The Real Origins of the Industrial Revolution

The Real Origins of the Industrial RevolutionHistorically, the Industrial Revolution is said to have started in England from 1760 to 1840. However, many historians recognize that the real origins go back much further to medieval times. The medieval spirit of technological innovation was highly developed and set in motion processes that later gave rise to the changes that are associated with the Industrial Revolution. Thus, the eighteenth century technology changes might be more accurately called an effect of medieval technology, and not their own cause.

Historian Sam Lilley explains that “the technological changes of the Middle Subscription8.11Ages were greater in scale – by a very large factor – and more radical in kind than any since the start of civilization. It would not be surprising if they should be found to have played a major part in promoting the sequence of economic, social and political changes that led, in the very long run, to the Industrial Revolution” (Sam Lilley, “Technological Progress and the Industrial Revolution 1700-1914,” Carlo M. Cipolla ed., The Industrial Revolution 1700-1914, Harvester Press/ Barnes & Noble, New York, 1976, p. 214).