4 Amazing Less-Known Facts About the Industrial Revolution

The industrial revolution was a pivotal period of western history. It affected almost every aspect of life and changed the world forever. It laid the foundations for social and cultural alterations, as well as for numerous technological and economical advancements. Here are four little known facts about one of mankind’s most important eras.

London During the Industrial Revolution
1. The Industrial Revolution Started in Britain

The industrial revolution commenced in Britain during the mid-18th century. At the time, Britain was the world’s leading commercial nation and the industrial revolution further fuelled its imperialist ambitions. It made it the most powerful country in the world and led to the creation of the biggest empire in history. At its peak, Britain owned nearly 25% of Earth’s land surface.

Map of the British Empire at its Peak2. The World’s First Modern Factory Was a Cotton Spinning Mill

Richard Arkwright established the world’s first modern factory in 1771. The water-powered mill was located in the village of Cromford in Derbyshire. It had 200 employees and worked day and night with two 12-hour shifts. Most of the workers were migrants, which forced Arkwright to build housing for them nearby. Today, the mill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public.

The Cromford Water-Powered Cotton Spinning Mill

3. Britain Opened Its First Railway Line in 1825

Britain’s first railroad was built by the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company. It ran for 25 miles and linked collieries near Shildon with the towns of Darlington and Stockton-on Tees.

Painting of Britain’s First Railroad by John Dobbin

4. The term “Industrial Revolution” Was Popularized in 1881

The term “industrial revolution” was first mentioned during the late 19th century. In 1844, Friedrich Engels, the co-founder of the Marxist theory, used it in his book “The Condition of the Working Class in England”. However, it was economic historian Arnold Toynbee who popularized the term by using it prominently during his 1881 lectures on Britain’s economic development.

The industrial revolution propelled the world into a new era that led to numerous discoveries. Without it, we wouldn’t have the many comforts that we have today.