Skip links

Industrial Revolution Timeline and Facts For Kids


Industrial Revolution was the social and economic changes that marked the transition from a stable agricultural and commercial society to a modern industrial society relying on complex machinery rather than tools. What years did the industrial revolution take place? It is used historically to refer primarily to the period in British history from 1700 to 1900 (although most might say it was actually 1760-1850). There has been much objection to the term because the word revolution suggests sudden, violent, unparalleled change, whereas the transformation was, to a great extent, gradual and took place over 200 years. Some historians argue that the 13th and 16th centuries were also periods of revolutionary economic change and should be classified as a revolution. However, in view of the magnitude of change and progression with inventions between 1700 and 1800, the term seems useful. Below you will find a timeline of the industrial revolution from 1700-1900 that includes inventions, facts, quotes, and information about this time in history. It will help you answer the question “what was revolutionary about the industrial revolution?”.

Timeline of the Industrial Revolution 1700-1900

1708: Jethro Tull’s mechanical (seed) sower permits large-scale planting in rows, for easier cultivation between the rows.

1709: Abraham Darby uses coke to smelt iron ore, replacing wood and charcoal as fuel.

1712: Thomas Newcomen builds first commercially successful steam engine. Able to keep deep coal mines clear of water.

1732: Jethro Tull publishes details of innovations such as the seed drill and the horse-hoe.

1733: John Kay of Bury patents the Flying Shuttle.

1738: Lewis Paul and John Wyatt take out a patent for their drafting rollers and the flyer-and-bobbin system.

1742: Wyatt and Paul open a mill in Birmingham utilising their new rollers.

1743: Wyatt and Paul open a spinning factory in Northampton with five machines of 50 spindles.

1748: Lewis Paul and Daniel Bourn each take out a patent for a carding engine.

1751: Construction of the Sankey-St Helens Canal begins. This cut pre-dates the Duke of Bridgewater’s canal by five years.

1754: John Kay invents an improved carding machine.

1760: George III crowned King of England.

1761: James Brindley’s Bridgewater Canal opens. Barges carry coal from Worsley to Manchester.

1762: Matthew Boulton opens his Soho engineering works in Birmingham.

1763: End of Seven Years’ War.

1764: Thomas Highs of Leigh builds the first spinning jenny.

1767: Blackburn’s James Hargreaves develops a spinning jenny, although his employer Robert Peel probably has much input.

1769: Arkwright patents the water frame, a development of Highs’s invention, that requires concentration of labour in a mill.

1770: Completion of Grand Trunk Canal, linking the Trent and Mersey. Birth of Beethoven.

1775: Watt’s first efficient steam engine, much more efficient than the Newcomen.

1779: First steam powered mills.

1787: Cartwright builds a power loom.

1789: Thames-Severn Canal links the Thames to the Bristol Channel.

1793Eli Whitney develops his cotton gin

1801: Robert Trevithick demonstrates a steam locomotive.

1802: Treaty of Amiens between England and France brings a temporary halt to the Napoleonic War.

1803: Cotton overtakes wool as Britain’s biggest export.

1804: Napoleon declared Emperor of France on May 20th.

1807: Robert Fulton’s Clermont first successful steamboat.

1808: As recession caused by the war tightens its grip, riots throughout Lancashire call for minimum wage.

1809: Peninsular War begins.

1811: Raw cotton consumption now 90 million pounds a year, having almost doubled in 10 years.

1814: Fall of Paris.

1815: Napoleon escapes and is restored to power but is finally defeated at Waterloo, ending Napoleonic Wars.

1820: Cato Street Conspiracy.

1821: Manchester deputy constable Joseph Nadin retires

1822: American William Church patents the first typesetting machine.

1824: Government repeals Combination Acts, first breach in battle to legalise trade unions.

1825: Manchester now has 104 cotton-spinning mills.

1826: April increasing use of power looms provokes riots by starving workless.

1827: Benoit Fourneyron develops the water turbine.

1828: Aug 1 opening of the eight-mile Bolton and Leigh Railway.

1829: May rioting in Manchester, Blackburn, Rochdale and other Northern towns by loom breakers.

1830: Sept 15 George Stephenson’s Rocket opens Liverpool-Manchester Railway, the world’s first passenger line.

1831November boards of health set up in Manchester and district as cholera advances.

1832: First case of cholera in Manchester recorded on May 17th.

1833: Government sets up inspectorate to ensure the Factory Acts are being adhered to.

1834: Poor Law Amendment Act, masterminded by Edwin Chadwick.

1836: In Texas, Battle of the Alamo.

1837: Victoria crowned Queen of England. Death of English landscape painter John Constable.

1838: Grace Darling, daughter of Farne Islands lighthouse keeeper, rescues survivors of the ship Forfarshire.

1841: Sir Robert Peel becomes Prime Minister.

1842: The Plug Plot

1843: Government lifts restrictions on the export of textile machinery.

1844: Receipts on Liverpool-Manchester railway reach £258,000 a year profits more than £136,000.

1845: Start of the Irish Potato Famine.

1846: Repeal of the Corn Laws.

1847: Government pass the Ten-Hour Act.

1848: Chartists hold Kennington Common meeting, masterminded by Feargus O’Connor.

1851: Crampton lays first successful submarine telegraph cable between Dover and Calais.

1853: Sir George Cayley constructs the world’s first man-carrying glider.

1855: Henry Bessemer invents process for making cheap steel from pig iron, in response to call for guns for Crimean War.

1857: Indian Mutiny.

1858: Laying of first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable.

1860: Road Locomotives Act restricts speed of road vehicles to 5mph.

1861: Start of the American Civil War.

1863: Football Association formed.

1865Abraham Lincoln assassinated.

1866: House of Commons pass the new Reform Bill.

1876: Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone and predicts that, one day, “every city in the United States will have one.”.

1877: Jesse Boot opens chemist’s shop in Nottingham, using mass-selling techniques to found the first chain stores.

1878: Edison patents the phonograph, using cylinders coated in tinfoil.

1879: Tay Bridge disaster in Scotland 70 die as bridge collapses while train is crossing.

1880: Invention of electric lightbulb.

1882: Committee formed to survey route for a ship canal between Manchester and the Mersey estuary.

1884: Charles Parsons patents the steam turbine.

1885: Parliamentary approval given for construction of Manchester Ship Canal.

1887: Work begins on Manchester Ship Canal.

1888: Nikola Tesla invents the alternating-current electric motor.

1892: Rudolf Diesel patents his heavy-oil engine.

1894: Manchester Ship Canal opened for sea-going vessels on January 1st.

1896Henry Ford manufactures his first motor car.

1897: Frederick Creed perfects the Creed Teleprinter for use in newspaper offices.

1900: Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin builds his first rigid airship.