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NCERT History chapter 4 The Age of Industrialisation class 10 notes by Vibha Maam | English

class 10 history chapter 4 notes, age of industrialisation notes, the age of industrialisation class 10 notes
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This post contains notes of the age of Industrialisation chapter of class 10 history how, the Industrialisation of Britain was the first industrialisation and then India, where the pattern of industrial change was conditioned by Colonial rule.

Before the Industrial Revolution

 Proto industrialization

We associate industrialisation with the growth of the factory industry.

Even before factories began in England and Europe, there was large-scale industrial production for an international market. This was not based on factories. This phase of industrialisation is referred to as proto-industrialisation.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, merchants from the towns in Europe began moving to the countryside, supplying money to peasants and artisans, persuading them to produce for an international market. because crafts and trade were controlled by Guilds in towns.

It was therefore difficult for new merchants to set up business in towns. so they turned  to the countryside. In the countryside poor peasants and artisans began working for merchants. Merchants offered advances to peasants to produce goods for them. 

Peasants were able to continue their cultivation along with production work from home with the help of family members. Income from proto-industrial production supplemented their shrinking income from cultivation.

Within this system a closed relationship developed between the town and the countryside. Merchants were based in towns but the work was done mostly in the countryside.

The finishing was done in London (finishing centre) before the export, and the merchant sold the cloth in the international market. This proto-industrial system was thus part of a network of commercial exchange. It was controlled by merchants and the goods were produced in family farms. Each merchant was controlling hundreds of workers.

The coming up of the factory

The earliest factories in England came up by the 1730s. The first symbol of the new era was cotton. Its production boomed in the late 19th century.

In the 18th century, a series of inventions increased the efficacy of each step of the production process.  The cotton mill was invented by Richard  Arkwright. These costly machines could be purchased, set up and maintained in the mill. Within the mill all the processes were brought together under one roof and management. This allowed more careful supervision over the production process.

The Pace of Industrial Change


Cotton was the most leading sector in the first phase of industrialisation up to the 1840s. With the expansion of railways in England between 1840 and 1860s, the demand for iron and Steel increased rapidly.

By 1873 Britain was exporting iron and steel double the value of its cotton export.


The new industries could not easily displace traditional industries. Only 20% of the total workforce was employed in technologically advanced industrial sectors till the end of the 19th century.

In the textile sector, a large portion of the output was produced in domestic units. 


The place of change in the traditional industries was not set by steam-powered cotton or metal industries but they did not remain entirely stagnant either.


Technological changes occurred slowly. new technology was expensive and the new machines often broke down and repair was costly.

James Watt improved the steam engine produced by NewComen and patented the new engine in 1781.

At the beginning of the 19th century, there were no more than 321 steam engines all over England besides textile industries and mining. Steam engines were not used in any other industries till much later in the century.

Hand Labour and Steam Power

In Britain, industrialists had no problem with labour shortages or high wage costs because poor peasants and wanderers moved to the cities in search of jobs.

In many industries the demand for labour was seasonal. In all such industries like book binding, printer, catering ,where production fluctuated with the season.

A range of products could be produced only with hand labour. machines were oriented to producing uniforms, standardized goods for a mass market.

The upper class aristocrats preferred handmade clothes because they were better finished and carefully designed. Machine-made goods were for export to the colonies.

Life of workers

The abundance of labour in the market affected the lives of workers. Many job seekers had to wait weeks, spending nights under bridges or in night shelters. Seasonality of work in many industries meant prolonged periods without work. 

Wages increased somewhat in the early 19th century till mid 19th century about 10% of the urban population were extremely poor.

The fear of unemployment made workers hostile to the introduction of new technology. When the spinning Jenny was introduced in the woolen industry, women began attacking the new machines.

After the 1840s, building activity intensified in the cities, opening up greater opportunities of employment.

Industrialisation in the colonies

Before industrialization, India dominated the international market in textiles. India was the one who produced fine cotton. Surat on the Gujarat coast connected India to the gulf and red sea ports, Masulipatam on the Coromandel coast and Hooghly in Bengal had trade links with Southeast Asian parts.

A variety of Indian merchants and bankers were involved in this network of export trade, financing production, carrying goods and supplying exporters. Supply merchants gave advances to weavers to procure the woven cloth from weaving villages and carried the supply to the ports.

European companies gradually gained power and monopoly rights to trade; this resulted in a decline of the old ports of Surat and Hooghly through which local merchants had operated. new ports Bombay and Calcutta totally controlled by European companies trade began through these ports.

What happened to weavers

The East India company was keen on expanding textile exports from India. but they had found it difficult to ensure a regular supply of goods for export.

The French, Dutch, Portuguese as well as the local traders competed in the market to secure woven cloth. however once the East India company established political power, it could assert a monopoly right to trade. They took various steps to control the trade.


To control the weavers, the company appointed Gomasthas (paid servants) to supervise weavers and check the quality of clothes.


The company implicated weavers through the advance system, if the weavers took a loan, he had to hand over the cloth to the gomasthas. They could not take it to any other dealer. As credit flowed in and demand for fine cloth increased,weavers eagerly took advances in the hope of earning more.

Now he had to lease land and devote all his time to weaving. However soon reports of clashes between weavers and gomasthas began to emerge in many weaving villages.

Early supply merchants often lived within weaving villages and had close relationships with the weavers, taking care of their needs and helping them in times of crisis whereas new gomasthas were outsiders and had no social ties to the village. They acted arrogantly and punished the weavers for delays in supplies. Weavers lost the space to negotiate prices and sell to different buyers. The price he received from the company was extremely low and the loan he accepted tied him to the company.

In many places in Karnataka and Bengal weavers left villages and migrated, and set up looms in other villages . Elsewhere weavers along with village traders rebelled against the company and its passing the time, many weavers began refusing loans, closed the workshops and took agricultural work.

Manchester comes to India

As the cotton industry grew in England, industrial groups began to worry about imports from other countries. They put pressure on the government to impose import duties on cotton textiles so that Manchester goods can be sold in Britain and do not have to face any competition from outside. 

At the same the industrialist persuaded the East India company to sell British goods in the Indian market as well. exports of British cotton goods increased dramatically in the early 19th century.

Cotton weavers in India had to face two problems at the same time; first their export market collapsed and second, the local market shrank due to machine made goods of Manchester.

By the 1860s, weavers faced new problems: they could not get sufficient supply of raw cotton of good quality. During the American civil war the cotton supplies from the USA were cut off and Britain had to move to India for raw cotton. Indian weavers were deprived of supplies and forced to buy raw cotton at high prices. they could not pay for it.

Factories came up

In 1854, the first cotton mill came up in Bombay. The first jute mill came up in Bengal in 1855 and another one in 1862.  In North India, the Elgin Mill was started in Kanpur in the 1860s, and the first cotton mill of Ahmedabad was set up in 1861. The first spinning and weaving mill of Madras began production.

The Early Entrepreneurs

The British in India began exporting opium to China and took tea from China to England. In Bengal, Dwarkanath Tagore made his fortune in the China trade.

In Bombay Parsis like Dinshaw Petit and Jamshedji Nasarwan Ji Tata built huge industrial empires in India. Seth HukumChand a marwari businessman who set up the first Indian jute mill in Calcutta in 1917 like his father and grandfather GD Birla.

Some merchants from Madras traded with Burma while others traded in with the Middle East and East Africa. There were some commercial groups that operated banking, transferring funds and financing traders within India.

As colonial control over Indian trade tightened, the operational gap between India traders became increasingly limited. They were barred from trading manufactured goods with Europe and had to export mostly raw material which was required by the British. They were also gradually driven out of the shipping business.

The European merchant-industrialists had their own chambers of commerce which Indian businessmen were not allowed to join.

Where did the workers come from

With the expansion of factories workers demand increased. In most industrial regions workers came from the district around. Peasants and artisans who found no work in villages went to the cities in search of work. Over time, as news of employment spread, workers travelled great distances in search of jobs in the mills.

Industrialists usually employed a jobber to get new recruits. The jobber therefore became a person with some authority and power.

The peculiarities of industrial growth

When Indian businessmen began setting up industries in the late 19th century. They avoided competing with Manchester goods in the Indian market. The early cotton mills produced coarse cotton yarn (thread) rather than fabric. This Yan was used by handloom weavers in India or exported to China.

When the Swadeshi movement gained momentum nationalist mobilised people to boycott foreign cloth. so industrialists began shifting from yarn to cloth production. cotton goods production in India doubled between 1900 and 1912.

During the first world war British mills were busy with war production to meet the needs of the army. Manchester import into India declined after the war. Manchester could never regain its old position in the Indian market.

Within the colonies, local industrialists gradually consolidated their position, substituting foreign manufactures and capturing the home market.

Small scale industries predominate

While factory industries grew steadily after the war. Most of them were located in Bengal and Bombay. small scale production dominated the rest of the country.

While cheap machine-made thread destroyed the spinning industry in the 19th century weavers survived despite the problems.  In the 20th century handloom cloth production expanded steadily.

How did this happen?

Handicrafts people adopt new technology to improve production. by the second decade of the 20th century weavers using looms with a Fly Shuttle. This increased productivity per worker. speeded up production  and reduced labour demand.

There were several other small innovations that helped weavers improve their productivity and compete with the mill sector.

Amongst weavers some produced coarse cloth while others wove finer varieties. The coarse cloth was brought by the poor and its demand fluctuated with their economic situation. The demand for the fine clothes bought by the rich was more stable. 

Moreover, mills could not imitate specialized weaves. sarees with woven borders,famous lungies and handkerchiefs of Madras could not be easily displaced by mill production.

Weavers and other crafts people who continued to expand production well into the 20th century, lived hard lives and worked long hours. their life and labour was integral to the process of industrialisation.

Market for goods

When new products are produced people have to be persuaded to buy them. Advertisement is the best way to allure the consumers. Advertisements make products appear desirable and necessary.

When Manchester industrialists began selling cloth in India they put labels on the cloth bundles.

The label was also to be a mark of quality. When buyers saw “MADE IN MANCHESTER”¬† written in bold on the label, they were expected to feel confident about buying the cloth.

The labels carry images and were very often beautifully illustrated images of Indian God and goddesses regularly appearing on the label. On these labels it was as if God’s cooperation gave divine approval to the goods being sold.

By the late 19th century, manufacturers were printing calendars to popularised their products. They were hung in tea shops and poor homes to see advertisements throughout the year. In these calendars gods were being used to sell new products.

Such as images of deities, figures of  important persons, figures of emperors and nawabs adorned advertisements and calendars the message often stated,if you respect this royal person then respect this product too.

When Indian manufacturers advertised the nationalist message was clear and loud. If you care for the nation then buy products that Indian products advertisement became a vehicle of the nationalist message of Swadeshi.


The age of industries means major technological changes, the development of factories and the creation of a new industrial labour force. However technology and small scale production remain an important part of the industrial landscape.

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20 days ago

very helpful notes

Written by Vibha Singh

Story Teller and Proud Teacher

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