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THE YEARS OF REVOLUTION
Industrial Revolution. By the early 18th century simple machines had already been invented. With the help of the machines, large quantities of simple goods could be made quickly and cheaply.
By the middle of the 18th century industry began to use coal for changing iron ore into good quality iron or steel. This made Britain the leading iron producer in Europe. Increased iron production made it possible to manufacture new machinery for other industries. One invention led to another, and increased production in one area led to increased production in others. In the middle of the century other countries were buying British uniforms, equipment and weapons for their armies. To meet this increased demand, better methods of Production were found, and new machinery was invented which replaced handwork. In 1764 a spinning machine was invented which could do the work of
several hand spinners The weaving machine invented in 1785. It allowed Britain to make cheap cloth, and Lancashire cloths were sold in every continent.
Factories supplied with machinery did not need so many workers as before, and that created a serious problem: a lot of workers became unemployed. Workers tried to join together to protect themselves against powerful employers. Riots occurred, led by the unemployed who had been replaced at the factories by machines. In 1799 some of these rioters, known as Luddites,began breaking up the machinery which had put them out of work. The situation in the country was very tense. People were afraid of a revolution like the one in France.