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What The Industrial Revolution Did For Us - The Experts' Viewpoints

Updated Thursday 1st December 2005

What was so revolutionary about industry anyway? Find out in our articles on steel, rubber, lighting, time and bridges.

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One of the factors which made industrial development into an Industrial Revolution was the sheer number of new ideas and innovations which marked the period. These changes didn't happen in isolation - each leap forward made others possible. For example, innovations in lighting allowed changes to the length of the working day, and the coming of steam transportation made it vital for a single time zone for the entire country. So it was dozens, if not hundreds, of smaller revolutions, all interacting together which made up the Industrial Revolution. Here, our experts explore four of the areas which saw changes during the era:

Iron & Steel by Mike Fitzpatrick: Although iron was by no means new, new techniques allowed far more versatility in its application.

Rubber by Peter Lewis: Sap from Brazilian trees was to play a vital role in the development of new transport options.

Lighting by Peter Lewis: Without lighting, manufacturers would have been left with no option but to close down production over night. Gas - and later, electricity - allowed round-the-clock working.

Bridges by Peter Lewis: Innovative techniques allowed the creation of new, elegant solutions to the challenges of geography.

Time by Alun Davies: The Industrial Revolution brought with it both the demand for new ways of measuring time - and the means to fulfill that demand.

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