Industry 4.0 and The Fourth Industrial Revolution Explained

Industry 4.0 and The Fourth Industrial Revolution Explained

The Industrial Revolution was a period of major industrialization during the late 1700s and early 1800s. It began in Great Britain and spread throughout the world. It is a period that left a profound impact on how people lived and the way businesses operated. The factory systems developed during the Industrial Revolution are responsible for creating capitalism and the modern cities of today.

What is an industrial revolution?


According to the Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, In modern history, the industrial revolution is the process of change from an agrarian and handicraft economy to one dominated by industry and machine manufacturing. These technological changes introduced novel ways of working and living. Which fundamentally transformed society.

This revolutionary process began in Britain in the 18th century. From there spread to other parts of the world. Earlier by French writers, the term Industrial Revolution was first popularized by the English economic historian Arnold Toynbee (1852–83). This explains why some areas, such as China and India, did not begin their first industrial revolutions until the 20th century. While the United States and western Europe began undergoing II industrial revolutions by the late 19th century.

Characteristics of the Industrial Revolution


Industrial Revolution has three main features such as technological, socioeconomic, and cultural.

The technological changes included the following:

1. The use of new basic materials, iron, and steel,

2. The use of new energy sources, including both fuels and motive power. Such as coal, the steam engine, electricity, petroleum, and the internal-combustion engine,

3. The invention of new machines, such as the spinning jenny and the power loom. It increased production with a smaller expenditure of human energy,

4. A new organization of work known as the factory system. Which entailed the increased division of labor and specialization of function,

5. Important developments in transportation and communication include the steam locomotive, steamship, automobile, airplane, telegraph, and radio.

6. The increasing application of science to industry, made possible increased use of natural resources and the mass production of manufactured goods.

There were also many features in nonindustrial spheres, new developments as mentioned below:

1. Agricultural improvements. That made possible the provision of food for a larger non-agricultural population.

2. Economic changes that resulted in a wider distribution of wealth. Also, the decline of land as a source of wealth in the face of rising industrial production, and increased international trade.

3. Political changes reflect the shift in economic power, as well as new state policies. These are corresponding to the needs of industrialized society,

4. Sweeping social changes. It includes the growth of cities, the development of working-class movements, and the emergence of new patterns of authority, and

5. Cultural transformations of a broad order. Workers acquired new and distinctive skills, and their relation to their tasks shifted. Instead of being craftsmen working with hand tools, they became machine operators, subject to factory discipline.

Impact of the industrial revolution


1. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain. It began with new developments in the textile industry. Before this revolution, making cloth was a slow process. After the wool was gathered it had to be spun into yarn and then woven into fabric by hand. But a machine used called a spinning jenny made it easier to spin yarn. These devices permitted increased production with a smaller expenditure of human energy.

2. Other changes that helped bring about the Industrial Revolution included the use of steam, and later of other kinds of power, in place of the muscles of human beings and of animals.

3. Another key development was the adoption of the factory system. This system of manufacturing is based on the concentration of industry into specialized and large establishments.

4. The Industrial Revolution brought about sweeping changes in economic and social organization. These changes included a wider distribution of wealth and increased international trade.

5. With this many people could no longer earn their living in the countryside. Increasingly, people moved from farms and villages into bigger towns and cities to find work in factories.

Where Did the Industrial Revolution Take Place?


The industrial revolution began in Great Britain in the late 1770s and then slowly spread across the world over the span of a few centuries.

The first regions of the world where the industrial revolution happened were Western Europe, then North America, followed by Eastern Europe and Asia.

overview of some countries where the industrial revolution took place:

1. Industrial Revolution in Europe:

The first European countries to be industrialized after England were Belgium, France, and German states. Belgium was the second country in Europe in which the industrial revolution took place. It is the first nation in continental Europe. Belgium became the world’s second industrial power, after Britain.

In France, industrialization was slower, due to its lack of coal and iron. By the end of the 19th century, the majority of French workers were still employed in non-manufacturing jobs. When France did industrialize, textile and furniture manufacturing became the dominant industries.

In Germany, industrialization was also slow, due to the region being divided into several independent states. But Germany became a global leader in chemical research in industrial and university labs.

2. Industrial Revolution in America:

The industrial revolution in America began after two textile manufacturers, Samuel Slater and Francis Cabot Lowell. They introduced mechanized textile manufacturing to the United States in the late 1790s and early 1800s.

The factory techniques used in their textile mills were then applied to other types of manufacturing in the United States. Which further spurred industrialization in the country.

During the first industrial revolution, industrialization was more prevalent in the northern states. While the south remained agrarian.

3. Industrial Revolution in India:

The industrial revolution came late to India.

The Indian textile industry took a hit when the industrial revolution began in Great Britain.

The use of steam power in British mills reduced the cost of British cotton by 85 percent. Importantly, making its textile goods internationally competitive for the first time. Britain quickly became a leading world exporter of textiles. It displaces India in the process.

New colonial laws forced Indian farmers to devote most of their fields to cotton crops. Which led to widespread famine and poverty in India.

Hence, the industrial revolution reversed India’s economic relationship with Great Britain. So that it was now merely a supplier of raw materials for Great Britain and an importer of British textiles, instead of a producer of textile goods.

I, II, III & IV Industrial Revolutions


First Industrial Revolution:

The First Industrial Revolution was about coal, water, and steam. It brought with it the steam engine and innovations that enabled the large-scale manufacturing of goods and products. The large scale manufacturing such as textiles. Moreover, its impact on civilization was immense. After that no longer centered around villages, farming, and the local crafting of goods. People flocked to cities to work in factories under low wages and in terrible conditions.

Second Industrial Revolution:

The II Industrial Revolution came about with the invention of electricity and enabled mass production. Dating from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, from this phase emerged the internal combustion engine, and thus the automobile. The period was marked with increased use of steel and eventually petroleum. Also the harnessing of electric current. It allowed much of the progress of the first industrial revolution to move beyond cities. It helps to achieve scale across countries and continents.

Third Industrial Revolution:

The Third Industrial Revolution was all about computers. From the 1950s, computers and digital systems enabled new ways of processing and sharing information. Transistors, microprocessors, robotics, and automation not to mention the internet. Mass communications would allow for the ultimate in scale: globalization.

Fourth Industrial Revolution:

This industrial revolution is also called the cyber revolution.

1. A fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third. The third revolution is the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. A fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

2. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country.

3. The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. These possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields. For example artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, etc.

Why Industrial Revolution is important for Society?


1. The Industrial Revolution created an increase in employment opportunities. Wages at factories were higher than what individuals were making as farmers.

2. As factories became large, extra managers and employees were required to operate them. It increases the supply of jobs and wages.

3. Increased innovation also led to higher levels of motivation and education. This resulted in several ground-breaking inventions still used today. These inventions include the sewing machine, X-ray, lightbulb, calculator, and anesthesia.


Industrial Revolution helped to create the modern worldview through the proper use of science and technology. The nation saw the first combustible engine, incandescent light bulb, and modern assembly line used in manufacturing. It changed how people worked, the technologies available to them, and often where they lived. It made life comfortable for many.

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