Posted: November 28th, 2013
Factory in the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution marked Europe and America’s transition from an agrarian to an industrial society. This great change occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries. It affected the social, economic and technological aspects of the society. The factories played an important role in the conversion of the rural societies to urban societies. Factories are considered both the symbol and means through which industrial revolution came to be.
The driving force behind the Industrial Revolution was the need to convert the society into an industrial economy. Factories changed the structure of economies through the introduction of mass production of goods and hiring of mass labour. Mass production of goods earned large revenues for the states that implemented the factory system. The mass hiring of labour led to rural to urban migration. Citizens were moving to the urban regions where the factories were located in search for jobs. Many arguments of development theorists suggest that for an industrial economy to be established, the traditional structures of production need to be done away with. The migration of employees to the urban centers increased the use of technology in the production process. Factories provided a channel through which technology could be invented and used.
The rise of new machinery made the factory system feasible. Large capital was needed to open up a factory. The late and early eighteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively saw the introduction of new machines in the textile industry. The machines encouraged mass production that was not supported by the domestic work system. This was because of the size large of the machines used and the many laborers that were needed. This led to the introduction of the factory system. Some of the technological inventions that established the factory system were the steam engine, the Cotton Gin and Spinning Mule.
The existence of capital made the factory system possible. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain where there was an expansion in trade. The expansion in trade was caused by the increase in demand for goods. The returns from the trade made it possible to purchase the necessary machinery and hire labour that was needed in the factories. English traders were prominent for their skill in trade and largely contributed to factory expansion.
Factories during the period of Industrial Revolution had a major influence in the lives of the workers. The factories made a visible distinction between the home and work set up. This was contrary to the previous domestic work system that integrated the home and work set up. The concept of child labour became rampant in the society. The factory system converted the lives of children to be like those of adult workers. The children were engaged in hard labour and were expected to obey orders diligently. They were also exposed to great health hazards. This was because purchase of the safety guard required for the protection of employees would mean extra costs for the factory owners.
The factories altered the roles of men and women in the family set up. Married women devoted long hours into the factories in order to provide for their families. This was rather unheard of in the traditional English culture. The conditions that women were exposed to affected their psychological make up. The child labour that was rampant during the period of Industrial Revolution molded the convictions of the women to adapt more readily to being full time mothers. The atrocities exposed to children awakened the protective dimensions of women.
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