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In the chapter “The Age of Industrialisation”, students will see the situation before the Industrial Revolution happened. They will get to know about the changes that took overtime including the setting up of factories, labour, etc. Also, there is the explanation of other concepts such as industrial growth, worker’s life, Industrialisation in the colonies, the market for goods, etc.
Explain the following:
Women workers in Britain attacked the Spinning Jenny.
- There was widespread unemployment in Europe. In the periods of economic crises, like the decade of 1830s, the proportion of unemployed increased by 35 to 75 per cent in several regions.
- When the Spinning Jenny was introduced in the woollen industries of Britain, the workers opposed it. By turning one single wheel, a worker could set in motion a number of spindles and spin several threads at the same time. It reduced the demand for labour.
- The workers feared that they would be deprived of their jobs. Therefore, women workers in Britain, who were mostly hand-spinners, attacked the Spinning Jenny machines.
Explain the following:
In the seventeenth century merchants from towns in Europe began employing peasants and artisans within the villages.
Explain any three major problems faced by new European merchants in setting up their industries in towns before the Industrial Revolution.
In the seventeenth century, the international trade expanded and colonies were acquired in different parts of the world. Consequently, the demand for goods began growing.
- The merchants were not able to expand production within towns. Crafts and trade guilds in towns were very powerful. These were associations which trained people, regulated production and prices, as well as protected the interests of skilled labour.
- The rulers and nobles had granted monopoly rights to the guilds to produce and trade in specific products. It was, therefore, difficult for new merchants to set up their businesses in towns.
- Therefore, the merchants began employing peasants and artisans within the villages. These local artisans were persuaded to produce quality goods for the international markets.
Explain the following:
The port of Surat declined by the end of the eighteenth century.
“The old port of Surat declined by the end of the 18th century”. Explain the statement by giving three reasons.
Why had the Surat port declined by the end of 18th century? Explain any three reasons.
- Before the age of industrialisation, silk and cotton goods from India dominated the international markets. Coarse varieties of cloth were produced in many countries, but the finer ones came mostly from India. The Armenian and Persian merchants took goods from Punjab to Afghanistan, eastern Persia and Central Asia.
- Surat on the Gujarat coast connected India to the Gulf and Red Sea ports. However, by the end of the eighteenth century, the European powers had gained power and established new centres of trade.
- The European powers first received a variety of concessions from the local kingdoms and rulers. Eventually, they succeeded in securing monopoly rights over trade in certain goods. This resulted in decline of the trade activities carried out by local merchants. The older modes of economic exchange were recast and the Indian ports like Surat began to decline.
Explain the following:
The East India Company appointed gomasthas to supervise weavers in India.
- Before 1760s, the British cotton industries had not expanded and Indian textiles were in great demand in Europe. So, the East India Company wanted to expand textile exports from India. However, this was not an easy task.
- The French, Dutch, Portuguese and the local traders competed in the market to get woven cloth. So, the weavers and supply-merchants could bargain and sell their produce to the best buyer.
- The English East India Company tried to establish a more direct control over the weavers. Therefore, it appointed gomasthas to instruct the weavers, check the quality of produce as well as manage supplies. Hence, the gomasthas were the middlemen or intermediaries between the Company and the weavers. They served as important links between the colonial merchants and the local weavers.
At the end of the nineteenth century, 80 per cent of the total workforce in Europe was employed in the technologically advanced industrial sector.
The international market for fine textiles was dominated by India till the eighteenth century.
The American Civil War resulted in the reduction of cotton exports from India.
The introduction of the fly shuttle enabled handloom workers to improve their productivity.
Explain what is meant by proto-industrialisation.
Proto-industrialisation denotes the first or the early phase of industrialisation. Manufacturing took place on a large scale for an international market. This production, however, did not take place in the factories. Production in the factories was a later development. Goods were earlier produced by a vast number of labourers working in their family farms or cottages. The mass production of goods in the factories came later. This phase of industrialisation is thus referred to as proto-industrialisation by many historians.
Why did some industrialists in nineteenth-century Europe prefer hand labour over machines?
Why did some industrialists in Europe prefer manual labour over machines in the 19th century?
Some industrialists in nineteenth-century Europe preferred manual labour over machines because of the following reasons:
- There was no shortage of human labour. Many poor peasants and labourers moved to the cities in search of work. Hence, there was plenty of labour and the wages paid to them were low. So, the industrialists did not face the problems of labour shortage or high wage costs. They did not want to introduce machines that would require large capital investment.
- In most of the industries, the labour demand was usually seasonal. For example, breweries and gas works were busy during the cold months. In the peak months, labour was in high demand.
- Some other industries which required more labour in a particular season included book-binding, printing and repairing of ships. The owners of such industries preferred to employ a large number of labourers in particular seasons.
- A variety of products could be produced only with the use of manual labour. Machines could be used to manufacture uniform and standardised goods for huge markets. The demand for certain goods was not that high. It was therefore, imperative to use hand labour for production.
- The upper classes, the aristocrats and the elite preferred things made by hand. Handmade products were especially made which symbolised elegance and luxury. They were carefully designed and intricately made which were different from machine-oriented products.
How did the East India Company procure regular supplies of cotton and silk textiles from Indian weavers?
- The East India Company tried to break the monopoly of the existing traders and brokers who traded in cloth. The British aimed at establishing direct control on the weavers. The Company, therefore, appointed officials (or gomasthas) to strictly supervise the weavers. These officials ensured that cloth supplies reached the European traders on time.
- The Company decided to deal with the weavers through the system of advances. This helped them eliminating the competition from other buyers and merchants. The order was placed to the weavers through the gomastha. Loans were given to buy the raw materials. The weavers were then bound to sell their produce to the Company officials. Since they were given advance loans, they could not have sold the surplus to some other buyer.
Imagine that you have been asked to write an article for an encyclopaedia on Britain and the history of cotton. Write your piece using information from the entire chapter.
Before the Industrial Revolution, cloth production in Britain was widespread in the countryside. It was mainly carried out in village households. Merchants from towns generally visited these villages. They provided money to the weavers and persuaded them to produce cotton cloth. After the Industrial Revolution occurred in Britain, the production of cotton increased manifold. It was a result of a number of changes that occurred in the production process. The newly-invented machines and equipment began to be used in each step of the production process—carding, twisting, spinning and rolling. They not only enhanced the output per worker, but also made the production of strong yarns and threads possible.
Richard Arkwright set up a cotton mill where costly machines were used and maintained. All production processes were brought together under one roof and management. This led to careful supervision of production processes and the labourers. Thus, cotton production became the most dynamic industry in Britain. It developed at a rapid pace and marked the first phase of industrialisation till the 1840s.
Although the cotton industry in Britain had enlarged, the demand for the Indian textiles did not fall considerably. Indian weavers produced fine varieties of textiles and no other country could compete with that quality. This was a cause of worry for several industrialists in Britain. They influenced the government to impose import duties on cotton textiles to eliminate external competition and support domestic production. At the same time, they induced the East India Company to sell British goods in the Indian markets. As a result, the exports of British cotton goods increased. At the end of the eighteenth century, cotton piece-goods were not imported into India. However, by 1850, cotton piece-goods amounted to about 31 per cent of the Indian imports, which further rose to 50 per cent in the 1870s.
Why did industrial production in India increase during the First World War?
The First World War broke out in 1914. Before the war, industrial growth in India was slow. The outbreak of war created new demands and necessities. Most of the British mills directed production towards meeting the needs of the British armies. Consequently, British imports into India declined. It provided a chance to the Indian industries to produce goods for domestic consumption.
Moreover, the British mills were unable to cater to the war needs of the British. As the war prolonged, the Indian factories were induced to supply the war materials. This increased the local manufacture of jute bags, leather boots, tents, saddles as well as cloth for uniforms. As a result, many new factories were set up in which a large labour force was employed. Hence, there was a substantial increase in industrial production in India during the war.
Imagine that you are a merchant writing back to a salesman who has been trying to persuade you to buy a new machine. Explain in your letter what you have heard and why you do not wish to invest in the new technology.
I would not like to invest in the new technology because of the following reasons:
- It requires a huge investment.
- Machines often break down and their cost of repairing is generally very high.
- The use of new machines and technology cannot meet the specific demands of some consumers.
- Handmade goods are usually of high quality.
- Due to seasonal nature of the industry, it is suitable to employ manual labour.
On a map of Asia, find and draw the sea and land links of the textile trade from India to Central Asia, West Asia and Southeast Asia.