Think You Know the Industrial Revolution?


By: John Payne

4 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Test your knowledge of the epoch that brought the world sustained economic growth and created the modern world.

In which industry were the early innovations of the Industrial Revolution concentrated?

The Industrial Revolution was primarily concentrated in the textile industry of northern England and Scotland in the 18th century, but it later spread both geographically and across economic sectors.


What Scottish inventor revolutionized early steam engines by introducing a separate condenser?

Watt also developed the concept of horsepower, and the electrical unit the watt is named for him.


What feminine name was given to the multi-spindle spinning frame invented by James Hargeaves in 1764?

The machine allowed one person to spin eight or more spools at once and made it possible for spinners to meet the increased demand for spun yarn.


What British city became particularly associated with the textile trade in the late 18th century?

Manchester grew from a population of less than 10,000 at the beginning of the 18th century to more than 70,000 at the end of it.


What John Kay invention allowed a single weaver to weave much wider fabrics and could be mechanized to create automatic looms?

The flying shuttle was patented in 1733 and helped propel development of automatic spinning machines, such as the Spinning Jenny.


What British industrialist helped found the Utopian socialist movement and instituted an eight hour day at his mill in New Lanark?

Owen instituted the eight hour day at his mills in 1817 with the slogan, "Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest."


What fossil fuel replaced wood as the primary energy source during the Industry Revolution?

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, coal was both abundant and easy to mine, and it produced more energy by weight than wood or other bio-fuels.


Who invented the Spinning Mule?

The invention combined the Spinning Jenny and the water frame and was capable of producing finer thread than hand spinning.


What is the name for a factory housing powered spinning or weaving machinery for the production of yarn or cloth from cotton?

Cotton mills were some of the first factories and were initially built near swift rivers or streams to power the machinery, but later came to rely on steam power.


What type of transportation facility was built across England and the United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries?

By using canals, the cost of shipping goods decreased dramatically. For instance, within a year of the Bridgewater Canal connecting Worsley to Manchester in 1761, the cost of coal in Manchester dropped by half!


What American invented the cotton gin?

The gin -- short for "engine" -- mechanized the process of removing the cotton from the seeds, dramatically lowering the cost of cotton production.


What name was given to the idea that if the South seceded, Great Britain and France would have to assist them to protect the importation of cotton to their textile industries?

One unfortunate consequence of the Industrial Revolution was it entrenched slavery in the American South through an increased demand for cotton. Nevertheless, when the South seceded, Britain and France found new sources of cotton and declined to intervene on the South's behalf.


What American inventor created the first viable steamboat?

In 1807, Fulton's steamboat the Clermont took passengers from New York City to Albany. Fulton would also later create a submarine and work on the first naval torpedoes.


The first planned factory town in the United States was named after businessman Francis Cabot Lowell in what state?

The early phases of the Industrial Revolution in the United States were concentrated in New England, and Lowell grew quickly to become an iconic industrial city.


What did Jethro Tull invent in 1701?

The invention distributed seeds evenly across a plot of land, instead of the haphazard manual distribution that prevailed before. The increase in agricultural production in seventeenth and eighteenth century Britain from such inventions freed up the resources necessary for industrialization to take hold more broadly.


In what field did Scottish engineer John McAdam make his mark?

McAdam developed a new system for building roads, which was named after him: "macadamisation." It involves laying crushed stone and gravel on a foundation of larger stones and giving the road a convex surface to allow water to drain away quickly.


On September 15, 1830, the world's first intercity railway was opened, connecting Manchester and what nearby English port city?

During the Industrial Revolution, Liverpool became the primary shipping point for the cotton processed in British mills.


What was the name for the political, economic, and social movements of the 19th century that originated in Manchester and advocated for free trade and laissez-faire?

The Manchester School was led by Members of Parliament Richard Cobden and John Bright, and they fought for the repeal of the protectionist "Corn Laws."


What economic system that held that domestic production of goods was preferred to free trade did Manchester liberals oppose?

Mercantilism prevailed across Europe during the Age of Exploration when the European powers stockpiled gold and silver bullion, but it lost favor as industrialization -- and the accompanying need for a common market -- spread.


What American inventor began to develop the idea of interchangeable parts when he demonstrated ten firearms all assembled from identical parts to the Congress?

Whitney did not produce interchangeable parts on a commercial level, but his company did so after his 1825 death.


What is the name for the method of manufacturing using machinery and division of labor and in which the means of production are typically owned by capitalists who employ laborers?

Before the Industrial Revolution, most manufacturing occurred in homes, and the capital was owned by small producers. The Industrial Revolution created economies of scale, lowering prices for consumers and increasing the size of firms through the Factory System.


By what factor did the population of Europe increase from 1700 to 1900?

The population of Europe quadrupled during the Industrial Revolution, from 100 million in 1700 to 400 million in 1900.


What name was given to workers who destroyed pieces of industrial technology to prevent (or as revenge for) having their jobs displaced?

Luddite attacks on factories and associated equipment began in 1811 and spread across Britain.


What type of organizations did the Combination Act of 1799 forbid in Great Britain?

The act forbade trade unions and collective bargaining until its repeal in 1824.


The Industrial Revolution dramatically decreased infant mortality. From 1730-1749, 74.5 percent of children died before age five. What was the percentage from 1810-1829?

As the basic necessities of life became more affordable, children began to live longer, and that trend spread worldwide and persists into the 21st century.


What was the first country in Continental Europe to experience the Industrial Revolution?

Thanks to rich coal deposits, Belgium began to industrialize in the 1820's -- well before countries such as France and Spain.


What two economic theorists argued that industrial capitalism alienated workers from the product of their labor and would therefore be overthrown in favor of Communism?

Marx and Engels, a factory owner himself, published the Communist Manifesto in 1848, urging, "Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!"


The beginning of the Second Industrial Revolution is generally dated to around 1850. What metal drove continued economic advances in this phase of the Industrial Revolution?

Sir Henry Bessemer developed a method to create steel of uniform quality from molten pig iron, allowing the development of railroads, automobiles, and interchangeable parts.


What American engineer and industrialist created the railroad sleeping car?

He manufactured the first Pullman sleeping car in 1864. Early the next year, one of his cars was used to transport the body of assassinated U.S. President Abraham Lincoln from Washington D. C. to his burial site in Springfield, Illinois.


What form of lighting started in London in 1812 and soon spread to the rest of Britain, as well as Europe and the United States?

The widespread use of gas lighting was pioneered by William Murdoch, an employee of Boulton and Watt, the firm that pioneered steam engines.


What event was held in London in 1851 as an exhibition of British industry and culture?

The Great Exhibition was the first in a series of World's Fairs and took place in the Crystal Palace Exhibition Hall, which showed off Britain's industrial advancement.


What British political party was founded in 1900 by merging several socialist and trade union parties?

The Labour Party grew quickly and supplanted the older Liberal Party by the 1920's. It formed a majority government under Clement Atlee after World War II.


What American inventor created the telegraph in 1836?

By 1861, telegraphs based upon Morse's system connected the east and west coasts of the United States.


What American industrialist pioneered assembly line production in the early 20th century?

By specializing his assembly line workers, Ford was able to drive down the cost of his Model T automobiles to a price that middle income Americans could afford.


The Industrial Revolution drove the process of urbanization worldwide. In 1800, three percent of the world's population lived in urban areas. Roughly what percentage lived in urban areas by the 21st century?

Improved agricultural equipment allowed fewer farm workers to produce more food, while factories in the cities provided new jobs and opportunities, drawing in labor from the countrysides.


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