, which emerged through several centuries stimulating growth in the West and the rest of the world (Persson, p. 3, par. 2).
During the period of Early Industrial Revolution, there were no machines for equipping the making of goods. The manual labor was used for performing tasks and assembling units for the finished goods. During this era, textiles and other products were made at home, and people would trade their goods. Due to inadequate transportation and communication systems, the trading of goods was not possible on a large scale. Then the Europeans sought their way toward innovation and technology, which made their demands and market clearly available to the mass population. This paper discusses the significance of the Early Industrial Revolution, and the developments and innovations, such as Renaissance warfare, boatswain’s pipe, astrolabe, quadrant, and spinning wheel in addition to the roots of Industrial Revolution, the expansion of markets in the Pre-Industrial era, the European Cities, the cottage industry, the upswing trend in agricultural practices, and the innovation approach paving the way to the Industrial Revolution.
Under this section, the paper discusses the roots of Industrial Revolution in Pre-Industrial society, the expansion of markets in 1550s, the European Cities in the Pre-Industrial Society, the Renaissance warfare and other innovations in navigation and sailing apparatus, the rise in standard of living through urban set ups, the upswing trend in agricultural practices, the role of small scale industries in 1500s, such as cottage industries, and Pre-Industrial financial innovations, which led to a greater Industrial Revolution from 1750 onwards.
The Roots of Industrial Revolution in Pre-Industrial Society
The Early Industrial Revolution connoted a slow lifestyle with limited resources. During the 16th century, there were no manufactured goods; instead, there were various raw materials available in the rural areas. The wood was used to carry the domestic activities, and wind and water were the determining factors for the source of power. The basic source of income for the people of the Early Industrial Revolution in the 16th century merely came from farming, cow-raising, selling milk, etc. The Early Industrial Revolution also saw no substantial increase in population for decades (Tucker, par. 2). The common people grew in the fear of epidemics, such as Typhoid, Influenza, Plague, etc. These diseases resulted in mass dying due to insufficient care and medical facilities (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par.3).
Expansion of Markets in 1550s
The Early Industrial Revolution has its significance in promoting and establishing strong foundation for the Industrial Revolution. During the 1550s, there was no existence of commercial industries. The small scale trade practices were emphasized from the households and agricultural lands. The craftsmanship was used to balance the lifestyle, for example, by making furniture, handicrafts, pottery, masonry, etc. (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par.8). The home-based occupations, such as weaving cloth and making dresses out of this cloth material were part of fine craftsmanship in the Early Industrial Revolution. The labor worked hard to complete their day-to-day tasks, but the production was very slow because of few tools and equipments. Some cities became centers for providing basic raw materials and goods. Markets developed for selling agricultural goods, handicrafts, and pottery items. During the Early Industrial Revolution, the elite people owned large areas of land and hired labor for growing agricultural produce, and also assigned work to the servants to help them carry out their daily activities. On the contrary, the poor people made goods from the raw materials and managed their lifestyle with minimal agricultural produce from small lands and cow-raising.
European Cities in the Pre-Industrial Society
Many cities flourished during the Early Industrial Revolution era due to their establishment of markets. The main attraction that accounted for the growth of a town into a city was the spread of its market. Florence, a prominent European city attracted traders, as it proffered handicrafts and several mechanically tinkered clay pots, kettles and pans (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par. 9). The Early Industrial Revolution era witnessed advancement in the European cities that were producing gun-powder and cannons through their basic industries with no thoroughly equipped tools.
Renaissance Warfare and other Innovations in Navigation and Sailing Equipment
In the 16th century, no democracy existed on the world map. There were rulers, ruling their dynasties and trying to expand their empires in order to gain more and more power. Through army and cavalry, with renaissance warfare, the rulers attacked the other empires. The use of war hammers, swords, clubs and maces, winged spears, lances, pikes, etc. as tools for warfare adds to the innovation list during the Early Industrial Revolution. The use of mechanical clocks and navigation tools, such as boatswain’s pipe, astrolabe, quadrant, and sandglass marked the beginning of 16th century (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par.9). These major inventions came up in navigation and sailing equipment.
Rise in Standard of Living through Urban Establishments
The increase in agricultural produce helped in feeding the population and to prevent health degradation, which formerly occurred due to shortage of food in the 15th century (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par.4). A wider view of competition was created among the people. They began working more in order to get more wages and have a better livelihood. They uplifted from the previous concept of living in the rural areas to better townships. They adapted to better living conditions and went to learning centers to get education about basic skills, which would be helpful in their survival to some extent, thus, moving toward urbanization.
An Upswing Trend in Agricultural Practices
One of the few very important reforms was observed during the Early Industrial Revolution, which was about the change in agricultural practices and patterns. The food production in Europe increased to a great extent in the future period as a result of persistent endeavors of the farmers and traders of the Early Industrial Revolution. In the mid 1500s, the demand for most of the products, such as textiles, warfare, cotton, etc. increased (Brock, p. 5, par. 3). Later on, in 1750-1800s, the historians called this reformatory era as the Agricultural Revolution (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par.15).
The Role of Small Scale Industries in 1500s
After 1500, the European markets expanded from Asia to the American continent. Europeans established industries and markets in other nations as well (McDowall, par. 3). The aim of such establishment was the expansion of their markets to extract more revenue out of other nations. The financial industry and cottage industry of Europeans also expanded tremendously. The Dutch East India Company expanded its market in order to derive spices from the South-East Asian countries (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par.11).
Cottage Industry in the Early 16th Century
Cottage industries were also seen as a peculiarly expanding market. The poor families depended on agricultural land, worked night long by weaving cloth with fusty machines, such as old spinning wheel in their cottages. The merchants who traveled in the countryside, in search of great deals, bought the fancy spun cloth from the small markets of cottage industries. Sometimes these merchants would also provide raw materials, such as cotton or wool, and paid them for the labor, and then took the finished goods to sell them further (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par. 14). This is how the cottage industry allowed the growth of industries in the Early Industrial Revolution era.
Pre-Industrial Innovations of 16th Century Leading to a Greater Industrial Revolution from 1750 onwards
Several innovations in banking and financial sectors laid the foundation for the following Industrial Revolution. The growth of traders and consumers of the 16th century, later on, attributed to the Industrial Revolution from 1750 onwards. Beginning from 1500, the trade expanded globally by transportation via boats and ships. The navigation instruments helped to increase the market and to discover nations. By 1600s, the Europeans living in the cities got interested in the markets and global trade opportunities by investing in financial innovations, and became difficult to dissolute the urban culture from them (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par.13). They wanted to expand the production and trade deals through the use of coal and textiles. These two raw materials i.e. coal and textiles gave a kick-start to the Early Industrial Revolution. In the 1700s, coke was widely used in the production of iron; also, several textile centers were established, and the construction of roads and canals was done. This made the country ahead in many inventions, and coal being a pivotal material, for example, it was widely used in operating the steam engine. In order to meet the needs of the families and the society, it motivated the traders and producers of the Early Industrial Revolution to think of strategies to manufacture goods on a large scale. Various reforms in the agricultural field, such as Crop Rotation, was invented by the Dutch (“Pre-Industrial Society,” par.16) Thus, the European markets expanded in numerous countries, and this paved the way for the Industrial Revolution.
Hence, the paper discussed the significance of the Early Industrial Revolution along with developments and innovations, which eventually provided the path to the greater Industrial Revolution. The Early Industrial Revolution emerged before the Industrial Revolution and laid the roots for the latter one. The beginning of the Early Industrial Revolution dates back to 1500s. The Early Industrial Revolution is said to be a domicile of Britain. It started in Britain and then expanded to the faraway lands. The small scale industries transformed into large scale after the developments in the field of technology. The use of wood, as a fuel, in everyday lives was replaced by coal. A few cities, such as Florence emerged as the prime centers of raw materials and goods. All these cities were patronized by the European merchants who traveled the countryside for varying trade purposes. The use of several renaissance warfare and innovations in this field is responsible for early developments in the Western Civilization. The other innovations included the sandglass, quarter, boatswain’s pipe, and astrolabe, which were also important instruments for navigation and sailing. The arrival of new technologies after the Early Industrial Revolution owes its credit to the zeal of the people from the Early Industrial Revolution era who wanted to bring reforms in their lifestyle, farming practices, and production methods to eventually fetch more profit through sale of their merchandise to other nations across the seas.
Brock, F. “How Pre-Industrial Era English and Dutch Trade Influenced Social Change,”
University of Massachusetts, https://www1.umassd.edu/euro/2007papers/brock.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2018.
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