Monday, July 28, 2014

The Second Stage (1830-1870) of Industrial Revolution

(A) Coming of the Age of Railways -

Important technological inventions took place in the second stage of the Industrial Revolution. These inventions and innovations provided further impetus to the Industrial Revolution.

The most remarkable thing to happen in this stage was the invention of railways. George Stephenson has been described as the inventor and founder of railways. Of course, the path was shown by Watt’s invention of steam-engine. Stephenson's triumph was the building of the Manchester-Liverpool line, began in 1826 and successfully opened in 1830. It was such a grand success that railway construction began on a large scale. By 1843 London had been linked by rail with Dover, Brighton, Lancaster, Birmingham, Bristol and York. Parliament passed the Railway Act in 1844 which further boosted the expansion of railways. Like father George Stephenson, son Robert Stephenson became famous by construction of railway bridges. How fast was the railway expansion, can be gauged from the fact that for their own economic interest the British introduced it even in India as early as 1853. So, railways, on  the one hand, symbolized the Industrial Revolution, while it further hastened the same on the other.

(B) The Advent of Steel -

Another great thing to happen in this stage that would change the face of the industrial world was the invention of steel. Iron had some basic disadvantages: it rusted and lacked flexibility and strength. It was not durable. The effort to make better quality iron was going on in the late 18th century. This resulted in the making of steel. This was done by mixing manganese and lead with molten iron. The steel thus produced was strong, rust-free, flexible and durable. Production of steel began on a large scale with the innovation of Henry Bessemer’s blast furnace method of manufacturing steel in 1856. Another important step was taken with the coming of the improved version of the blast furnace method, improvised by John Siemens in 1867. The process of improvement in the quality of steel continued in the rest of the 19th and 20th centuries. Steel began to replace iron in several spheres of industry. Machines began to be manufactured with steel.

(C) Improvement in Transport and Communication -

Steel provided the causes for further developments in various spheres of transport. Rail-roads and rail-bridges began to be constructed with steel. Steel was also used in building ships. Large ships began to be constructed. One of the most famous of the early ships was the gigantic ‘Great Eastern’, built in 1858, having a length of 700 feet. It carried cargo as well as passengers, and was also used as a cable-laying ship.

Tremendous strides were made in the field of communication with the invention of cable and telegraph in this period. Cable lines were laid across the oceans in the 1850s which made communication fast and efficient. Cable communication between India and Britain was introduced.

The coming of railways also marked a revolutionary change in postal service. In the 1840s railways began to carry mails between the towns and cities thus replacing the mail coaches.

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