• Industrial Revolution, a term usually applied to the social and economic changes that mark the transition from a stable agricultural and commercial society to a modern industrial society relying on complex machinery rather than tools.major-inventions-of-industrial-revolution
  • Dramatic changes in the social and economic structure took place as inventions and technological innovations created the factory system of large-scale machine production and greater economic specialization, and as the laboring population, formerly employed predominantly in agriculture (in which production had also increased as a result of technological improvements), increasingly gathered in great urban factory centers


  • The Industrial Revolution has changed the face of nations, giving rise to urban centers requiring vast municipal services.
  • It created a specialized and interdependent economic life and made the urban worker more completely dependent on the will of the employer than the rural worker had been
  • The picture to the right shows several major inventions that were created during the Industrial Revolution. Are any of them still used today?

Economic Changes

  • As economic activities in many communities moved from agriculture to manufacturing, production shifted from its traditional locations in the home and the small workshop to factories.
  • Large portions of the population relocated from the countryside to the towns and cities where manufacturing centers were found.
  • The overall amount of goods and services produced expanded dramatically, and the proportion of capital invested per worker grew.
  • New groups of investors, business people, and managers took financial risks and reaped great rewards.

Consumer Demand

  • The existing system could not keep up with the demand of goods
  • More consumers had sufficient income to afford exotic goods such as cotton cloth and china
  • These were the rising “middle class”
  • Traders realized that if they could produce goods in greater quantity at a cheaper price, they could find more consumers and make a higher profit.

Multiplier Effect

  • Refers to the cycle of consumer demand, investment and innovations that drove the Industrial Revolution
  • Cycle works as follows: increased consumer demand prompts entrepreneurs to invest in machines to speed up production, and thereby increase profit
  • Faster production in one area of manufacturing prompts investment in another area. (example?)
  • Example: Faster methods of spinning cotton requires faster methods of weaving cloth
  • Profit from increase production used to invest further innovations and inventions
  • Multiplier effect caused Industrial Revolution to gather momentum and prompt new technologies
  • The cotton industry becomes the largest single employer of industrial labour, and cotton cloth became the most valued commodity in Britain’s export trade.
  • In the realm of technical innovations and in the number of people employed, the combination of coal, iron, and steam had an even greater multiplier effect than the cotton industry.
  • Impact would become visible in the 1830s and 1840s with the introduction of steam locomotion and the boom in railroad construction.
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


  1. Nice, it helped me a lot and made my work 10 times easier!
    The social impacts of the industrial revolution were quite vast.

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