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Industrial Revolution Timeline

History | 7-14 yrs | Interactive

What was the start of the industrial revolution?

Britain was the first country to experience modern industrialisation. Apart from the fact that Britain was well connected to Europe and rest of the discovered world, it also had ample supply of fuel and raw materials, like iron and labour from increasing population, especially in cities.

Coal played a very important part in the Industrial Revolution because most machines were powered by it, but the burning of coal intensified air pollution in the cities. Now let us come to iron!

The industrial revolution begins

At the beginning of the 18th Century, iron makers found a way to extract pure iron out of iron ore. Soon, industries started producing enough iron to make machines, water pipes, engines and rails etc. that were required for the development. The mass production of goods called for new methods of transportation. New roads and a system of canals carried products made in factories to markets all over the world. The process of spinning raw cotton into thread and weaving of thread into fabric completely revolutionized the textile industry.

Impact of the industrial revolution

Though the European countries were getting wealthier, the labourers who actually produced goods were living in deplorable conditions. As more and more people were flocking to the cities from villages in search of job opportunities, there was a gross dearth of accommodation. The workers were forced to live in small, dingy houses which also led to the spread of communicable diseases. Many people died because of fatal diseases like cholera, plague and typhoid. Small children of your age were also made to work in the factories. The working hours were long, salaries were very less and there were no holidays. The air was filled with black smoke from the factories chimneys and the pollution was at its peak causing huge damage to the environment.

Important inventions during the first industrial revolution and their inventors

James WattFirst Reliable Steam Engine1775
Samuel F. B. MorseTelegraph1836
Elias HoweSewing Machine1846
Isaac SingerImproves on Howe’s Sewing Machine1851
Werner von SiemensElectric Dynamo1866
John MacadamSafer roads with stones1820
James HargreavesSpinning Jenny1770
Samuel CromptonSpinning Machine1779

How many industrial revolutions have we had?


As we just read, the first industrial revolution spanned from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. It witnessed the appearance of mechanisation that replaced agriculture with industry. Non – renewable sources of energy like coal and iron were the heroes that facilitated this change. Important events were the invention of the steam engine, development of railroads, acceleration of trade, and birth of the first factories and cities as we know them today.


At the end of the 19th century, new sources of energy like electricity, gas and oil surfaced and initiated the second industrial revolution. The steel industry began to develop and grow. Chemical synthesis also developed and introduced us to different synthetic fabrics, dyes and fertilizers. The invention of better means of communication like the telegraph, the telephone and advanced means of transportation like automobiles and planes also came into existence.


In the latter half of the 20th century, a third industrial revolution appeared with the advent of nuclear energy. This revolution saw the rise of electronics such as transistors and microprocessors, and computers. The modernisation of technology led to the production of miniaturised material which played an important part in furthering space research and biotechnology.


The fourth industrial revolution is taking place before our eyes. Its origin lies in the emergence of the Internet which has helped us to create a new virtual world from which we can manoeuvre the physical world. There is a growing concern about the environment and factories of tomorrow will hopefully be powered by renewable sources of energy such as wind, sun and geothermal energy. That would be great, right?

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