Life During The Industrial Revolution

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The Industrial Revolution took place from the late 18th to mid 19th century. It was a time during which rural societies in Europe and America became urbanized and industrialized. Preceding the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing was mostly done in people’s homes, using handtools and simple machines. Industrialization was characterized by powered, specialized machinery, factories and mass production. Most notably, during the Industrial revolution, iron and textile industries boomed, the steam engine was developed, and improved systems of transportation, communication and banking arose (Calvert 5). A time of innovation and progress, the industrial revolution reinvented the world of manufacturing, thus creating the world economy we know today.…show more content…
Since metals were rarely available in sufficient quantity or quality, they could only be used as ornamentation. Pig iron, a very brittle metal only structurally stable in very large quantities, was the main type of metal used in buildings. It’s only practical applications were in pots, pans and occasionally fireplaces (Calvert 9). During the time approaching the Industrial Revolution, architectural styles consisted of revivals of previous periods, specifically Gothic revival architecture. This style of architecture mainly used stone to construct large buildings, resembling the towering Gothic cathedrals of the 12th century (Figure 1). Even when iron was used eventually in these buildings, it was considered unsightly compared to the “artistic” materials of wood and stone. Hence, it was often hidden behind these traditional materials (Kostof 568). Throughout the entire history of architecture leading up to the Industrial Revolution, architects and structure were limited by the capabilities of the materials that were available. Strong and longlasting metals were too costly to produce and use in large…show more content…
Furthermore, the most famous iron structure in the world, Eiffel Tower is a monument to the possibilities of wrought iron, and for a time, it was the tallest man­made structure on Earth (Kostof 597). As exhibited in these buildings, the materials brought into use by the Industrial Revolution pushed architecture to new, heights and strengths.
The first major applications of steel occurred in public works, namely railroads and bridges which quickly made the best use of it. The steel truss bridge, for example, was a cheap structure that made the building of railroad networks and comprehensive road networks possible. (Figure 5). Little material was required to build bridges and they were just as strong as their predecessors, making them reliable and economically efficient (Kostof 596).
As the uses of iron and steel expanded, the combination of old building materials such as stone and the new materials of iron and steel allowed for design and construction on a mass scale to reach new lengths in terms of structure, design, and stability. For example, the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, MO uses extremely long, self­supporting steel arches (Figure 6). The combination of new and old materials allowed these bridges to be much larger and stronger than would
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