Agricultural and Industrial Revolution

Agricultural and industrial revolution as a theme of British History, use this theme, the timeline at the bottom of this page and map to explore these two tremendous and complex revolutions that changed 17th century Britain beyond all recognition. From a rural to manufacturing economy, it spurred invention and trade. 

  • Henrietta Vansittart Engineer
  • Britain After Waterloo the British Disillusion
  • John Wilkinson Ironmaster
  • James Watt Industrial Revolution
  • What Caused the Industrial Revolution?
  • James Brindley Canal Builder
  • Spinning Jenny Industrial Revolution?
  • Agricultural Revolution Jethro Tull
  • The Agricultural Revolution
  • The Luddites
  • Timber and the Agricultural Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was another of those extraordinary jumps forward in the story of civilization.
Claudio Magris

Britain, in the early 18th Century, was still largely a rural economy but rapidly changing economic and social conditions were forcing the pace of profound changes. These would bring great wealth to Britain but sometimes at a significant cost to individuals and the communities that had to work with the impact day-to-day of these changes.

Agriculture, the mainstay of many peoples lives, was itself facing huge change. Enclosure  meant many families were forced to abandon land they had worked, leaving them facing famine. Population was growing very quickly and the end of the Napoleonic Wars placed many soldiers and sailors onto the street looking for work. There was not enough work and there was not enough food.

Many people turned to alternative sources of income and set themselves up in cottage industries such as spinning and weaving but the scale of such industry could only ever produce a meagre income.

Agricultural Change led to Industrial change

Whilst it would eventually bring work to many people, in it’s initial stages the Industrial Revolution threatened people and their livelihoods.

Early inventions of the Industrial Revolution such as John Kay’s Flying Shuttle did much to boost production even in the cottage industry but it was soon realized that the opportunity it offered to manufacturers for large scale production was immense but that was yet to come.

More inventions followed, Hargreave’s Spinning Jenny, followed by Arkwright’s water frame.

But the ordinary folk initially had risen to fear the Industrial Revolution and they resisted the change, breaking machines and disrupting manufacture where they could.

The pace of invention quickened.

Engineers such as James Watt and Matthew Boulton could see the potential of manufacturing and knew they had the engineering foresight to deliver the power. As Matthew Boulton said in 1776;

“I sell here Sir, what all the world desires to have, power”Matthew Boulton

Other engineers such as Telford and Brunel, designed and built canals, improved roads created tunnels and bridges and built railways.

By the end of the 19th Century, Britain was the industrial and manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

People were employed in a totally new way and therefore society changed but it took it’s toll and it wasn’t long before the pressures on society demanded reform in many areas of life. There was need for reform in social care through the Poor Laws, in working conditions and housing and reform in laws governing things such as child labour. The Industrial Revolution forced people to look at not just the wealth of the nation but the health of the nation.

Science and invention spilled over into other areas of life such as medicine and food production. The need and the desire of people to become better educated spurred new educational systems to develop.

TITLEDATEDESCRIPTIONIMPACT
Invention of the stocking frame1563Rev. William Lee, born at Woodborough near Nottingham, invents the Stocking Frame, a mechanical device for knitting stockings.This invention was very important in the early history of Industrial Revoultion but was not embraced initially for fear of it taking work away from hand knitters.
Royal Society Founded1662Royal Society founded in LondonCollective of some of the findest minds of the time moves science on in leaps and bounds
First time steam pressure is used to move a piston1690Denis Papin a Frenchman, uses steam pressure to move a pistonPapin struggled to get his idea for a steam driven piston accepted but his ideas are used by Savery and Newcomen.
Languedoc Canal built1692Languedoc Canal connects the Mediterranean with the Bay of Biscay. 240 miles long, with 100 locks, 3 major aqueducts, 1 tunnel, and a summit reservoir. The largest canal project between Roman times and the nineteenth century.Part of a project aimed to link together several sections of navigable waterways to join the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to make it quicker and more economic to transport goods. Found solutions to canal building problems that would be used going forward.
Miners Friend Patented1698Thomas Savery designs the Miners Friend, designed to pump water from coal mines, is patented. It will become the first practical machine powered by steam. Although it was an inefficient and problematic engine, it's patent lasted 21 years and thus played an important role in shaping the early development of steam machinery in the Britain. Newcomen was forced into partnership with Savery as a result of the patent.
Land Enclosure accelerates1700The amount of land being enclosed in England acceleratesEnclosure had been happening for the previous 150 years but the rate of enclosure shot up forcing more people to move from rural areas into towns.
Horse Drawn Hoe1701Jethro Tull develops the horse-drawn hoe.Weeding has been a labourious and inefficient process, the horse drawn hoe is the first attempt at mechanising the system. Agricultural labourers are not happy with the new mechanical devices as it leads to increased rural unemployment.
Britain's first daily newspaper1702The first daily newspaper is started. London's Daily CourantIncreased literacy means more people can learn about new ideas and thinking. Ideas and learning spread more quickly.
Newton elected President of Royal Society1703Issac Newton is elected President of the Royal SocietyLeads to factions but spurs scientific debate.
Newtons 'Optics' published1704Issac Newton's book 'Optics' publishedMajor advances in physics open up new possibilities
Turnpike Act1707Turnpike ActWhilst there had been other Turnpike Acts, this was the first scheme that had trustees who were not justices.The basic principle was that the trustees would manage resources from the several parishes through which the highway passed, other tolls would be paid by users from outside the parishes, the money then used to maintain the highway. This then became the standard for turnpikes in Britain to improve flow of commerce through their part of a county.
Tull's Seed Drill1708Jethro Tull's mechanical (seed) sower permits large-scale planting in rows, for easier cultivation.This invention meant seeds could be planted more efficiently and yield was improved. Further agricultural mechanisations sprung from this.
Coke used to smelt iron ore1709Abraham Darby uses coke to smelt iron ore, replacing wood and charcoal as fuel. This discovery helped launch the Industrial Revolution.This was a monumental step forward in the Industrial Revolution allowing for a much more efficient process.
Three colour printing1710Three colour printing invented by Jacob Christoph Le BonHis methods helped form the foundation for modern colour printing, creating possibilities in mapmaking and in textile weaving
South Sea Company FoundedFounded in 1711 to trade (mainly in slaves) with Spanish America, on the assumption that the War of the Spanish Succession, then drawing to a close, would end with a treaty permitting such trade.Masses of British money invested in the company.
Newcomen's Steam Engine1712Thomas Newcomen builds first commercially successful steam engine. Able to keep deep coal mines clear of water. First significant power source other than wind and water.Newcomen's engine took the discovery of steam power a step forward
Flamsteeds Historia coelestis published1712John Flamsteed's first volume of his star catlogue 'Historia coelestis Britannica is publishedFlamsteed’s Atlas Coelestis is one of the “big four” star atlases to come out of Europe’s Golden Age of celestial cartography, driven by technological advances in astronomical observation and printing techniques. It contributed to advances in navigation.
Longitude Prize established1714British Parliament passes a bill setting up a prize for £20,000 for the first person to develop a sufficiently accurate way to find longitude at sea.The inability to determine longitude was causing serious problems. Ships and cargos were being lost.
Fahrenheit Scale developed1714Fahrenheit scale developed by Gabriel FahrenheitA standardized scale for measuring temperature was vital to scientific advances. The Fahrenheit scale was the primary temperature standard for climatic, industrial and medical purposes in English-speaking countries for 250 years.
First eight day clock1715First eight day clock developed by John HarrisonHarrison was working hard on the Longitude Prize and his clocks were critical parts of the process
Halley's Diving Bell1716First diving bell developed by Edmund HalleyCapable of remaining submerged for longer periods it moved forwards, physics understanding pressure
First Smallpox Inoculations in Britain1720Turkish practice of innoculation is brought to England by Lady Mary Wortley Montague and the first two children are innoculated.The health of the nation had not been a priority before the C18th but the situation was changing.
South Sea Company collapses1720Stock in the South Sea Company collapsesStocks in the South Sea Company were traded for 1,000 British pounds, then were reduced to nothing by the later half of 1720. Many investors were ruined, and the House of Commons ordered an inquiry and many of the company’s directors were disgraced. The scandal brought Robert Walpole, generally considered to be the first British prime minister, to power.
Four Year Crop Rotation Introduced1730Charles Townsend introduced Four Year Crop Rotation from Holland.Four year crop rotation improves the yield and quality of crops, more food can be produced of the same land for a growing population.
Tulls 'Horse Hoeing Husbandry'1731Tull published his book "Horse Hoeing Husbandry" (Revised in 1733).This book allowed others to share and test Tull's inventions
John Kays Flying Shuttle1733John Kay's invents the flying flying shuttle in Bury Lancashire.This invention was pivotal in changing the face of how textiles were produced. It changed cottage textile production to factory based and caused deep unrest amongst workers.
First Marine Chronometer1735Harrison builds his first marine chronometerThis allows ships to navigate with greater precision than has ever been possible, increasing trade routes and profits.
System for measuring type sizes1737The point system for measuring type sizes is introduced by Pierre FournierThis crreated a standardized type size and made possible further advances in printing.
Caisson bridge and tunnel building system1738The caisson system for building bridges and underwater tunnels is introduced Charles Dangeau de LabelyeA civil engineering breakthrough which moves bridge and tunnel development forward
Crucible Process1742The crucible process for molten steel is introduced by Benamin HuntsmanComplete melting of the steel produced a highly uniform crystal structure upon cooling, which gave the metal increased tensile strength and hardness compared to other steels being made at the time. Production increased dramatically.
Franklin Stove1744Invention of the Franklin Stove by Benjamin FranklinFranklin’s Stove reduced the percentage of heat wasted and reduced the amount of wood needed to fuel it.The invention served as a building block towards other more efficient domestic stoves.
Lead Chamber Process1746The lead chamber process developed by John Roebuck for the manufacture of sulphuric acid.A major step forward in industrial scale production of sulphuric acid it reduced the dependence on expensive saltpeter and at the same time sharply reduced nitrogen monoxide emissions. Demand for the acid rose as textile manufacturing exploded. Sulphuric acid is used in dyes and as a bleaching agent.
First Blast Furnace1748First blast furnace established in Bilston England by John WilkinsonIncreasing capacity of iron production.
Carriage Ball Bearings1749Radical ball bearings for carriages developed by Philip VaughnBearings played a pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution, allowing the new industrial machinery to operate efficiently with reduced friction and thus wear and also allowing for a smoother operating mechanism.
Change in UK Calender1751Calender in UK altered with January 1st becoming the begining of the yearTo align the calendar in use in England to that on the continent, the Gregorian calendar was adopted
Franklins Kite Experiment1752Franklin's kite experiment, showing that lightening is a form of electricity.This discovery would lead to future experiments with electricity.
Charter granted to British Museum1753The Royal Foundation Charter is granted to the British MuseumThe British Museum encourages the population to engage with science
First Iron Rolling Mill1754The first iron rolling mill is built in Hampshire by Henry Cort. This along with his balling process, allowed crude shapes standardised shapes made of wrought iron., a hugely important process that fed the Royal Navy Dockyard.A hugely important process that revolutionised ship building in the Royal Navy Dockyard.
Leicester Sheep bred1755Robert Bakewell produced Leicester sheep by selective breeding methods.Selective breeding in sheep improves yield of both wool and meat.
Cotton velvet produced in Lancashire1756The first cotton velvets are made in Bolton LancashireThese new materials would create a great demand and further innovation in the textile industry.
Bellows driven by waterpower1757Hydraulic blowing machine that uses waterpower to drive a bellows developed by John WilkinsonAnother improvement to efficiency.
Imperial Standards introduced1758A commission in England set standards for measures known as the Imperial StandardsCritically important to the Industrial Revolution for the ability to standardize measurements
Ribbing Machine1758The ribbing machine for the manufacture of stockings invented by Jedediah StruttWool and silk stockings can now be made by machine instead of by hand.
First Threshing Machine1758First threshing machine, hugely improving efficiency in agriculture.Greater efficiency in removing the grain should mean cheaper bread prices.
Marine Chronometer No 4 built1759Marine chrononometer No 4 completed by John Harrison, this will eventually win the British Board of Longitude's prizeThis chronometer will perfect the work done by Harrison to date on solving the longitude problem
First Concrete lighthouse built1759Concrete lighthouse built by John Smeaton with mortar that sets underwaterPioneering work that would allow Smeaton to look at other civil engineering projects dependent on waterproof cement such as docks, bridges, tunnels. A vital link in the industrial revolution.
Kew Gardens opened1760Botanical Garden's Kew opened. Plants and seeds are being brought back from expeditions all over the world.The collection furthers the understanding of plant biology and provides samples for use in the area of the study of evolution.
Bridgewater Canal opened1761James Brindley's Bridgewater Canal opens. Barges carry coal from Worsley to Manchester.Moving heavyweight goods such as coal on difficult roads was impeding the onset of industrial progress. Canals meant heavy goods and fine goods such as porcelain could be transported much more efficiently.
Wedgewood Creamware patented1763Josiah Wedgewood patents the cream coloured earthenware that becomes the standard domestic pottery of EnglandPottery production creates a demand for fine goods and the beginning of consumerism
Spinning Jenny Invented1765James Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny, automating weaving the warp (in the weaving of cloth).Major step forward in textile manufacturing that drives textile production to new heights.
British Longitude Prize Awarded1765British board of Longitude awards the prize to John Harrison for building a chronometer accurate to 1/10th sec per dayThe Longitude problem has been solved changing the face of maritime navigation
Nitrate Salts produced1766The chemist, Henry Cavendish, experimented with electric charges to turn nitrogen gas into nitrate salts.His experiments had great significance for the future production of artificial fertilizer.
Lunar Society Formed1766Lunar Society formed to promote the arts and sciences. Members include Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Joseph Priestley, Erasmus DarwinThe Lunar Society was another opportunity for some of the top thinkers, engineers and scientists of the day to meet and exchange ideas.
Water Frame Invented1769Arkwright's "water" (powered) frame automates the weft. It is too large and expensive to be used in a cottage. It's development is one of the key changes in Britain's Industrial Revolution.This invention is one of the most important in terms of mechanizing textile production and because of it's size, demands bigger factories to be built.
First pottery factory1769Josiah Wedgewood builds first pottery-making factory near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England.Wedgewood adds a different element to the industrial revolution which drives other inventions
Improvements to steam engine1769James Watts produces an improved steam engine that allowed steam to be converted.Critical invention on the path to an efficient steam engine
Longhorn cattle bred1769Bakewell produced Longhorn cattle by selective breeding.Better yields from cattle will help feed the growing population
First large scale potato production1770Potatoes were grown for sale for the first time in England.Alternative carbohydrate food source to bread becomes available to feed a growing population.
Spinning Jenny patented1770James Hargeaves patents Spinning JennyInventors of the industrial revolution battle for recognition and royalties.
Water Powered Mill Opened1771Richard Arkwright opens a water-powered mill in Cromford, England.The first step to large scale factory production of textiles.
Cokes Selective Breeding Experiments1772Thomas Coke began his selective breeding experimentsSelective breeding allowed characteristics to be bred in and out of animals, improving yields.
Bridgewater Canal Extended1772Bridgewater Canal extended to the Mersey, thus connecting with Liverpool. Its success kicks off extensive canal construction ("canal mania").Major advance in canal engineering meant an expansion in canal building
Cook's Voyage to South Pacific1772Cooke's voyage to the South Pacific proves there is no large southern continent except AustraliaExploration further expands the trade routes.
Stock Exchange Opens1773A group of brokers establishes a stock exchange in London.Purpose built stock exchange, puts trading on a more formal footing and benefits trade and speculation in new innovative ideas.
Patent for canon borer1774Wilkinson patents a precision cannon borerThis invention gives Watts the opportunity for precision boring required to drill the pistons for his steam engines, up unitl now, Watts has struggled with inaccurately crafted cylinders.
Boulton and Watt Factory Opened1774Matthew Boulton and James Watt open a steam-engine factory in Birmingham, England.Extremely important factory not just in terms of what it produced bt how. The Soho Foundry stood out from other factories of the day in the sophistication of its planning, its production processes and its management techniques; practicing concepts that wouldn't become commonplace until a century later
Watts Patent for Steam Engine1775Watt obtains a patent for his version of the steam engineThe steam engine saw widespread commercial use driving machinery in factories and mills, powering pumping stations and transport appliances such as railway locomotives, ships and road vehicles. Their use in agriculture led to an increase in the land available for cultivation.
Invention of Water Turbine1775Invention of a water turbine by Pierre GirardThe turbine adds swirl to water, an additional component of motion that allowed the turbine to be smaller than a water wheel of the same power. They could process more water by spinning faster and could harness much greater heads.
High Tolerance Cylinders1775Wilkinson improves the cylinder boring machine to produce high tolerance cylinders for Watt's steam engines.The work of Wilkinson is a good marriage for the work of Watts and Boulton and big leaps in design can now be made.
American Independence Declared1776American colonies of Britain declare their independenceChanged trading patterns between Britain and the colonists
Grand Trunk Canal opens1777Grand Trunk Canal establishes a cross-England route connecting the Mersey to the Trent and connecting the industrial Midlands to the ports of Bristol, Liverpool, and Hull.Trade routes opened up allowing goods to be transported more efficiently.
Turning lathe invented1778David Wilkinson US invents the turning latheThe turning lathe is an invention that will revolutionise the scope and precision of machine making tools.
Banks elected President Royal Society1778Joseph Banks elected President of the Royal SocietyBanks was one of the most influential thinkers of the time and important in the opening up of new settlements and trade routes for Britain.
First Steam Powered Mills Opened1779First steam powered mills. Crompton's "mule" combines Hargreaves' and Arkwright's machines, fully automating the weaving process.A leap forward in terms of textile manufacture.
First Iron Bridge built1779The first iron bridge is built which spans the River Severn at Coalbrookdale, largely with the encouragement and backing of Wilkinson and Darby.The determination to build an iron bridge rather than wood or stone, showed the art of the possible and led to more experimentation with iron built structures.
Watts invents rotary motion for his steam engine1781James Watt invents a rotary motion device for his steam engineWatt proceeded to develop his engine further, modifying it to provide a rotary motion suitable for driving factory machinery. This enabled factories to be sited away from rivers, and further accelerated the pace of the Industrial Revolution.
Arkwright builds a factory1781Arkwright builds a factory using his water frame for spinning, becoming the founder of the modern factory systemThe culmination of years of invention of large scale textile machinary. The final nail in the coffin of the cottage textile industry.
Steam powered paddle boat1781Steam powered paddle boat tested in France an invention of Marquis de JouffroyFurther advancing applications to which steam power could be put.
Herschel appointed Astronomer Royal1782William Herschel is appointed Astronomer RoyalAnother great thinker whose discoveries aided navigation
Double acting steam engine patented1782James Watt patents a double acting steam engine. Steam is admitted alternatively on both sides of the piston making the engine more efficientFurther refinements of the steam engine will bring the industrial revolution extra dynamism.
Pyrometer invented1782The pyrometer is invented by Josiah Wedgewood for checking the temperatures in pottery furnacesWedgwood realized that he needed some means of controlling the temperature in his kilns. Accordingly, he invented the pyrometer, the first tool capable of accurately measuring the very high temperatures used to fire ceramics. This invention earned him a place in the Royal Society in 1783.
Tull's seed drill improved1782Tull's seed drill was improved by adding gears to the rotary mechanism.Further improvements in agricultural machinary provides greater efficiency.
Hot Air Balloon Demonstrated1783The Montgolfier brothers demonstrate the hot air balloonRevolutionary idea of seeing the world from a great height, encouraged others to think about flight.
Bleached fabric produced1783Bleached fabric is possible through the introduction of Oxymuriatic AcidDemand for white fabric that can be printed on drives further design processes in textile industry.
Cylinder printing developed1783Cylinder printing of fabrics developed by Thomas BellReduced printing costs and increased efficiency and choice, small block prints could be transferred quickly and effectively to materials. Improvements in the technology resulted in more elaborate roller prints in bright, rich colours.
First Plough Making Factory in England1783The first plough making factory in England was opened.Iron ploughs are more efficient than wooden ones and mass production means more people can have access to them.
Water powered threshing machine1784Water-powered threshing machine developed by Andrew MeikleThis invention shows how mechanization can make agricultural processes more efficient.
Puddling method for producing wrought iron1784The puddling method of turning coke smelted iron into good wrought iron is developed by Henry CortMaking production of useful iron completely independent of the forest for the first time. His 'puddling furnace' produced molten iron that could be rolled straight away, while it was still soft, into rails for railways, pipes, or even sheet iron for shipbuilding.
Corts Iron Rolling Mill Perfected1784The iron rolling mill is perfected using grooved rollers Henry Cort.Perfect for producing iron for the docks in Portsmouth.
Bifocal Lenses Invented1784Bifocal lenses invented by Benjamin FranklinBifocal lenses would become one of the most useful inventions of all times and adopted by millions of people.
Iron plough developed1784Small developed an iron ploughIron ploughs will be stronger and more efficient than wooden ones.
First English balloon ascent1784First English balloon ascent by Vincent LunardiThe ascent encourages others to consider flight
Watts steam engine powers cotton mill1785Watt’s steam engine is first used to power a cotton mill.The application of the steam engine completely transforms manufacturing.
First Balloon Crossing of Channel1785First balloon crossing of the English Channel by Jean Pierre Blanchard Dr J. JeffriesAdvances in balloon flight capture and inspire the publics imagination
Water Powered Loom Patented1785Edmund Cartwright patents his water-powered loom.The water power loom will lead to the development of further power looms changing the dynamics in the textile industry.
Steam powered coin minting machine developed1786Matthew Boulton develops steam-powered coin-minting machinery.Further applications of steam power
Arkwright uses a Watt engine in a cotton mill1786Arkwright puts a Watt engine in the Albion cotton mill, Blackfriars Bridge, London.Showing how the industrial revolution was an intricate period where inventions and people fed off each other.
Nail making machine invented1786Machine for making nails invented by Ezekiel ReedNails had been hand made, millions were needed and so a machine that could mechanize the task would prove invaluable.
First Power Loom Built1787Cartwright builds a power loom.The power loom led to many women replacing men as weavers in the factories.
First iron barge built1787First iron barge builtBuilding on the success of the iron bridge, the iron barge shows a new way forward in boat building and releases boat builders from problems sourcing an ever dwindling supply of good quality timber.
Canal links Thames to the Bristol Channel1789Thames-Severn Canal links the Thames to the Bristol Channel.Linking two great British ports and furthering trade opportunities.
Workers burn down Manchester mill1791A Manchester mill orders 400 of Edmund Cartwright’s power looms, but workers burn down the mill because they fear losing their jobs.Workers fears and dissatisfaction with the textile revolution brings great concern to politicians and shows little chance of subsiding.
Coal gas used in domestic home1792William Murdock (James Watt's assistant) lights his home with coal gas.This will be pivotal in lighting the towns of Britain changing the working day and safety on the streets.
Cotton Gin Invented1793Eli Whitney develops his cotton gin (a device to clean raw cotton).After this invention, cotton becomes America's leading crop.
Telford Begins Iron Aquaducts1793Thomas Telford begins to build his two great iron aqueducts, over the Dee and the Cierog valleys.More advances in better iron production allows the material to be used in a number of different ways.
Spinning Mule Invented1799Compton invented the Spinning Mule, an improvement on the Spinning JennyFurther advances in the textile industry, a range of yarn thicknesses could be spun.
Combination Acts1799New Combination Acts outlaw trade unions which are repealed in 1824.Increases the workers hostility to factory owners and to parliament.
Steam Locomotive Demonstration1801Robert Trevithick demonstrates a steam locomotive.This demonstration will lead to one of the most pioneering inventions of all time, the railway.
Caledonian Ship Canal opens1803Caledonian Ship Canal cuts clear across Scotland via the Great Glen.Another important communication route opened.
First Steam Locomotive run on rails1804Trevithick runs a steam locomotive on rails in an ironworks.This invention will eventually allow goods and people to be transported quickly over large distances.
Rotherhithe Tunnel Started1807Richard Trevithick begins digging the Rotherhithe Tunnel.Means of crossing the River Thames are essential to the growth of London, the tunnel inspires others to make the attempt.
First Successful Steamboat1807Robert Fulton's Clermont first successful steamboat.Pioneering work which will speed up communication across the seas.
Canning Preservation Method Invented1809French confectioner Nicolas Appert invents canning as a preservation methodCanning will prevent sickness from eating rotten food and save the lives of many, especially troops in the field.
Luddite Riots1811Luddite riots: laborers attack factories and break up the machines they fear will replace them.The Luddites are very effective. The disturbances continued for another five years. The crisis was made worse by food shortages as the price of wheat increased, and by the collapse of hosiery and knitwear prices in 1815 and 1816. Various attempts were made to find a compromise, but problems remained until the middle of the nineteenth century, by which time the woollen industry had moved away from hand-production.
UK Corn Laws1815UK Corn laws established a series of statutes enacted between 1815 and 1846 which kept corn prices at a high level. This measure was intended to protect English farmers from cheap foreign imports of grain following the end of the Napoleonic Wars.The artificially high corn prices encouraged by the Corn Laws meant that the urban working class had to spend the bulk of their income on corn just to survive. Since they had no income left over for other purchases, they could not afford manufactured goods. So manufacturers suffered, and had to lay off workers. These workers had difficulty finding employment, so the economic spiral worsened for everyone involved.
Principle of the electric motor demonstrated1821Faraday demonstrates electro-magnetic rotation, the principle of the electric motor.This invention will become of the world's most important with applications too numerous to mention.
First mechanical computing machine1823English mathematician,Charles Babbage, develops his difference engine, a mechanical computing machine.This is an astonishing invention that prepared numerical tables by a technique known as the method of diffence. These tables still used to day but electronically and stored digitally. Babbage did the same just more slowly and mechanically.
Patent for waterproof cement1824Patent for Portland (waterproof) cementWithout waterproof cement structures such as the London sewer system, the docks and the tunnels under the Thames would not have been possible.
Brunel's Tunneling Shield1825Marc Brunel invents a tunnelling shield, making subaqueous tunnelling possible.This invention will solve many of the problems of tunneling under water.
Stockton Darlington Railway182525-mile long Stockton & Darlington Railway built by George StephensonThe beginning of the railway age
First Tunnel Under Thames1826Brunel builds the first subaqueous tunnel, under the Thames.Crossing the Thames has been an age old problem, Brunel's tunnel is an extraordinary achievement.
Berkeley Ship Canal1827Berkeley Ship Canal connects Sharpness (on the Severn) to Gloucester.The canal age will soon give way to rail.
Liverpool and Manchester first commercial railway1830The Liverpool and Manchester Railway begins first regular commercial rail service.Commercial rail services are in their infancy but this line is the start of a new direction in communications.
Electro Magnetic Current Discovered1831Faraday discovers electro-magnetic current, making possible generators and electric engines.A pivotal moment in physics, EM current will make possible an enormous number of inventions and advances.
Experiments on photography1834Fox Talbot produces photographs.Photography will grab the attention of the ordinary person unlike any other and become a popular part of everyday life.
Propeller Invented1835A screw propeller is proposed and prototypes built.The propeller is used by the military who see it as a considerable advance in ship handling and robustness in the face of enemy fire.
First Railway in London opened1836The first railway in London opened from Spa Road to Deptford, which formed part of the London and Greenwich Railway.The expansion of the railway in London will have an enormous impact on the society in the capital.
Morse Code invented1837Morse develops the telegraph and Morse Code
Communication will never be the same again, a quick and efficient method of passing messages
First Steam Plough Invented1837First steel plough built by John DeereA more durable plough than the iron plough
Grand Junction Railway opened1837The Grand Junction Railway opened in July between Birmingham and Warrington. This formed part of the first mainline linking London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.Major cities in Britain linked by rail creating more trade opportunities across the country.
Slavery abolished in British Empire1838Slavery is abolished in the British empireThe end of the despicable trade forces merchants to look for other goods to import and export.
People's Charter1838UK government People's Charter advocates social and political reformLed to Charterism, a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in the north of England, the east Midlands and South Wales.
Daguerrotype Invented1838Daguerre perfects the Daguerrotype.This invention was inspirational in developing both the art and science of photography.
First section of the GWR opened1838The pioneering Great Western Railway (GWR) opened its first section from Paddington to Maidenhead in June, using a 7 foot gauge.More railway expansion across Britain opening up the west.
London to Birmingham railway1838London-Birmingham railway was the first railway line into the capital city, with passengers disembarking in the newly-designed Euston station. The line precipitated the first of the great railway booms.The development of the railway moves at a tremendous speed across Britain.
Photographic paper introduced1839Fox Talbot introduces photographic paper.Photgraphic paper born out of the work done by Daguerre makes photography accessible to many people.
Invention of the bicycle1839Kirkpatrick Macmillan Invents the bicycleThe bicycle revolutionizes transport for the ordinary man and woman. It's impact on women's emancipation is greater than can ever be imagined.
Vaccination introduced1840Vaccination for the poor is introduced in the UKThe health of the nation will be changed forever as killer diseases such as small pox are brought under control.
Brunel's box tunnel1841Brunel's box tunnel between Chippenham and BathFurther civil engineering advances to complement the development of the railway.
Standard Screw Thread Introduced1841Standard screw thread introducedUntil this time structures and machines were built from parts sourced from different producers using different standards resulting in engineering failures.
First factory to manufacture superphosphate1842Sir John Bennet Lawes founded the first factory to manufacture superphosphate. This marked the beginning of the chemical fertilizer industryFertilizers will increase crop yields, essential to feed the worlds growing population.
Steamship Great Britain launched1843Great Britain, the first large, iron, screw-propelled steamship.This ship will lay down a marker for express voyages across the Atlantic
Morse's code used commercially1844Commercial use of Morse's telegraph (Baltimore to Washington).Telegraph revolutionizes communication
Sewing Machine Invented1845Elias Howe invents a sewing machineThis invention will lead to Singers mass produced sewing machine
Irish potato famine begins1845Irish potato famine beginsGives rise to mass migrations to America and Canada
UK Corn Laws repealed1846UK Corn Laws repealedThis measure removed protective duties which had helped to keep the price of bread high. Robert Peel had to resign, most of his party opposed. He is remembered as the prime minister who gave the working classes cheaper bread.
Reinforced concrete invented1849Monier develops reinforced concrete.Reinforced concrete allows engineers to build bigger and taller structures
Petrol refining first used1850Petrol (gasoline) refining first used.
A new fuel source whose impact will be huge and allow for the development of the combustion engine.
The Great Exhibition1851The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace a celebration of modern industry, technology and designThe exhibition showcases British goods around the world and is a huge boost for trade.
First practical sewing machine1851Singer invents first practical sewing machine.
The sewing machine will change the way of life for thousands of women, giving them work inside and outside the home.
Elevator safety brake invented1853Elisha Otis invents the elevator safety brake making skyscrapers possibleVital invention for skyward living
Smallpox Vaccination Compulsory1853An Act of Parliament in 1853 made smallpox vaccination compulsory in the UK.Leads to the eradication of smallpox from Britain.
Steel Converter Invented1854Bessemer invents steel converter.This newfound process had a massive impact on the British metal industry, which was the world’s major metal producing country at that time. Steel will change every person's life.
First Skyscraper built1855The first 10-story steel-girder skyscraper is built in Chicago.A fantastic achievement that allows for greater civil engineering proects.
Aniline Dyes Introduced1856W.H. Perkin produces aniline dyes, permitting brightly colored cottons.Another stimulus to the textile industry and a further push towards consumerism.
Pasteur experiments with fermentation1857Pasteur experiments with fermentation.Pasteur was one of the most important scientists in the field of biology and medicine. Based on his experiments, he associated fermentation with life which led him from studying molecular asymmetry to contagious diseases through fermentation.
Cathode Rays Discovered1858Cathode rays discovered.Pivotal discovery leading to the discovery of the electron.
The Origin of Species Published1859Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species
Evolution as described by Darwin turns science on it's head and creates a storm of debate
Open hearth process in steel industry1863The open hearth process revolutionizes steel productionSiemens-Martin open hearth process (along with the Bessemer converter) makes steel available in bulk. Steel begins to replace iron in building: steel framing and reinforced concrete make possible "curtain-wall" architecture i.e., the skyscraper.
London Metro Opened1863Worlds first Metro line, The London Underground, openedThe civil engineering methods of tunneling has created many possibilities, the underground will be around for a long time to come.
Telegraph cable laid under Atlantic Ocean1866The Great Eastern lays a telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean.The telegraph made little direct impact on most people's lives. It was a 'specialist' technology, owned by companies and operated by professionals. But the indirect impact of the telegraph was huge. Things started working more quickly and efficiently, starting with the railways and quickly extending to the transport of goods and materials.
Dynamite produced1867Alfred Nobel produces dynamite, the first high explosive which can be safely handled.Dynamite changes mining practise and warfare
Lister Introduces Antiseptics1867Joseph Lister writes on antiseptics in 'The Lancet'Antiseptics will revolutionize the practise of operative medicine.
Suez Canal opened1869Suez Canal opens, linking the Mediterranean and the Red SeaNew trade routes opened.
Invention of pasteurization1871Invention of pasteurization by Louis PasteurHis pasteurization process concluded that all fermentable liquid could be prevented from a spoiling with a special heating treatment. This helped prevent people from becoming ill from harmful bacteria.
Remington typewriter invented1873Christopher Sholes invents the Remington typewriter.The typewriter brought convinience and productivity to people everywhere. Most important was the impact on business, companies grew and expanded in unparalled ways because of this speed writing.
Laws of electro-magnetic1873
James Clerk Maxwell states the laws of electro-magnetic radiation
The enormity of this discovery heralded a new bastion of science. It pointed the way to the application of electromagnetic radiation for such present-day uses as radio, television, radar, microwaves and thermal imaging.
Telephone invented1876Bell invents the telephone.The invention of the telephone lead to development of city centers, office buildings and the concept of an urban worker society. It has lead to the creation and destruction of jobs. The need for positions such as messenger boys, telegraphers and, ironically, operators, became virtually unnecessary
Phonograph Invented1877Edison invents the phonograph.Before the invention of the phonoraph listening to music was a social event, now it could be enjoyed privately in the home, a new popular culture had been born.
Microphone Invented1878Microphone invented.An invention that had a fundamental effect on how sound could be shared and enjoyed leading to greater clarity in sound transmission
Incandescent Lamp Invented1879Edison invents the incandescent lamp.The practical incandescent light bulb is one of the most transformative patented inventions of all time. Safe, effective lighting became generally affordable for widespread residential use for the first time. Business operations also changed dramatically as workers were able to work more easily at night, eventually leading to shifts that could operate around the clock.
First milking machine invented1879The first milking machine. It was a vacuum device which eliminated labour from milking a cow.Reduced the number of people needed to look after dairy cattle and allowed for a cleaner and more efficient method of milking.
Machine Gun Invented1884Maxim invents the machine gun.The machine gun, making possible mass slaughter and beginning the mechanization of warfare.
First car to run with an internal combustion engine1885Benz develops first automobile to run on internal- combustion engine.The internal combustion engine will bring untold good and harm to society.
Radio waves produced1888Hertz produces radio waves.The discovery of Radio waves will be used to lead communication developments
X - Rays discovered1895
Roentgen discovers X-rays.
A momentous event that instantly revolutionized the fields of physics and medicine. The X-ray emerged from the laboratory and into widespread use in a startlingly brief leap: within a year of Roentgen's announcement of his discovery, the application of X-rays to diagnosis and therapy was an established part of the medical profession.
Wireless telegraph patented1896Marconi patents wireless telegraph.This invention will lead to an explosion in communication development.
Small atomic particles discovered1897Joseph Thomson discovers particles smaller than atoms.Modern physics is born and this leads ultimately to the atomic bomb
First powered flight1903Wright brothers make first powered flight.The impact of powered flight opens up the world to all who can afford it.
Ford mass produces an automobile1908Henry Ford mass-produces the Model T.The impact of the car on world society is as we know, enormous.

 

Henrietta Vansittart Engineer

Henrietta Vansittart Engineer

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Women Inventors, Scientists and Engineers

Henrietta Vanstittart b.1833, was a woman who seemed to flout convention. She was a self taught engineer, a married woman with a high profile lover, Edward Lytton.

Britain After Waterloo the British Disillusion

Britain After Waterloo the British Disillusion

What happened to Britain after Waterloo? What did the victory mean to the population and why was there a British disillusion for the following 20 years? Britain seemed to implode as an economic bomb went off under her feet.

John Wilkinson Ironmaster

John Wilkinson Ironmaster

This entry is part 13 of 14 in the series Industrial Revolution

This entry is part 13 of 14 in the series Industrial RevolutionJohn Wilkinson was the ‘Ironmaster’ of the industrial revolution Iron  ran through the veins of John Wilkinson, who was fortunate enough to be born into the heart of the industrial revolution, both literally and figuratively. He was born in 1728, the son of Isaac…

James Watt Industrial Revolution

James Watt Industrial Revolution

This entry is part 12 of 14 in the series Industrial Revolution

James Watt the inventor of the steam engine and the industrial revolution was driven by steam but he was a man with a ferociously keen scientific mind that dabbled in many areas. This is an introduction to one of Britain’s finest engineers, we salute James Watt and his steam engines.

What Caused the Industrial Revolution?

What Caused the Industrial Revolution?

This entry is part 11 of 14 in the series Industrial Revolution

What caused the industrial revolution in 18th century Britain? Was it a great meeting together of scientific advancement and minds or something else? What part did the economy play in this frenzy of industrial advancement?

The Midland Revolt 1607

The Midland Revolt 1607

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Agricutural Revolution

The Midland Revolt 1607, a period of failed harvests, enclosure, famine and despondency. Shakespeare writes about this in his play Coriolanus and refers to other uprisings and tensions in his plays Henry IV and 2 Henry VI.

James Brindley Canal Builder

James Brindley Canal Builder

This entry is part 7 of 14 in the series Industrial Revolution

James Brindley canal engineer whose work in canal engineering spanned a mere 13 years. How did he manage to achieve so much for the canal building era? His work can still be seen in the centre of Birmingham.

Spinning Jenny Industrial Revolution?

Spinning Jenny Industrial Revolution?

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Industrial Inventions and Innovations

Spinning Jenny Industrial Revolution, what was this invention and what impact did it have on the textile workers of 18th century Britain? Why was the invention necessary and how did it connect with John Kay’s Flying Shuttle?

Agricultural Revolution Jethro Tull

Agricultural Revolution Jethro Tull

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Agricutural Revolution

Jethro Tull was called the father of the Agricultural Revolution and he should be ranked along with other great thinkers of his time who embraced the agricultural, scientific and industrial revolution.

The Agricultural Revolution

The Agricultural Revolution

What was the Agricultural Revolution and would the Industrial Revolution have taken place without it?

The Luddites

The Luddites

What made the Luddites riot? Was it worth the loss of 17 lives? Have our attitudes to technology changed or does the fear of the new pervade in our social response to innovation and invention generally or only specifically when it impacts on our ability to earn a fair living? In the early 19th century we see a rebellious element emerge and a collective consciousness of the working class begins to emerge, what other lessons can we learn from what makes the British riot throughout our history? The first in a series of posts and explorations…

The Mast Trade

The Mast Trade

The Mast Trade, of huge importance to the growth of the Royal Navy and the British Empire. Timber played a pivotal role in building a nation. Deforestation does not a nation make.

Agricultural and Industrial Revolution Timeline

Browse, search sort and click

Evolving Agricultural and Industrial Revolution Timeline and Chrnology.
TITLEDATEDESCRIPTIONIMPACT
Invention of the stocking frame1563Rev. William Lee, born at Woodborough near Nottingham, invents the Stocking Frame, a mechanical device for knitting stockings.This invention was very important in the early history of Industrial Revoultion but was not embraced initially for fear of it taking work away from hand knitters.
Royal Society Founded1662Royal Society founded in LondonCollective of some of the findest minds of the time moves science on in leaps and bounds
First time steam pressure is used to move a piston1690Denis Papin a Frenchman, uses steam pressure to move a pistonPapin struggled to get his idea for a steam driven piston accepted but his ideas are used by Savery and Newcomen.
Languedoc Canal built1692Languedoc Canal connects the Mediterranean with the Bay of Biscay. 240 miles long, with 100 locks, 3 major aqueducts, 1 tunnel, and a summit reservoir. The largest canal project between Roman times and the nineteenth century.Part of a project aimed to link together several sections of navigable waterways to join the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to make it quicker and more economic to transport goods. Found solutions to canal building problems that would be used going forward.
Miners Friend Patented1698Thomas Savery designs the Miners Friend, designed to pump water from coal mines, is patented. It will become the first practical machine powered by steam. Although it was an inefficient and problematic engine, it's patent lasted 21 years and thus played an important role in shaping the early development of steam machinery in the Britain. Newcomen was forced into partnership with Savery as a result of the patent.
Land Enclosure accelerates1700The amount of land being enclosed in England acceleratesEnclosure had been happening for the previous 150 years but the rate of enclosure shot up forcing more people to move from rural areas into towns.
Horse Drawn Hoe1701Jethro Tull develops the horse-drawn hoe.Weeding has been a labourious and inefficient process, the horse drawn hoe is the first attempt at mechanising the system. Agricultural labourers are not happy with the new mechanical devices as it leads to increased rural unemployment.
Britain's first daily newspaper1702The first daily newspaper is started. London's Daily CourantIncreased literacy means more people can learn about new ideas and thinking. Ideas and learning spread more quickly.
Newton elected President of Royal Society1703Issac Newton is elected President of the Royal SocietyLeads to factions but spurs scientific debate.
Newtons 'Optics' published1704Issac Newton's book 'Optics' publishedMajor advances in physics open up new possibilities
Turnpike Act1707Turnpike ActWhilst there had been other Turnpike Acts, this was the first scheme that had trustees who were not justices.The basic principle was that the trustees would manage resources from the several parishes through which the highway passed, other tolls would be paid by users from outside the parishes, the money then used to maintain the highway. This then became the standard for turnpikes in Britain to improve flow of commerce through their part of a county.
Tull's Seed Drill1708Jethro Tull's mechanical (seed) sower permits large-scale planting in rows, for easier cultivation.This invention meant seeds could be planted more efficiently and yield was improved. Further agricultural mechanisations sprung from this.
Coke used to smelt iron ore1709Abraham Darby uses coke to smelt iron ore, replacing wood and charcoal as fuel. This discovery helped launch the Industrial Revolution.This was a monumental step forward in the Industrial Revolution allowing for a much more efficient process.
Three colour printing1710Three colour printing invented by Jacob Christoph Le BonHis methods helped form the foundation for modern colour printing, creating possibilities in mapmaking and in textile weaving
South Sea Company FoundedFounded in 1711 to trade (mainly in slaves) with Spanish America, on the assumption that the War of the Spanish Succession, then drawing to a close, would end with a treaty permitting such trade.Masses of British money invested in the company.
Newcomen's Steam Engine1712Thomas Newcomen builds first commercially successful steam engine. Able to keep deep coal mines clear of water. First significant power source other than wind and water.Newcomen's engine took the discovery of steam power a step forward
Flamsteeds Historia coelestis published1712John Flamsteed's first volume of his star catlogue 'Historia coelestis Britannica is publishedFlamsteed’s Atlas Coelestis is one of the “big four” star atlases to come out of Europe’s Golden Age of celestial cartography, driven by technological advances in astronomical observation and printing techniques. It contributed to advances in navigation.
Longitude Prize established1714British Parliament passes a bill setting up a prize for £20,000 for the first person to develop a sufficiently accurate way to find longitude at sea.The inability to determine longitude was causing serious problems. Ships and cargos were being lost.
Fahrenheit Scale developed1714Fahrenheit scale developed by Gabriel FahrenheitA standardized scale for measuring temperature was vital to scientific advances. The Fahrenheit scale was the primary temperature standard for climatic, industrial and medical purposes in English-speaking countries for 250 years.
First eight day clock1715First eight day clock developed by John HarrisonHarrison was working hard on the Longitude Prize and his clocks were critical parts of the process
Halley's Diving Bell1716First diving bell developed by Edmund HalleyCapable of remaining submerged for longer periods it moved forwards, physics understanding pressure
First Smallpox Inoculations in Britain1720Turkish practice of innoculation is brought to England by Lady Mary Wortley Montague and the first two children are innoculated.The health of the nation had not been a priority before the C18th but the situation was changing.
South Sea Company collapses1720Stock in the South Sea Company collapsesStocks in the South Sea Company were traded for 1,000 British pounds, then were reduced to nothing by the later half of 1720. Many investors were ruined, and the House of Commons ordered an inquiry and many of the company’s directors were disgraced. The scandal brought Robert Walpole, generally considered to be the first British prime minister, to power.
Four Year Crop Rotation Introduced1730Charles Townsend introduced Four Year Crop Rotation from Holland.Four year crop rotation improves the yield and quality of crops, more food can be produced of the same land for a growing population.
Tulls 'Horse Hoeing Husbandry'1731Tull published his book "Horse Hoeing Husbandry" (Revised in 1733).This book allowed others to share and test Tull's inventions
John Kays Flying Shuttle1733John Kay's invents the flying flying shuttle in Bury Lancashire.This invention was pivotal in changing the face of how textiles were produced. It changed cottage textile production to factory based and caused deep unrest amongst workers.
First Marine Chronometer1735Harrison builds his first marine chronometerThis allows ships to navigate with greater precision than has ever been possible, increasing trade routes and profits.
System for measuring type sizes1737The point system for measuring type sizes is introduced by Pierre FournierThis crreated a standardized type size and made possible further advances in printing.
Caisson bridge and tunnel building system1738The caisson system for building bridges and underwater tunnels is introduced Charles Dangeau de LabelyeA civil engineering breakthrough which moves bridge and tunnel development forward
Crucible Process1742The crucible process for molten steel is introduced by Benamin HuntsmanComplete melting of the steel produced a highly uniform crystal structure upon cooling, which gave the metal increased tensile strength and hardness compared to other steels being made at the time. Production increased dramatically.
Franklin Stove1744Invention of the Franklin Stove by Benjamin FranklinFranklin’s Stove reduced the percentage of heat wasted and reduced the amount of wood needed to fuel it.The invention served as a building block towards other more efficient domestic stoves.
Lead Chamber Process1746The lead chamber process developed by John Roebuck for the manufacture of sulphuric acid.A major step forward in industrial scale production of sulphuric acid it reduced the dependence on expensive saltpeter and at the same time sharply reduced nitrogen monoxide emissions. Demand for the acid rose as textile manufacturing exploded. Sulphuric acid is used in dyes and as a bleaching agent.
First Blast Furnace1748First blast furnace established in Bilston England by John WilkinsonIncreasing capacity of iron production.
Carriage Ball Bearings1749Radical ball bearings for carriages developed by Philip VaughnBearings played a pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution, allowing the new industrial machinery to operate efficiently with reduced friction and thus wear and also allowing for a smoother operating mechanism.
Change in UK Calender1751Calender in UK altered with January 1st becoming the begining of the yearTo align the calendar in use in England to that on the continent, the Gregorian calendar was adopted
Franklins Kite Experiment1752Franklin's kite experiment, showing that lightening is a form of electricity.This discovery would lead to future experiments with electricity.
Charter granted to British Museum1753The Royal Foundation Charter is granted to the British MuseumThe British Museum encourages the population to engage with science
First Iron Rolling Mill1754The first iron rolling mill is built in Hampshire by Henry Cort. This along with his balling process, allowed crude shapes standardised shapes made of wrought iron., a hugely important process that fed the Royal Navy Dockyard.A hugely important process that revolutionised ship building in the Royal Navy Dockyard.
Leicester Sheep bred1755Robert Bakewell produced Leicester sheep by selective breeding methods.Selective breeding in sheep improves yield of both wool and meat.
Cotton velvet produced in Lancashire1756The first cotton velvets are made in Bolton LancashireThese new materials would create a great demand and further innovation in the textile industry.
Bellows driven by waterpower1757Hydraulic blowing machine that uses waterpower to drive a bellows developed by John WilkinsonAnother improvement to efficiency.
Imperial Standards introduced1758A commission in England set standards for measures known as the Imperial StandardsCritically important to the Industrial Revolution for the ability to standardize measurements
Ribbing Machine1758The ribbing machine for the manufacture of stockings invented by Jedediah StruttWool and silk stockings can now be made by machine instead of by hand.
First Threshing Machine1758First threshing machine, hugely improving efficiency in agriculture.Greater efficiency in removing the grain should mean cheaper bread prices.
Marine Chronometer No 4 built1759Marine chrononometer No 4 completed by John Harrison, this will eventually win the British Board of Longitude's prizeThis chronometer will perfect the work done by Harrison to date on solving the longitude problem
First Concrete lighthouse built1759Concrete lighthouse built by John Smeaton with mortar that sets underwaterPioneering work that would allow Smeaton to look at other civil engineering projects dependent on waterproof cement such as docks, bridges, tunnels. A vital link in the industrial revolution.
Kew Gardens opened1760Botanical Garden's Kew opened. Plants and seeds are being brought back from expeditions all over the world.The collection furthers the understanding of plant biology and provides samples for use in the area of the study of evolution.
Bridgewater Canal opened1761James Brindley's Bridgewater Canal opens. Barges carry coal from Worsley to Manchester.Moving heavyweight goods such as coal on difficult roads was impeding the onset of industrial progress. Canals meant heavy goods and fine goods such as porcelain could be transported much more efficiently.
Wedgewood Creamware patented1763Josiah Wedgewood patents the cream coloured earthenware that becomes the standard domestic pottery of EnglandPottery production creates a demand for fine goods and the beginning of consumerism
Spinning Jenny Invented1765James Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny, automating weaving the warp (in the weaving of cloth).Major step forward in textile manufacturing that drives textile production to new heights.
British Longitude Prize Awarded1765British board of Longitude awards the prize to John Harrison for building a chronometer accurate to 1/10th sec per dayThe Longitude problem has been solved changing the face of maritime navigation
Nitrate Salts produced1766The chemist, Henry Cavendish, experimented with electric charges to turn nitrogen gas into nitrate salts.His experiments had great significance for the future production of artificial fertilizer.
Lunar Society Formed1766Lunar Society formed to promote the arts and sciences. Members include Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Joseph Priestley, Erasmus DarwinThe Lunar Society was another opportunity for some of the top thinkers, engineers and scientists of the day to meet and exchange ideas.
Water Frame Invented1769Arkwright's "water" (powered) frame automates the weft. It is too large and expensive to be used in a cottage. It's development is one of the key changes in Britain's Industrial Revolution.This invention is one of the most important in terms of mechanizing textile production and because of it's size, demands bigger factories to be built.
First pottery factory1769Josiah Wedgewood builds first pottery-making factory near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England.Wedgewood adds a different element to the industrial revolution which drives other inventions
Improvements to steam engine1769James Watts produces an improved steam engine that allowed steam to be converted.Critical invention on the path to an efficient steam engine
Longhorn cattle bred1769Bakewell produced Longhorn cattle by selective breeding.Better yields from cattle will help feed the growing population
First large scale potato production1770Potatoes were grown for sale for the first time in England.Alternative carbohydrate food source to bread becomes available to feed a growing population.
Spinning Jenny patented1770James Hargeaves patents Spinning JennyInventors of the industrial revolution battle for recognition and royalties.
Water Powered Mill Opened1771Richard Arkwright opens a water-powered mill in Cromford, England.The first step to large scale factory production of textiles.
Cokes Selective Breeding Experiments1772Thomas Coke began his selective breeding experimentsSelective breeding allowed characteristics to be bred in and out of animals, improving yields.
Bridgewater Canal Extended1772Bridgewater Canal extended to the Mersey, thus connecting with Liverpool. Its success kicks off extensive canal construction ("canal mania").Major advance in canal engineering meant an expansion in canal building
Cook's Voyage to South Pacific1772Cooke's voyage to the South Pacific proves there is no large southern continent except AustraliaExploration further expands the trade routes.
Stock Exchange Opens1773A group of brokers establishes a stock exchange in London.Purpose built stock exchange, puts trading on a more formal footing and benefits trade and speculation in new innovative ideas.
Patent for canon borer1774Wilkinson patents a precision cannon borerThis invention gives Watts the opportunity for precision boring required to drill the pistons for his steam engines, up unitl now, Watts has struggled with inaccurately crafted cylinders.
Boulton and Watt Factory Opened1774Matthew Boulton and James Watt open a steam-engine factory in Birmingham, England.Extremely important factory not just in terms of what it produced bt how. The Soho Foundry stood out from other factories of the day in the sophistication of its planning, its production processes and its management techniques; practicing concepts that wouldn't become commonplace until a century later
Watts Patent for Steam Engine1775Watt obtains a patent for his version of the steam engineThe steam engine saw widespread commercial use driving machinery in factories and mills, powering pumping stations and transport appliances such as railway locomotives, ships and road vehicles. Their use in agriculture led to an increase in the land available for cultivation.
Invention of Water Turbine1775Invention of a water turbine by Pierre GirardThe turbine adds swirl to water, an additional component of motion that allowed the turbine to be smaller than a water wheel of the same power. They could process more water by spinning faster and could harness much greater heads.
High Tolerance Cylinders1775Wilkinson improves the cylinder boring machine to produce high tolerance cylinders for Watt's steam engines.The work of Wilkinson is a good marriage for the work of Watts and Boulton and big leaps in design can now be made.
American Independence Declared1776American colonies of Britain declare their independenceChanged trading patterns between Britain and the colonists
Grand Trunk Canal opens1777Grand Trunk Canal establishes a cross-England route connecting the Mersey to the Trent and connecting the industrial Midlands to the ports of Bristol, Liverpool, and Hull.Trade routes opened up allowing goods to be transported more efficiently.
Turning lathe invented1778David Wilkinson US invents the turning latheThe turning lathe is an invention that will revolutionise the scope and precision of machine making tools.
Banks elected President Royal Society1778Joseph Banks elected President of the Royal SocietyBanks was one of the most influential thinkers of the time and important in the opening up of new settlements and trade routes for Britain.
First Steam Powered Mills Opened1779First steam powered mills. Crompton's "mule" combines Hargreaves' and Arkwright's machines, fully automating the weaving process.A leap forward in terms of textile manufacture.
First Iron Bridge built1779The first iron bridge is built which spans the River Severn at Coalbrookdale, largely with the encouragement and backing of Wilkinson and Darby.The determination to build an iron bridge rather than wood or stone, showed the art of the possible and led to more experimentation with iron built structures.
Watts invents rotary motion for his steam engine1781James Watt invents a rotary motion device for his steam engineWatt proceeded to develop his engine further, modifying it to provide a rotary motion suitable for driving factory machinery. This enabled factories to be sited away from rivers, and further accelerated the pace of the Industrial Revolution.
Arkwright builds a factory1781Arkwright builds a factory using his water frame for spinning, becoming the founder of the modern factory systemThe culmination of years of invention of large scale textile machinary. The final nail in the coffin of the cottage textile industry.
Steam powered paddle boat1781Steam powered paddle boat tested in France an invention of Marquis de JouffroyFurther advancing applications to which steam power could be put.
Herschel appointed Astronomer Royal1782William Herschel is appointed Astronomer RoyalAnother great thinker whose discoveries aided navigation
Double acting steam engine patented1782James Watt patents a double acting steam engine. Steam is admitted alternatively on both sides of the piston making the engine more efficientFurther refinements of the steam engine will bring the industrial revolution extra dynamism.
Pyrometer invented1782The pyrometer is invented by Josiah Wedgewood for checking the temperatures in pottery furnacesWedgwood realized that he needed some means of controlling the temperature in his kilns. Accordingly, he invented the pyrometer, the first tool capable of accurately measuring the very high temperatures used to fire ceramics. This invention earned him a place in the Royal Society in 1783.
Tull's seed drill improved1782Tull's seed drill was improved by adding gears to the rotary mechanism.Further improvements in agricultural machinary provides greater efficiency.
Hot Air Balloon Demonstrated1783The Montgolfier brothers demonstrate the hot air balloonRevolutionary idea of seeing the world from a great height, encouraged others to think about flight.
Bleached fabric produced1783Bleached fabric is possible through the introduction of Oxymuriatic AcidDemand for white fabric that can be printed on drives further design processes in textile industry.
Cylinder printing developed1783Cylinder printing of fabrics developed by Thomas BellReduced printing costs and increased efficiency and choice, small block prints could be transferred quickly and effectively to materials. Improvements in the technology resulted in more elaborate roller prints in bright, rich colours.
First Plough Making Factory in England1783The first plough making factory in England was opened.Iron ploughs are more efficient than wooden ones and mass production means more people can have access to them.
Water powered threshing machine1784Water-powered threshing machine developed by Andrew MeikleThis invention shows how mechanization can make agricultural processes more efficient.
Puddling method for producing wrought iron1784The puddling method of turning coke smelted iron into good wrought iron is developed by Henry CortMaking production of useful iron completely independent of the forest for the first time. His 'puddling furnace' produced molten iron that could be rolled straight away, while it was still soft, into rails for railways, pipes, or even sheet iron for shipbuilding.
Corts Iron Rolling Mill Perfected1784The iron rolling mill is perfected using grooved rollers Henry Cort.Perfect for producing iron for the docks in Portsmouth.
Bifocal Lenses Invented1784Bifocal lenses invented by Benjamin FranklinBifocal lenses would become one of the most useful inventions of all times and adopted by millions of people.
Iron plough developed1784Small developed an iron ploughIron ploughs will be stronger and more efficient than wooden ones.
First English balloon ascent1784First English balloon ascent by Vincent LunardiThe ascent encourages others to consider flight
Watts steam engine powers cotton mill1785Watt’s steam engine is first used to power a cotton mill.The application of the steam engine completely transforms manufacturing.
First Balloon Crossing of Channel1785First balloon crossing of the English Channel by Jean Pierre Blanchard Dr J. JeffriesAdvances in balloon flight capture and inspire the publics imagination
Water Powered Loom Patented1785Edmund Cartwright patents his water-powered loom.The water power loom will lead to the development of further power looms changing the dynamics in the textile industry.
Steam powered coin minting machine developed1786Matthew Boulton develops steam-powered coin-minting machinery.Further applications of steam power
Arkwright uses a Watt engine in a cotton mill1786Arkwright puts a Watt engine in the Albion cotton mill, Blackfriars Bridge, London.Showing how the industrial revolution was an intricate period where inventions and people fed off each other.
Nail making machine invented1786Machine for making nails invented by Ezekiel ReedNails had been hand made, millions were needed and so a machine that could mechanize the task would prove invaluable.
First Power Loom Built1787Cartwright builds a power loom.The power loom led to many women replacing men as weavers in the factories.
First iron barge built1787First iron barge builtBuilding on the success of the iron bridge, the iron barge shows a new way forward in boat building and releases boat builders from problems sourcing an ever dwindling supply of good quality timber.
Canal links Thames to the Bristol Channel1789Thames-Severn Canal links the Thames to the Bristol Channel.Linking two great British ports and furthering trade opportunities.
Workers burn down Manchester mill1791A Manchester mill orders 400 of Edmund Cartwright’s power looms, but workers burn down the mill because they fear losing their jobs.Workers fears and dissatisfaction with the textile revolution brings great concern to politicians and shows little chance of subsiding.
Coal gas used in domestic home1792William Murdock (James Watt's assistant) lights his home with coal gas.This will be pivotal in lighting the towns of Britain changing the working day and safety on the streets.
Cotton Gin Invented1793Eli Whitney develops his cotton gin (a device to clean raw cotton).After this invention, cotton becomes America's leading crop.
Telford Begins Iron Aquaducts1793Thomas Telford begins to build his two great iron aqueducts, over the Dee and the Cierog valleys.More advances in better iron production allows the material to be used in a number of different ways.
Spinning Mule Invented1799Compton invented the Spinning Mule, an improvement on the Spinning JennyFurther advances in the textile industry, a range of yarn thicknesses could be spun.
Combination Acts1799New Combination Acts outlaw trade unions which are repealed in 1824.Increases the workers hostility to factory owners and to parliament.
Steam Locomotive Demonstration1801Robert Trevithick demonstrates a steam locomotive.This demonstration will lead to one of the most pioneering inventions of all time, the railway.
Caledonian Ship Canal opens1803Caledonian Ship Canal cuts clear across Scotland via the Great Glen.Another important communication route opened.
First Steam Locomotive run on rails1804Trevithick runs a steam locomotive on rails in an ironworks.This invention will eventually allow goods and people to be transported quickly over large distances.
Rotherhithe Tunnel Started1807Richard Trevithick begins digging the Rotherhithe Tunnel.Means of crossing the River Thames are essential to the growth of London, the tunnel inspires others to make the attempt.
First Successful Steamboat1807Robert Fulton's Clermont first successful steamboat.Pioneering work which will speed up communication across the seas.
Canning Preservation Method Invented1809French confectioner Nicolas Appert invents canning as a preservation methodCanning will prevent sickness from eating rotten food and save the lives of many, especially troops in the field.
Luddite Riots1811Luddite riots: laborers attack factories and break up the machines they fear will replace them.The Luddites are very effective. The disturbances continued for another five years. The crisis was made worse by food shortages as the price of wheat increased, and by the collapse of hosiery and knitwear prices in 1815 and 1816. Various attempts were made to find a compromise, but problems remained until the middle of the nineteenth century, by which time the woollen industry had moved away from hand-production.
UK Corn Laws1815UK Corn laws established a series of statutes enacted between 1815 and 1846 which kept corn prices at a high level. This measure was intended to protect English farmers from cheap foreign imports of grain following the end of the Napoleonic Wars.The artificially high corn prices encouraged by the Corn Laws meant that the urban working class had to spend the bulk of their income on corn just to survive. Since they had no income left over for other purchases, they could not afford manufactured goods. So manufacturers suffered, and had to lay off workers. These workers had difficulty finding employment, so the economic spiral worsened for everyone involved.
Principle of the electric motor demonstrated1821Faraday demonstrates electro-magnetic rotation, the principle of the electric motor.This invention will become of the world's most important with applications too numerous to mention.
First mechanical computing machine1823English mathematician,Charles Babbage, develops his difference engine, a mechanical computing machine.This is an astonishing invention that prepared numerical tables by a technique known as the method of diffence. These tables still used to day but electronically and stored digitally. Babbage did the same just more slowly and mechanically.
Patent for waterproof cement1824Patent for Portland (waterproof) cementWithout waterproof cement structures such as the London sewer system, the docks and the tunnels under the Thames would not have been possible.
Brunel's Tunneling Shield1825Marc Brunel invents a tunnelling shield, making subaqueous tunnelling possible.This invention will solve many of the problems of tunneling under water.
Stockton Darlington Railway182525-mile long Stockton & Darlington Railway built by George StephensonThe beginning of the railway age
First Tunnel Under Thames1826Brunel builds the first subaqueous tunnel, under the Thames.Crossing the Thames has been an age old problem, Brunel's tunnel is an extraordinary achievement.
Berkeley Ship Canal1827Berkeley Ship Canal connects Sharpness (on the Severn) to Gloucester.The canal age will soon give way to rail.
Liverpool and Manchester first commercial railway1830The Liverpool and Manchester Railway begins first regular commercial rail service.Commercial rail services are in their infancy but this line is the start of a new direction in communications.
Electro Magnetic Current Discovered1831Faraday discovers electro-magnetic current, making possible generators and electric engines.A pivotal moment in physics, EM current will make possible an enormous number of inventions and advances.
Experiments on photography1834Fox Talbot produces photographs.Photography will grab the attention of the ordinary person unlike any other and become a popular part of everyday life.
Propeller Invented1835A screw propeller is proposed and prototypes built.The propeller is used by the military who see it as a considerable advance in ship handling and robustness in the face of enemy fire.
First Railway in London opened1836The first railway in London opened from Spa Road to Deptford, which formed part of the London and Greenwich Railway.The expansion of the railway in London will have an enormous impact on the society in the capital.
Morse Code invented1837Morse develops the telegraph and Morse Code
Communication will never be the same again, a quick and efficient method of passing messages
First Steam Plough Invented1837First steel plough built by John DeereA more durable plough than the iron plough
Grand Junction Railway opened1837The Grand Junction Railway opened in July between Birmingham and Warrington. This formed part of the first mainline linking London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.Major cities in Britain linked by rail creating more trade opportunities across the country.
Slavery abolished in British Empire1838Slavery is abolished in the British empireThe end of the despicable trade forces merchants to look for other goods to import and export.
People's Charter1838UK government People's Charter advocates social and political reformLed to Charterism, a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in the north of England, the east Midlands and South Wales.
Daguerrotype Invented1838Daguerre perfects the Daguerrotype.This invention was inspirational in developing both the art and science of photography.
First section of the GWR opened1838The pioneering Great Western Railway (GWR) opened its first section from Paddington to Maidenhead in June, using a 7 foot gauge.More railway expansion across Britain opening up the west.
London to Birmingham railway1838London-Birmingham railway was the first railway line into the capital city, with passengers disembarking in the newly-designed Euston station. The line precipitated the first of the great railway booms.The development of the railway moves at a tremendous speed across Britain.
Photographic paper introduced1839Fox Talbot introduces photographic paper.Photgraphic paper born out of the work done by Daguerre makes photography accessible to many people.
Invention of the bicycle1839Kirkpatrick Macmillan Invents the bicycleThe bicycle revolutionizes transport for the ordinary man and woman. It's impact on women's emancipation is greater than can ever be imagined.
Vaccination introduced1840Vaccination for the poor is introduced in the UKThe health of the nation will be changed forever as killer diseases such as small pox are brought under control.
Brunel's box tunnel1841Brunel's box tunnel between Chippenham and BathFurther civil engineering advances to complement the development of the railway.
Standard Screw Thread Introduced1841Standard screw thread introducedUntil this time structures and machines were built from parts sourced from different producers using different standards resulting in engineering failures.
First factory to manufacture superphosphate1842Sir John Bennet Lawes founded the first factory to manufacture superphosphate. This marked the beginning of the chemical fertilizer industryFertilizers will increase crop yields, essential to feed the worlds growing population.
Steamship Great Britain launched1843Great Britain, the first large, iron, screw-propelled steamship.This ship will lay down a marker for express voyages across the Atlantic
Morse's code used commercially1844Commercial use of Morse's telegraph (Baltimore to Washington).Telegraph revolutionizes communication
Sewing Machine Invented1845Elias Howe invents a sewing machineThis invention will lead to Singers mass produced sewing machine
Irish potato famine begins1845Irish potato famine beginsGives rise to mass migrations to America and Canada
UK Corn Laws repealed1846UK Corn Laws repealedThis measure removed protective duties which had helped to keep the price of bread high. Robert Peel had to resign, most of his party opposed. He is remembered as the prime minister who gave the working classes cheaper bread.
Reinforced concrete invented1849Monier develops reinforced concrete.Reinforced concrete allows engineers to build bigger and taller structures
Petrol refining first used1850Petrol (gasoline) refining first used.
A new fuel source whose impact will be huge and allow for the development of the combustion engine.
The Great Exhibition1851The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace a celebration of modern industry, technology and designThe exhibition showcases British goods around the world and is a huge boost for trade.
First practical sewing machine1851Singer invents first practical sewing machine.
The sewing machine will change the way of life for thousands of women, giving them work inside and outside the home.
Elevator safety brake invented1853Elisha Otis invents the elevator safety brake making skyscrapers possibleVital invention for skyward living
Smallpox Vaccination Compulsory1853An Act of Parliament in 1853 made smallpox vaccination compulsory in the UK.Leads to the eradication of smallpox from Britain.
Steel Converter Invented1854Bessemer invents steel converter.This newfound process had a massive impact on the British metal industry, which was the world’s major metal producing country at that time. Steel will change every person's life.
First Skyscraper built1855The first 10-story steel-girder skyscraper is built in Chicago.A fantastic achievement that allows for greater civil engineering proects.
Aniline Dyes Introduced1856W.H. Perkin produces aniline dyes, permitting brightly colored cottons.Another stimulus to the textile industry and a further push towards consumerism.
Pasteur experiments with fermentation1857Pasteur experiments with fermentation.Pasteur was one of the most important scientists in the field of biology and medicine. Based on his experiments, he associated fermentation with life which led him from studying molecular asymmetry to contagious diseases through fermentation.
Cathode Rays Discovered1858Cathode rays discovered.Pivotal discovery leading to the discovery of the electron.
The Origin of Species Published1859Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species
Evolution as described by Darwin turns science on it's head and creates a storm of debate
Open hearth process in steel industry1863The open hearth process revolutionizes steel productionSiemens-Martin open hearth process (along with the Bessemer converter) makes steel available in bulk. Steel begins to replace iron in building: steel framing and reinforced concrete make possible "curtain-wall" architecture i.e., the skyscraper.
London Metro Opened1863Worlds first Metro line, The London Underground, openedThe civil engineering methods of tunneling has created many possibilities, the underground will be around for a long time to come.
Telegraph cable laid under Atlantic Ocean1866The Great Eastern lays a telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean.The telegraph made little direct impact on most people's lives. It was a 'specialist' technology, owned by companies and operated by professionals. But the indirect impact of the telegraph was huge. Things started working more quickly and efficiently, starting with the railways and quickly extending to the transport of goods and materials.
Dynamite produced1867Alfred Nobel produces dynamite, the first high explosive which can be safely handled.Dynamite changes mining practise and warfare
Lister Introduces Antiseptics1867Joseph Lister writes on antiseptics in 'The Lancet'Antiseptics will revolutionize the practise of operative medicine.
Suez Canal opened1869Suez Canal opens, linking the Mediterranean and the Red SeaNew trade routes opened.
Invention of pasteurization1871Invention of pasteurization by Louis PasteurHis pasteurization process concluded that all fermentable liquid could be prevented from a spoiling with a special heating treatment. This helped prevent people from becoming ill from harmful bacteria.
Remington typewriter invented1873Christopher Sholes invents the Remington typewriter.The typewriter brought convinience and productivity to people everywhere. Most important was the impact on business, companies grew and expanded in unparalled ways because of this speed writing.
Laws of electro-magnetic1873
James Clerk Maxwell states the laws of electro-magnetic radiation
The enormity of this discovery heralded a new bastion of science. It pointed the way to the application of electromagnetic radiation for such present-day uses as radio, television, radar, microwaves and thermal imaging.
Telephone invented1876Bell invents the telephone.The invention of the telephone lead to development of city centers, office buildings and the concept of an urban worker society. It has lead to the creation and destruction of jobs. The need for positions such as messenger boys, telegraphers and, ironically, operators, became virtually unnecessary
Phonograph Invented1877Edison invents the phonograph.Before the invention of the phonoraph listening to music was a social event, now it could be enjoyed privately in the home, a new popular culture had been born.
Microphone Invented1878Microphone invented.An invention that had a fundamental effect on how sound could be shared and enjoyed leading to greater clarity in sound transmission
Incandescent Lamp Invented1879Edison invents the incandescent lamp.The practical incandescent light bulb is one of the most transformative patented inventions of all time. Safe, effective lighting became generally affordable for widespread residential use for the first time. Business operations also changed dramatically as workers were able to work more easily at night, eventually leading to shifts that could operate around the clock.
First milking machine invented1879The first milking machine. It was a vacuum device which eliminated labour from milking a cow.Reduced the number of people needed to look after dairy cattle and allowed for a cleaner and more efficient method of milking.
Machine Gun Invented1884Maxim invents the machine gun.The machine gun, making possible mass slaughter and beginning the mechanization of warfare.
First car to run with an internal combustion engine1885Benz develops first automobile to run on internal- combustion engine.The internal combustion engine will bring untold good and harm to society.
Radio waves produced1888Hertz produces radio waves.The discovery of Radio waves will be used to lead communication developments
X - Rays discovered1895
Roentgen discovers X-rays.
A momentous event that instantly revolutionized the fields of physics and medicine. The X-ray emerged from the laboratory and into widespread use in a startlingly brief leap: within a year of Roentgen's announcement of his discovery, the application of X-rays to diagnosis and therapy was an established part of the medical profession.
Wireless telegraph patented1896Marconi patents wireless telegraph.This invention will lead to an explosion in communication development.
Small atomic particles discovered1897Joseph Thomson discovers particles smaller than atoms.Modern physics is born and this leads ultimately to the atomic bomb
First powered flight1903Wright brothers make first powered flight.The impact of powered flight opens up the world to all who can afford it.
Ford mass produces an automobile1908Henry Ford mass-produces the Model T.The impact of the car on world society is as we know, enormous.