The Industrialization of New England, 1830-1880

A reading from my class, “The Challenges of Global Poverty“, this historical paper discusses the elements and motivators that moved the American Industrial Revolution during the nineteenth century.

The Industrialization of New England, 1830-1880 by Peter Temin examines the elements that encouraged the growth of the Industrial Revolution in detail, outlining not only the industries and communities, but also the resources, people, and the politics that spurred its growth.

Perhaps the most motivating force, once Industrialization took hold, was young female workers. They not only worked in the mills, transferred their skills from home to workshops and the mechanized machines that aided mass production, but also often owned stock in the companies that hired them. They were young, idealistic and educated, and surprised the visiting British.

Another element was the American Standard system, which allowed parts to be interchanged between machinery. This was enabled by another wholly American concept – gauges for to calibrate gauges. (I found this entirely interesting, since I have used calibration tools and gauges in my other jobs.) The British were impressed, since the method previously had involved the need to file and rework parts before they could be used on another machine.

Firearms, clocks, cotton cloth, and leather shoes were all making use of these new systems, enabling faster, cheaper production that led to higher wages. Mills and dams that powered the factories ensured longer work days, contributing to the higher output.

To read The Industrialization of New England, 1830-1880 for yourself, click here. It is in PDF, so you can download it and read it a little at a time. I’ll wait. I also welcome you to post your thoughts below so we can discuss this further!

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