Industrial Revolution

   For many, many centuries most of the work of the world was done by hand. Men had tools, but they used their own muscles in working with them. Some two centuries ago a great change began. Machines began to take the place of workmen. This period of change is called the Industrial Revolution.
   The revolution started in England. It began with the spinning and weaving industry. Just before 1770 the spinning of yarn and the weaving of cloth were done in almost the same way in which they had been done for 3,000 years. In 1770 the spinning jenny was invented. With it one man could do the work of eight people.
   Soon there were better spinning ma­chines. Some were run by water power. Be­fore long there were looms run by water power. Then came the steam engine. A steam engine of a kind had been invented nearly 2,000 years earlier. But now James Watt invented one that could run other machines. The machines for spinning and weaving no longer had to be near streams. Steam engines could be used anywhere.

   The use of machines spread to other in­dustries. It spread to other countries.
   At first thought it would seem that every-one would be glad to have work made easy.
   But the coming of the machines put many men out of work. If one man with a big machine could do the work of 100 men, 99 men had to find some other way of earning a living. There were riots, and the work­men tried to destroy the machines that were taking their jobs away.
   Before the coming of the machine, many workers did their work at home. But big machines run by water power or steam en­gines could not be put in people's homes. Factories grew up. Tenement houses were built near the factories. The workers were crowded into these tenements.
   Another bad effect of the coming of the machine was the hiring of children as factory workers. Children could be paid less than grown people. It came to be common for children to work in factories for 12 to 14 hours a day. Many of these children were badly treated besides.
When a man worked in his own way, he was likely to take pride in his work. When he worked a machine, he could not follow his own ideas. Here was another bad effect of the coming of the machine.
There was, too, the danger of getting hurt with the machines. There was much more danger than with hand tools.
Some of these bad effects did not have to be. Much has been done to right them. There are now, for example, child labor laws that keep children from working in factories. There are laws that protect adult workers, too. Factory work today is very different from work in early factories.
   There were, of course, great benefits from the Industrial Revolution. The ma­chines meant the end of much back-breaking work. Manufactured goods, moreover, could be made much more cheaply and in much larger amounts than before. Things that only kings and queens could have in earlier times could be bought by almost anyone. And many of our comforts of today would not be possible at all without ma­chines. We could not, for instance, have electric lights if there were no big electric generators. No one would want to go back to the days before the Industrial Revolu­tion.