The Industrial Revolution: Crash Course History of Science #21

The Industrial Revolution: Crash Course History of Science #21


You probably know some of the signs of industrialization
in the nineteenth century: Trains connected cities, symbolizing progress. But they also brought about the destruction
of rural lands, divisions between social classes, and rapid urbanization. Clocks, meanwhile, became technologies of
standardization: They created a universal time, as opposed to a local “sun time.” But clocks were also technologies of control,
ushering in new relationships between owners and workers, and governors and the governed. Not that life was great before clocks… feudalism was also really unpleasant. And factories appeared, creating new goods,
new classes of owners and laborers, and new environmental problems. And communications technologies, starting
with the telegraph, made the world smaller. Like the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial
Revolution is a trope—one about changes to technical systems that began in England
in the late 1700s. Some historians call this the First Industrial
Revolution, and the changes that happened in the United States a century later, the
Second Industrial Revolution. No matter what you call it, a revolution started
with coal, iron, and textiles in the 1700s. By 1800, industrialization was still pretty
limited, even in England. But by 1900, industrialization had transformed
the world. [Intro Music Plays] So, what allowed the Industrial Revolution to take off in England? One reason was social stability. A period of peace followed the unification
of England and Scotland. And both enjoyed a strong rule of law and
a free market. Another reason was a population boom. Industrialization required a large pool of
labor to staff the new factories. The population grew thanks in part to what
some historians call the British Agricultural Revolution or the Second Agricultural Revolution—the
first being the invention of farming itself. From the mid-1700s to the mid-1800s, farms
changed rapidly, growing larger as common land became enclosed. And farmers started using an improved crop
rotation plan to get more of out of their land—big ups to my dudes, turnips and clover! Yields went up, resulting in fewer farmers
being needed—and, eventually, more people looking for work in towns. But technologically speaking, the Industrial
Revolution happened thanks to coal. Burning coal produced the high temperature
necessary to smelt iron. Coal burned more efficiently than charcoal. And unlike charcoal, the coal supply wasn’t
limited by the size of a region’s forests. So coal became the source of heat for the
steam engine. The steam engine is a reminder that a revolutionary
technology often isn’t one new invention, but a process of improving existing ones. Two earlier scientists came up with ideas
for steam engines powered by … gunpowder. One was Dutch natural philosopher Christiaan
Huygens, who’s famous for many things, including the pendulum
clock. The other was Dutch–Swiss mathematician
Daniel Bernoulli, famous for his work in fluid dynamics. But neither of these gunpowder engines really
took off. Though they may have *explosion sound* in that way. ThoughtBubble, show us how the steam engine
became a reality: In 1698, English engineer Thomas Savery
patented the first workable steam pump, which he called the “Miner’s Friend, or
an Engine th Raise Water by Fire.” It was made to pull water up out of coal mines,
so you can see that industrialization was linked to the quest for fossil fuels from
the very beginning. This “miner’s friend” worked by boiling
steam and then cooling it to create a partial vacuum, which then drew the water out of the
mine. It had no moving parts, but it also broke
down a lot and was super dangerous. So historians usually give the props for the
first steam engine to English preacher and engineer Thomas Newcomen, whose “atmospheric
engine” was economically practical. Note, this was in 1712, well before the Industrial
Revolution! Newcomen’s engine was not very efficient—but
it didn’t have to be. It ran on coal, but it was used at coal mines,
so they had plenty of coal. His engine worked by using a boiler to heat
the air inside a cylinder. A valve then sprayed cold water into the cylinder,
creating steam and a partial vacuum, which pulled a piston down through the cylinder. Then the process repeated, heat the cylinder, condense steam, this moved the piston up and down, which
also moved an attached beam, which pumped water up from the mine. Savery’s engines didn’t go away when Newcomen’s
design hit the market, by the way, because Newcomen’s engines had to be pretty big. Smaller operations were happy with Savery’s
version. This overlap of older, less efficient and
newer, more efficient models would continue… and still does today. But in 1781, Scottish chemist and engineer
James Watt improved the work of Newcomen. Watt added a new chamber called a separate
condenser where the steam could be collected without affecting the heat of the cylinder. This made Newcomen’s design more cost-effective
and doubled its efficiency by reducing wasted energy. Later, Watt tweaked his design again so that
it could generate rotary motion, which made it way more useful than a mere water pump. Watt then teamed up with a Birmingham manufacturer,
Matthew Boulton, to produce his engine on a large scale. Thanks ThoughtBubble.
The steam engine became the workhorse of the Industrial Revolution. In a matter of decades, steam-powered machines
such as trains reshaped much of England. But steam wasn’t the only new technē around. If the seventeenth century was the century
of science, and the eighteenth was the century of philosophy, then the nineteenth century
was the century of engineering. One critical development in engineering was
precision manufacturing. For the first time, tool systems like lathes
and milling machines worked with high precision. Precision manufacturing enabled the production
of interchangeable parts at scale. The concept of interchangeable parts actually
originated in the United States, and was called the American system of manufacturing. We did something
This system arose shortly after Watt’s engine, at sites such as the Springfield Armory in
Massachusetts, because the US government wanted to be able to quickly repair muskets on the
field during war. Eventually, the American system allowed unskilled
workers to make large quantities of guns quickly. Together, precision manufacturing and interchangeable
parts allowed for people to replace only part of a machine, not make a whole new one. This lead to a machine revolution that changed
every stage of manufacturing in the textile, iron, printing, papermaking, and other industries. So the combination of all of these developments—bigger
farms, plentiful coal, miners to dig it up, steam engines, trains to move materials, and
precision machines—led to many new technologies. For example, the first iron-hulled gunboat,
the Nemesis, was built in 1839 for the British East India Company. Some iron warships called “dreadnoughts,”
and paddle-powered “steamers” were built in the mid-1800s. But steamships didn’t become common until
the 1870s. Communication was also transformed for many
people by the development of telegraphy, or sending messages over long distances using
electrical signals. Synthetic chemicals also appeared in the mid-1800s. William Henry Perkin developed the first synthetic
dye, a shade of purple known as mauveine, in 1856. And the mid-1800s also saw the rise of machines
in agriculture, both for plowing fields and harvesting crops. Then, of course, in the 1880s, inventors introduced
electrical light to a murky, gas-lighted world—but we’ll have a separate episode on all that. Cool new gizmos aside, the enormous wealth
concentrated in cities, and their dense populations, led to a whole new scale of construction of
old technologies, like bridges. Around 1800, the Port of London decided it
needed another bridge across the River Thames. Lots of folks submitted proposals, including
the famous engineer Thomas Telford, who designed a single cast-iron arch with a span of six
hundred feet.v Cast-iron bridges were a brand new thing, so there
were no technē, or experience-based standards for determining if any given design would
actually work. Likewise, there was no epistēmē, or theoretical
science, relevant to this scale. Universities didn’t even have engineering
professors yet! So Parliament created two committees to solve
the bridge problem, one consisting of mathematicians and natural scientists, and the other of practicing
builders. The upshot: neither group could figure out
how to scientifically determine if a given bridge design would work, just by looking
at the plan! Instead, some really good silliness ensued. The Astronomer Royal suggested that the bridge
be needed to be painted white, so its strength wouldn’t be affected by the sun. Meanwhile, the Pavilion Professor of Geometry
was able to calculate the length of the proposed bridge down to one ten-millionth of an inch,
and its weight to one thousandth of an ounce. But he couldn’t determine if it would actually
be stable. So what I’m getting at is, the Industrial
Revolution was sometimes not very revolutionary-looking. Now, what were the social effects of the Industrial
Revolution? Before the early nineteenth century, most
finished goods were made in small batches in the so-called cottage system, where craftspeople,
including women, worked at home. But, by 1800, the capital generated by cottage industries became the foundation for factories. And factories offered lots of advantages
over a rural cottage—namely, production could be mechanized and centralized, to make
things more quickly for less money. And the introduction of interchangeable parts
meant that, instead of one skilled craftsman making one musket, several people could work
on different parts of it. So, crafts went from being unique to being
mass-produced. And if production changed, you know that labor
was bound to change, too. As industrialization took off, labor went
from being seasonally based to being based on clock time. Factory work started early in the morning
and stopped late at night. Laborers worked in shifts and were fined if
they didn’t keep pace. And as a result of all these changes in the
labor force, the whole idea of class also changed. Before the Industrial Revolution, your lot
in life was determined by birth. But industrialization led to a new view of
society where classes were tied not to nobility but to money. Which raised the possibility of class mobility. In fact, the Industrial Revolution produced a whole new middle class of non-noble property owners. The middle class became both the chief producer
and consumer of factory products. And most of the early factory owners were
middle-class entrepreneurs. The working classes on the other hand often worked in crowded, unsanitary facilities. Poor draining of sewage gave rise to a host
of new hygienic problems, especially outbreaks of typhus and cholera. In the 1800s, epidemics of cholera killed
at least 140,000 people in Britain, mostly the poor. And the urban poor weren’t the only people
affected by the industrial revolution. The burning of so much coal, so quickly left
behind a literal mark in the earth’s geohistory. Today, many earth scientists agree that we
are actually living in a new geological epoch due to human alterations of the earth. Earth scientists have proposed a name for
the new epoch—the Anthropocene, the “age of man.” We’ll come back to this, too. So the Industrial Revolution is indeed a trope—a
useful, if reductive, shorthand for this period in history. But it’s hard to argue with the fact that,
in many ways, for at least some people, it was truly revolutionary. Industrialization increased the standard of
living for many and led to sustained economic growth. But it also led to environmental degradation,
harsh working conditions, and the Anthropocene itself. But before we move on from the early 1800s,
there’s one more scientific revolution we’ll want to to explore. Next time—we’ll travel around the world
twice with the first modern biologists: Chuck Darwin and Al Wallace. Only the fittest will survive! Crash Course History of Science is filmed
in the Dr. Cheryl C. Kinney studio in Missoula, Montana and it’s made with the help of all
this nice people and our animation team is Thought Cafe. Crash Course is a Complexly production. If you wanna keep imagining the world complexly
with us, you can check out some of our other channels like The Financial Diet, The Art
Assignment, and Healthcare Triage. And, if you’d like to keep Crash Course
free for everybody, forever, you can support the series at Patreon; a crowdfunding platform
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Crash Course possible with their continued support.

100 thoughts on “The Industrial Revolution: Crash Course History of Science #21

  1. The industrial revolution started the commercialization of rural land. That's why a lot of farmland in the U.S. are owned by private companies.

  2. There are a whole bunch of issues with the way you breezed over agriculture. For instance, while the old system of the commons was indeed change agricultural yields in England, it wasn't England's agricultural output that fed the UK, but Ireland's, which was purposely kept from industrialising, except for the area around Belfast. The consequences of that are also still felt to this day.

  3. Mauveine, the first synthetic dye, was a big deal because it was purple.

    Purple was extremely expensive before Mauveine, to the point that it was pretty much restricted to the nobility and the Church. Before, the most common suitable dye came from sea snails. That rare dye, Tyrian purple (known as the 'royal purple'), could be so concentrated from a color standpoint that the modern RGB scale used for web pages cannot accurately display it.

  4. The Industrial Revolution AKA capitalism hits puberty, and doesn’t believe in consent AKA the beginning of the end.

    Edit: very generous explanation of the class effects of industrial revolution.. You make pre-IR sound too grim and hopeless, and post-IR sound too hopeful, as if class mobility was something highly accessible like it became in the mid 20th century.. Sure, there was a wider emergence of what we’ve come to call the middle class, but the wealth gap exploded like never before, and a majority of folks were part of a very poor working class. No mention of the countless professions that many proud people had been a part of for millennia, which vanished over night when machinery replaced their craftsmanship. This isn’t just the perspective of Marx, it featured prominently in many of JS Mill’s essays, and was even foreshadowed by Adam Smith. By the 1860’s the wage labor brought on by the IR was seen as a form of slavery, and it was even a republican cause to abolish “wage slavery” (crazy I know, the Reps were quite different in those days). Basically all liberal philosophers were a part of “new liberalism” (later known as social liberalism) by the later 19th century, believing that the state should ensure better living standards via social programs (of course as far back as T. Paine this was advocated for, but that was radical in his time). The Industrial Revolution remains one of the biggest two edged swords in human history, which you do at least give a nod to..

    I digress. Sorry to go off, but if you’re going to honestly talk about the social implications and effects of the IR, you really ought to mention the massively expanded wealth gap and the severe poverty that it caused, not just gloss over it.. ✌🏼

  5. The (American) Industrial Revolution was one of the reasons for the Civil War, in that it made slaves less necessary and the idea of slavery less "fashionable" (at least, to Northerners.) It is also one of the reasons why the North won the War. (Better technology, infrastructure, and material production.)

  6. The Dreadnought class was not built until Admiral Sir Jackie Fisher's Dreadnought of 1904, the predecessor ships were generally classed as 'Ironclads'

  7. One (social) aspect you really ought to go into is how unlimited ,capitalist, industrial production came about since production was so severely restricted by the guilds. How did the guilds lose control?

  8. If only modern devices would make better use of interchangeable parts, a *NINETEENTH CENTURY CENTURY TECHNOLOGY*, in their repairs…

    "Oh, your screen is cracked? Might as well get a new phone, since the screen costs half as much on its own to replace."

    ____

  9. "Less people needed to be farmers and went to the cities looking for work" is a funny way to say "People were kicked off their land which allowed them to be self-sufficient so they had to rent out their labor in order to survive"

  10. Interchangeable parts for industry the US made, but more generally China and other Asian countries used the idea for centuries earlier for buildings.

  11. Could there be a trigger warning about the term Anthropocene? I identifiy as libertarian/carnivore/transhumanist and this term is an insult to me!

  12. This episode felt a bit rushed. Industrial revolution is the historical process that changed the world and you basically flew over it.

  13. So many people in this comment section want a crash course about topic "X"…. Well, here is mine: Crash Course Public Transport. History, technology, modes, concepts, dead ends, economics, operation, environment, politics and sustainibility of public transport. There you have it.

  14. The Industrial Revolution not only streamlined the production process through the factory system and led to the explosive growth of the middle class but also changed the way people in Europe and North America viewed science and the notion of invention. Europeans essentially "invented" the idea of the invention during the 1800s. Entrepreneurs and scientists constantly tried to invent to devices, improve the designs of machines and advance general scientific knowledge to increase profit margins and improve standards of living. In the 1800s, people also became accustomed to the idea inventions and scientific discoveries would continue to advance and improve peoples' lived in the future. Although they did not know exactly how scientific advancements would pan out over time, by 1800 the smartest westerners new technology would transform the world and make the future different and better than the past. Shortly after the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin noted that he wished he'd been born 200 or 300 years in the future because machines, technology and scientific discoveries would have utterly transformed the world for the better. Many other European and American mathematicians, scientists, inventors and intellectuals shared this notion of a future transformed by technology for the better. This had never occurred before in history and is the paradigm shift that made the Industrial Revolution the most significant event in world history since the Neolithic Revolution and the dawn of recorded history. It is no coincidence that the 1800s is also the century that witnessed the dawn of science fiction as a genre that exemplified this newfound notion of a future made better by technology. The Romans were great engineers and actually invented the steam engine but lacked a way of thinking about the future that allowed them initiate an industrial revolution and transform the world through machines.

  15. Hello team CrashCourse, I am a keen viewer of your videos and find them very interesting and full of knowledge but I want to say (complain about) two things :- 1. Why do you speak so fast? Not everyone among your audience is from a English speaking nation. Consider foreigners as well. Sometimes it's very difficult to understand what the host speaks. And 2. You don't give enough time to read the cards/messages that pop up during the video. Please give appropriate time for that. I hope you will consider this sincere request. Thank You. A fan from India.

  16. Painting large structures white to reduce the effects of solar heating isn't silly. It's something that's done quite often, because it works.

  17. So excited to see what they think of the 18th century Biologists, I really hope that yall talk about Alexander von Humboldt! He is so underappreciated in the world of science!

  18. I love this series so much, but please learn to pronounce the names of the scientists correctly! Huygens is pronounced Hoy-gens and Bernoulli is Ber-noo-ee.

  19. The American system sounds suspiciously like the division of labour idea from Adam Smith. I'm not sure it was so revolutionary…

  20. I really dislike this first and second industrial revolution trope. Because it ignores the massive contributions many countries other than england and the US did to the process. The germans outstripped british industrialisation before the americans did, and there were Swedish engineers pushing the boundaries of steam engines and trains.

  21. I love all of Crash Course, but this has been one of my favorite episodes of all time. Thank you, as a high school teacher, for all that you do!

  22. Why do you call the Industrial Revolution a “trope”? Almost sounds like you don’t think it was really a revolution, when to me it was the BIGGEST revolution. Great video otherwise.

  23. 11:51 Am I the only one bothered by the fact that "all of these nice people" has suddenly changed to "these people"? Who's not being nice to Hank?? Be nice people!

  24. Correction for 7:04 Dreadnoughts weren't a thing until the 20th century with the launch of the HMS Dreadnought in 1906. You're probably thinking of Ironclads. There were ships named HMS Dreadnought before this but none represented the same revolutionary break in naval warfare as the HMS Dreadnought did.

  25. It's a shame you skipped the ancestry of the steam engine. The ancient eolipyle used steam, but was just a curiosity until scientists got to understand pressure, develop tools to handle it, which set the scene for Savery's and later engines: first Torricelli understood the role of air pressure, then Pascal tested it by climbing up mountains and church towers with a column of mercury in hand – evaluating the size of the atmosphere in the process. Von Guericke, following them, built an air pump and tested it spectacularly. Robert Boyle improved that pump to study gases, and Denis Papin, experimenting for him, got the idea of the pressure cooker. Finally, looking to something safer than gunpowder to run engines, Papin made the first piston in 1690. 8 years later the savery engine was patented.
    The story is interesting IMO because (1) it brings to light key people that didn't make it to your series so far (Pascal! Boyle!); (2) it shows (again) that science is not national: this story travels from Italy to France to England with power and prosperity. (3) it shows the importance of the royal society, which employed Boyle and Papin (Papin had to leave France because of his religion), and set challenges like pumping water out of mines.

  26. Industrial revolution and relativily open markets reduced poverty drastically. You don't mention that coz you re a leftist.

  27. Silly video- the non conformist protestant faith was the key. The protestant work ethic and individual response to a knowable loving just God who was created order. Not left wing nonsense trying to masquerade as science

  28. These Industrial revolution's process began in British on 18th century and from there it became spread widily to the other parts of the world. Industrial revolution made the lives of humans easier and the development growth of economy. But it sad to say, that it has negative impact in our environment. That mostly most of us didn't see and care about the negative effects in our environmentand when it comes to our mother earth. I hope we can less using factories that can destroy the mother earth.

  29. I thought Europe had an agricultural revolution in medieval times, when they finally bread horses big enough to pull a plough?

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