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Growth of science and technology 1700 1740

The Industrial Revolution 1750—1900 The term Industrial Revolution, like similar historical concepts, is more convenient than precise. It is convenient because history requires division into periods for purposes of understanding and instruction and because there were sufficient innovations at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries to justify the choice of this as one of the periods.

The term is imprecise, however, because the Industrial Revolution has no clearly defined beginning or end. The term Industrial Revolution must thus be employed with some care. It is used below to describe an extraordinary quickening in the rate of growth and change and, more particularly, to describe the first 150 years of this period of time, as it will be convenient to pursue the developments of the 20th century separately.

The Industrial Revolution, in this sense, has been a worldwide phenomenon, at least in so far as it has occurred in all those parts of the world, of which there are very few exceptions, where the influence of Western civilization has been felt.

Beyond any doubt it occurred first in Britain, and its effects spread only gradually to continental Europe and North America. Equally clearly, the Industrial Revolution that eventually transformed these parts of the Western world surpassed in magnitude the achievements of Britain, and the process was carried further to change radically the socioeconomic life of Asia, Africa, Latin Americaand Australasia.

The reasons for this succession of events are complex, but they were implicit in the earlier account of the buildup toward rapid industrialization. Partly through good fortune and partly through conscious effort, Britain by the early 18th century came to possess the combination of social needs and social resources that provided the necessary preconditions of commercially successful innovation and a social system capable of sustaining and institutionalizing the processes growth of science and technology 1700 1740 rapid technological change once they had started.

This section will therefore be concerned, in the first place, with events in Britain, although in discussing later phases of the period it will be necessary to trace the way in which British technical achievements were diffused and superseded in other parts of the Western world. Power technology An outstanding feature of the Industrial Revolution has been the advance in power technology.

Science and Technology

At the beginning of growth of science and technology 1700 1740 period, the major sources of power available to industry and any other potential consumer were animate energy and the power of wind and water, the only exception of any significance being the atmospheric steam engines that had been installed for pumping purposes, mainly in coal mines. It is to be emphasized that this use of steam power was exceptional and remained so for most industrial purposes until well into the 19th century.

Steam did not simply replace other sources of power: The same sort of scientific inquiry that led to the development of the steam engine was also applied to the traditional sources of inanimate energy, with the result that both waterwheels and windmills were improved in design and efficiency.

Numerous engineers contributed to the refinement of waterwheel constructionand by the middle of the 19th century new designs made possible increases in the speed of revolution of the waterwheel and thus prepared the way for the emergence of the water turbine, which is still an extremely efficient device for converting energy.

Windmills Meanwhile, British windmill construction was improved considerably by the refinements of sails and by the self-correcting device of the fantail, which kept the sails pointed into the wind. Spring sails replaced the traditional canvas rig of the windmill with the equivalent of a modern venetian blind, the shutters of which could be opened or closed, to let the wind pass through or to provide a surface upon which its pressure could be exerted.

In mills equipped with these sails, the shutters were controlled on all the sails simultaneously by a lever inside the mill connected by rod linkages through the windshaft with the bar operating the movement of the shutters on each sweep. The control could be made more fully automatic by hanging weights on the lever in the mill to determine the maximum wind pressure beyond which the shutters would open and spill the wind.

Conversely, counterweights could be attached to keep the shutters in the open position. With these and other modifications, British windmills adapted to the increasing demands on power technology.

But the use of wind power declined sharply in the 19th century with the spread of steam and the increasing scale of power utilization. Windmills that had satisfactorily provided power for small-scale industrial processes were unable to compete with the production of large-scale steam-powered mills. Steam engines Although the qualification regarding older sources of power is important, steam became the characteristic and ubiquitous power source of the British Industrial Revolution.

Little development took place in the Newcomen atmospheric engine until James Watt patented a separate condenser in 1769, but from that point onward the steam engine underwent almost continuous improvements for more than a century. By keeping the cylinder permanently hot and the condenser permanently cold, a great economy on energy used could be effected.

This brilliantly simple idea could not be immediately incorporated in a full-scale engine because the engineering of such machines had hitherto been crude and defective. The backing of a Birmingham industrialist, Matthew Boultonwith his resources of capital and technical competence, was needed to convert the idea into a commercial success. During the quarter of a century in which Boulton and Watt exercised their virtual monopoly over the manufacture of improved steam engines, they introduced many important refinements.

Basically they converted the engine from a single-acting i. The rotary action engine was quickly adopted by British textile manufacturer Sir Richard Arkwright for use in a cotton mill, and although the ill-fated Albion Mill, at growth of science and technology 1700 1740 southern end of Blackfriars Bridge in London, was burned down in 1791, when it had been in use for only five years and was still incomplete, it demonstrated the feasibility of applying steam power to large-scale grain milling.

Many other industries followed in exploring the possibilities of steam power, and it soon became widely used. This development came quickly once these patents lapsed in 1800. The Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick introduced higher steam pressuresachieving an unprecedented pressure of 145 pounds per square inch 10 kilograms per square centimetre in 1802 with an experimental engine at Coalbrookdale, which worked safely and efficiently.

Almost simultaneously, the versatile American engineer Oliver Evans built the first high-pressure steam engine in the United States, using, like Trevithick, a cylindrical boiler with an internal fire plate and flue. Trevithick quickly applied his engine to a vehicle, making the first successful steam locomotive for the Penydarren tramroad in South Wales in 1804.

The success, however, was technological rather than commercial because the locomotive fractured the cast iron track of the tramway: Meanwhile, the stationary steam engine advanced steadily to meet an ever-widening market of industrial requirements.

High-pressure steam led to the development of the large beam pumping engines with a complex sequence of valve actions, which became universally known as Cornish engines ; their distinctive characteristic was the cutoff of steam injection before the stroke was complete in order to allow the steam to do work by expanding.

These engines were used all over the world for heavy pumping duties, often being shipped out and installed by Cornish engineers. Trevithick himself spent many years improving pumping engines in Latin America. Cornish engines, however, were probably most common in Cornwall itself, where they were used in large numbers in the tin and copper mining industries.

Another consequence of high-pressure steam was the practice of compoundingof using the steam twice or more at descending pressures before it was finally condensed or exhausted. The technique was first applied by Arthur Woolf, a Cornish mining engineer, who by 1811 had produced a very satisfactory and efficient compound beam engine with a high-pressure cylinder placed alongside the low-pressure cylinder, with both piston rods attached to the same pin of the parallel motion, which was a parallelogram of rods connecting the piston to the beam, patented by Watt in 1784.

In 1845 John McNaught introduced an alternative form of compound beam engine, with the high-pressure cylinder on the opposite end of the beam from the low-pressure cylinder, and working with a shorter stroke.

This became a very popular design. Various other methods of compounding steam engines were adopted, and the practice became increasingly widespread; in the second half of the 19th century triple- or quadruple-expansion engines were being used in industry and marine propulsion. By this time also the conventional beam-type vertical engine adopted by Newcomen and retained by Watt began to be replaced by horizontal-cylinder designs.

Beam engines remained in use for some purposes until the eclipse of the reciprocating steam engine in the 20th century, and other types of vertical engine remained popular, but for both large and small duties the engine designs with horizontal cylinders became by far the most common.

A demand for power to generate electricity stimulated new thinking about the steam engine in the 1880s. The problem was that of achieving a sufficiently high rotational speed to make the dynamos function efficiently. Such speeds were beyond the range of the normal reciprocating engine i. Designers began to investigate the possibilities of radical modifications to the reciprocating engine to achieve the speeds growth of science and technology 1700 1740, or of devising a steam engine working on a completely different principle.

In the first category, one solution was to enclose the working parts of the engine and force a lubricant around them under pressure. The Willans engine design, for instance, was of this type and was widely adopted in early British power stations. Another important modification in the reciprocating design was the uniflow engine, which increased efficiency by exhausting steam from ports in the centre of the cylinder instead of requiring it to change its direction of flow in the cylinder with every movement of the piston.

Full success in achieving a high-speed steam engine, however, depended on the steam turbinea design of such novelty that it constituted a major technological innovation.

  • Fox Talbot adopted silver compounds to give light sensitivity, and the technique developed rapidly in the middle decades of the century;
  • The technique was first applied by Arthur Woolf, a Cornish mining engineer, who by 1811 had produced a very satisfactory and efficient compound beam engine with a high-pressure cylinder placed alongside the low-pressure cylinder, with both piston rods attached to the same pin of the parallel motion, which was a parallelogram of rods connecting the piston to the beam, patented by Watt in 1784.

This was invented by Sir Charles Parsons in 1884. By passing steam through the blades of a series of rotors of gradually increasing size to allow for the expansion of the steam the energy of the steam was converted to very rapid circular motion, which was ideal for generating electricity.

  • It is to be emphasized that this use of steam power was exceptional and remained so for most industrial purposes until well into the 19th century;
  • Low-grade ores The transition to cheap steel did not take place without technical problems, one of the most difficult of which was the fact that most of the easily available low-grade iron ores in the world contain a proportion of phosphorus, which proved difficult to eliminate but which ruined any steel produced from them;
  • The other important fuel for the new prime movers was petroleum, and the rapid expansion of its production has already been mentioned;
  • Locomotives increased rapidly in size and power, but the essential principles remained the same as those established by the Stephensons in the early 1830s:

Many refinements have since been made in turbine construction and the size of turbines has been vastly increased, but the basic principles remain the same, and this method still provides the main source of electric power except in those areas in which the mountainous terrain permits the economic generation of hydroelectric power by water turbines.

Even the most modern nuclear power plants use steam turbines because technology has not yet solved the problem of transforming nuclear energy directly into electricity. In marine propulsion, too, the steam turbine remains an important source of power despite competition from the internal-combustion engine. Electricity The development of electricity as a source of power preceded this conjunction with steam power late in the 19th century.

The pioneering work had been done by an international collection of scientists including Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Alessandro Volta of the University of Pavia, Italy, and Michael Faraday of Britain.

It was the latter who had demonstrated the nature of the elusive relationship between electricity and magnetism in 1831, and his experiments provided the point of departure for both the mechanical generation of electric currentpreviously available only from chemical reactions within voltaic piles or batteries, and the utilization of such current in electric motors.

Both the mechanical generator and the motor depend on the rotation of a continuous coil of conducting wire between the poles of a strong magnet: Both generators and motors underwent substantial development in growth of science and technology 1700 1740 middle decades of the 19th century.

  • The development of the spinning wheel into the spinning jenny , and the use of rollers and moving trolleys to mechanize spinning in the shape of the frame and the mule, respectively, initiated a drastic rise in the productivity of the industry;
  • Lighting was normally provided by a fishtail jet of burning gas, but under the stimulus of competition from electric lighting the quality of gas lighting was greatly enhanced by the invention of the gas mantle;
  • An important by-product of the expanding chemical industry was the manufacture of a widening range of medicinal and pharmaceutical materials as medical knowledge increased and drugs began to play a constructive part in therapy;
  • Drake bored successfully through 69 feet 21 metres of rock to strike oil in Pennsylvania, thus inaugurating the search for and exploitation of the deep oil resources of the world.

In particular, French, German, Belgian, and Swiss engineers evolved the most satisfactory forms of armature the coil of wire and produced the dynamo, which made the large-scale generation of electricity commercially feasible. The next problem was that of finding a market.

In Britain, with its now well-established tradition of steam power, coal, and coal gassuch a market was not immediately obvious. But in continental Europe and North America there was more scope for experiment.

  1. The iron bell or caisson was introduced for working below water level in order to lay foundations for bridges or other structures, and bridge building made great advances with the perfecting of the suspension bridge—by the British engineers Thomas Telford and Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the German American engineer John Roebling —and the development of the truss bridge, first in timber, then in iron.
  2. Coal gas had first been used for lighting by William Murdock at his home in Redruth, Cornwall, where he was the agent for the Boulton and Watt company, in 1792.
  3. Daguerre and the Englishman W. The steam traction engine, which could be readily adapted from road haulage to power farm machines, was nevertheless a distinguished product of 19th-century steam technology.
  4. Petroleum The economic potential for the internal-combustion engine lay in the need for a light locomotive engine. Again, it is apparent in the growth of professional associations for engineers and for other specialized groups of technologists.
  5. A similar engine was installed in the Glasgow-built Comet, which was put in service on the Clyde in 1812 and was the first successful steamship in Europe.

In the United States Thomas Edison applied his inventive genius to finding fresh uses for electricity, and his development of the carbon-filament lamp showed how this form of energy could rival gas as a domestic illuminant.

The problem had been that electricity had been used successfully for large installations such as lighthouses in which arc lamps had been powered by generators on the premisesbut no way of subdividing the electric light into many small units had been devised.

The principle of the filament lamp was that a thin conductor could be made incandescent by an electric current provided that it was sealed in a vacuum to keep it from burning out. Edison and the English chemist Sir Joseph Swan experimented with various materials for the filament and both chose carbon. The result was a highly successful small lamp, which could be varied in size for any sort of requirement. It is relevant that the success of the carbon-filament lamp did not immediately mean the supersession of gas lighting.

Coal gas had first been used for lighting by William Murdock at his home in Redruth, Cornwall, where he was the agent for the Boulton and Watt company, in 1792.

Steam engines

When he moved to the headquarters of the firm at Soho in Birmingham in 1798, Matthew Boulton authorized him to experiment in lighting the buildings there by gas, and gas lighting was subsequently adopted by firms and towns all over Britain in the first half of the 19th century.

Lighting was normally provided by a fishtail jet of burning gas, but under the stimulus of competition from electric lighting the quality of gas lighting was greatly enhanced by the invention of the gas mantle.

Thus improved, gas lighting remained popular for some forms of street lighting until the middle of the 20th century. Lighting alone could not provide an economical market for electricity because its use was confined to the hours of darkness.

Successful commercial generation depended upon the development of other uses for electricity, and particularly on electric traction. The popularity of urban electric tramways and the adoption of electric traction on subway systems such as the London Underground thus coincided with the widespread construction of generating equipment in the late 1880s and 1890s.

The subsequent spread of this form of energy is one of the most remarkable technological success stories of the 20th century, but most of the basic techniques of generation, distribution, and utilization had been mastered by the end of the 19th century. Internal-combustion engine Electricity does not constitute a prime mover, for however important it may be as a form of energy it has to be derived from a mechanical generator powered by water, steam, or internal combustion.

The internal-combustion engine is a prime mover, and it emerged in the 19th century as a result both of greater scientific understanding of the principles of thermodynamics and of a search by engineers for a substitute for steam power in certain circumstances.

In an internal-combustion engine the fuel is burned in the engine: The major problem was that of finding a suitable fuel, and the secondary problem was that of igniting the fuel in an enclosed space to produce an action that could be easily and quickly repeated. The first problem was solved in the mid-19th century by the introduction of town gas supplies, but the second problem proved more intractable as it was difficult to maintain ignition evenly.

It was modeled closely on a horizontal steam engine, with an explosive mixture of gas and air ignited by an electric spark on alternate sides of the piston when it was in midstroke position. Although technically satisfactory, the engine was expensive to operate, and it was not until the refinement introduced by the German inventor Nikolaus Otto in 1878 that the gas engine became a commercial success.

Otto adopted the four-stroke cycle of induction-compression-firing-exhaust that has been known by his name ever since. Gas engines became extensively used for small industrial establishments, which could thus dispense with the upkeep of a boiler necessary in any steam plant, however small.

Petroleum The economic potential for the internal-combustion engine lay in the need for a light locomotive engine. This could not be provided by the gas engine, depending on a piped supply of town gas, any more than by the steam engine, with its need for a cumbersome boiler; but, by using alternative fuels derived from oil, the internal-combustion engine took to wheels, with momentous consequences. Bituminous growth of science and technology 1700 1740 had been known in Southwest Asia from antiquity and had been worked for building material, illuminants, and medicinal products.