How Important Is Coal to Explain the English Industrial Revolution?

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Introduction……………………………………………p. 3

Main Body……………………………………………p.3-7

I.The importance of coal in the mechanization of the industry…………………………………………p.4

II.From the development of the industry to the development of international commerce through the improvement in transports.………………..p. 5

III.The relative importance of coal in the English Industrial Revolution…………………………..p. 7

Conclusion…………………………………………….p. 8

References…………………………………………….p. 9

The Industrial Revolution is a period that begins in the last 18th century and ends in the middle 19th century. It is a period of demographic increase, thanks in part to Agricultural revolution (end of the subsistence crisis) and the advances in medicine and hygiene. The pre-industrialization is also characterised by the flow of peasants to the cities and the increase of the rural population income. It is the change from the “domestic system” to the “factory system” that leads to socioeconomic, technological and cultural transformations of the human history. In the 1770s England was a high wage economy, what permitted the technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution. The most important innovation of the period is the steam engine that drove the process of industrialization and stimulated the economic growth of many countries. The steam engine is the most important but not the only innovation of the time, new energy sources, such as coal, also took an important part in the Industrial Revolution. In this essay we are going to try to answer to the question “How important is coal to explain the English Industrial Revolution?”, for that we are going to follow the following questions:

* What are the sectors involved in the Industrial Revolution? How important is coal in their development? * What is the link between coal and commerce?
* What about the Industrial Revolution without coal?

I.The importance of coal in the mechanization of the industry.

The industrial revolution born in a context of economic system expanding, and countries had to find ways to satisfy needs of population growing within the area. The rising demand of goods for a more and more refined population lead to particularly develop tow sectors: the textile sector, also called the “Leading sector”, and the steel and iron sector. The first one to be developed was the textile sector, Britain was one of the biggest producers of material of the world. The rising demand led to change from the “domestic system”, farmhouse production using simple tools or machines, to the “factory system”, using textile mill moved by hydraulic energy or steam engines, which its fuel was coal. The utilization of the steam engine in the textile sector was generalized by 1800s and permitted a production en masse as well as a decrease in the average costs. At the beginning of the 19th century Abraham Darby invented the way to do iron with coal instead of using wood. This innovation allowed improving the quality of the iron, as well as its production time (the combustion of coal was quicker). It substituted wood in agricultural tools, building’s structures, pieces of machines… iron became the star product of the period, the demand raised incredibly, what forced to increase the supply of coal. Another effect of the substitution of wood by coal was the construction of big factories near to the coal mines, especially in Midland. The generalization of the used of iron in all the sectors of the economy has obviously as a consequence the rise of the demand and the supply. In 1720 England produced 25.000 tons of iron, in 1796 125.000 tons and in 1850 2.500.000 tons. According to the professor Jesús Tapia Corral without the cheap iron of good quality produced from the implantation of coal it should be impossible to develop the Watt’s steam engine, the railway and the locomotive, the hull of the steam boats...

IRON PRODUCTION IN BRITAIN (THOUSANDS OF TONS)...
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