World History 2 147 - 10.1 Inventions, Innovations, and Mechanization

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the effects on everyday life of the major innovations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
  • Analyze the ways in which technology and mechanization affected the industrial work experience
  • Explain how the working-class family changed because of industrialization

Before the nineteenth century, life changed little from one era to the next. Generations of people worked on farms, rising when the sun did and going to sleep when it set. They had relatively little in the way of material possessions: clothing, furniture, tools. If they did not live on isolated farms, they inhabited small villages and usually did not venture far from the place where they were born. They raised enough food to feed themselves and sold any surplus in market towns, using their earnings to buy only the handcrafted goods they could not make for themselves. They had just a few years of schooling, if that. When they fell ill, they prayed because they knew there was little doctors could do. In the world’s few large cities like London and Paris, scientific discoveries were made, but they had little effect on the majority of the population. Beautiful works of art were sculpted or painted, music composed, and poems written, but before the Industrial Revolution, most ordinary people never saw, heard, or read them. All that changed in the nineteenth century, as new forms of technology and new sources of power transformed the way people in industrialized nations lived.

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The content of this course has been taken from the free World History, Volume 2: from 1400 textbook by Openstax