Jennifer YulfoMr. SotakHonors English 95 January 2018 The Best of Times and The Worst of Times”The Industrial Revolution has tended to produce everywhere great urban masses that seem to be increasingly careless of ethical standards” (Babbitt 139). The Industrial Revolution was a time of new production methods with extraordinary results in mass production. New travel options such as steamboats,railroads, and automotive vehicles with groundbreaking speeds and cheaper means of transportation were invented and coming into use. Notwithstanding the astounding accomplishments of the time, the Industrial Revolution was also a time of horrendous ethical standards. The use of child labor and harsh working conditions were not uncommon. The Industrial Revolution proved to be the best of times because of faster, cheaper production and better, cheaper travel options but also the worst of times because of child labor, harsh working conditions, and extremely low pay wages. As a result of new production techniques and a new way of thinking, transportation options became cheaper, faster, and more efficient. Some models of cars were being mass produced because of  new production methods such as the assembly line. The assembly line was created to manufacture items quicker. Essentially, the assembly line pulled the car past each man in the line by a system of pulleys slow enough for each man to assemble one article on the car such as a wheel, axle, or door (Nardo United States 63). Because of Ford’s assembly line the time it took to build a car went down from more than twelve hours to two hours and thirty minutes. The year after that the time was shortened to one hour and thirty-three minutes. (DiBacco 125). The assembly line and Ford’s car showed to be a major triumph. Ford sold ten thousand Model T’s in 1908, its initial year on the market. The following year after that Ford sold a astounding eighteen thousand. Furthermore, high sales allowed Ford to lower the Model T’s price from $825 to $575 by 1912 (Nardo United States 62), and because of the mass production of cars, by 1925 the Model T was a low $290 (DiBacco 129). Later on in 1961, Ford made and sold seven hundred thirty-nine thousand. T Models. This was one half of all the cars manufactured in the United States. Each year after that they experienced similar numbers. In 1927 the company ceased producing Model T’s and more than 15 million had been sold. It was an amazing triumph even by today’s standards (Nardo United States 63). In addition to faster, cheaper, and more efficient production methods, the development of faster, better, and more reliable travel options during the Industrial Revolution made it the best of times. The production of steam locomotives helped create faster, cheaper, and timetabled transportation. During the Industrial Revolution the first steam locomotive to travel by railroads was developed. “In 1830, England’s Liverpool and Manchester Railway became the first to offer regular, timetabled passenger services” (“Industrial Revolution”). Timetable transportation services before this time were unheard of and very rare. In England the new steam locomotives lowered the cost of shipping by carriage by sixty to seventy percent (“Early Railroads”). Americans were amazed by this and when the United States began using railroads in 1833,  a 40- mile canal trip that took all day was lessened to a 17- mile trip that took less than an hour by the use of railroads (“Early Railroads”). Additionally, during this time steamboats were also coming into use. The invention of the steamboat during the Industrial Revolution was a major accomplishment. The steamboats had a steam engine which turned a paddle in the back of the boat. Some steamboats had two paddles to help the boat move even faster. The steam engine and paddles helped the boat move up and down rivers. Steamboats could go downstream twice as fast as the previously used flatboats. Astoundly, Steamboats could also go upstream, which the flatboats before them could not (“Steamboats”). Steamboats could provide comfortable and fast transportation. Many steamboats could travel at a groundbreaking speed of up to 5 miles per hour. Steamboats quickly transformed river travel and trade, and influenced the waterways of the expanding areas of the United States (“Steamboats”).  The Industrial Revolution was not just the best of times but also the worst of times because child labor was very common. During the Industrial Revolution many parents sent their children to work at very young ages to help support their family. From 1833 on the government passed many acts dealing with child labor, work hours, and work conditions. In spite of these acts, the working tough conditions and the long hours of these children and adults were still harsh and over the standard eight hour work shifts that are common today (“1833 Factory Acts”). Child abuse was very common in factories and mills during the Industrial Revolution. Many children who worked long strenuous hours dozed off at their stations. The punishment for this was taking the miscreat and shoving them head first into a barrel of cold water to keep them awake. Another common form of punishment was weighting. The supervisor would hang heavy iron bars on the child’s body and compel them to walk across the floor for at least a half an hour, and but most of the time it was far longer.  The most common form of abuse during the Industrial Revolution was beating with bats, belts, hands, and canes. (Nardo Workers 61-62). Some of most unpleasant punishments were suspending children from the roof in baskets and hammering children’s ears to the table with nails. Supervisors forced children to crawl into hazardous, unguarded machinery which led to many accidents. Approximately 40 percent of accident cases at Manchester Infirmary in 1833 were factory accidents (“Living and Working Conditions”). Unskilled workers could be replaced easily because there was very little job security. Children often worked tremendously long hours and were put to work doing hazardous, dangerous tasks, such as cleaning machinery that could, if not handled properly, result in the loss of a limb. In the early 1860s one-fifth of the worker in Britain’s textile industry were younger than 15 years old (“Industrial Revolution”). Throughout the Industrial Revolution there were unsuccessful parliamentary measures to control the labor ochildren in factories and cotton mills. One measure  tried to reduce the work hours of children to 12 hours per day (more than today’s standard 8 hour shift). In 1833 the Whig government suggested that children that were ages 11-18 were to be authorized to work at most of 12 hours per day (more than today’s standard 8 hour shift). Children of the ages 9-11 were allowed to work 8 hours a day (today’s standard shift for adults) (Cody). Most of the time children usually did not have the choice to work, and were forced into it because of the economic issues at the time. Many families needed someone to support them. In many primary industries children began working before the age of 5 and usually died before they were  25. In primary industries the abuse of child labor was more large-scale, and was to be carried out in all of England by inspectors. After further progressive advocacy, another act in 1847 limited works hours to 10 hours daily to adults and children (Cody). Still after many acts passed by Parliament, the government failed to keep work hours for children and adults under the 8 hour standard work shifts that exist today. Additionally the Industrial Revolution was not just the worst of times because of child labor but also because of harsh working conditions and exceedingly low pay wages. During the Industrial Revolution there were no rules pertaining to the safety and running of factories. When the Industrial Revolution began to pick up pace, factories were being built all over the country. Because of this, extremely unsafe machinery was being bought and used that caused terrible injuries to workers. In addition to the unsafe machinery and work conditions, people were required to work ridiculously long hours by today’s standard. Sometimes these hours were through the night. Dozing at a machine could result in the accidental loss of a limb (“1833 Factory Acts”).  Regular work hours lasted about 12-14 hours per day, and sometimes with extra time and help required during  busy periods. A average wage for male workers was very low, poverty level, about 15 shillings a week. In most cases supervisors could get away with paying children and women less than men. Because of this many men were fired from their jobs and children and women were hired in their places.  In 1832 a child mill worker during the Industrial Revolution spoke about living two miles from the mill. Her family did not own a clock. If she arrived at the mill for work too late she would have been “quartered.” This meant if she was a quarter of an hour too late, a half an hour would be taken off her pay. She only got a penny an hour, so they would have taken a half a penny off ( Nardo Workers 59). Additionally, during the Industrial Revolution cotton started being manufactured and produced more widely. In addition to this, pneumonia was not an uncommon sickness for workers to get. The pneumonia was usually caused  by cotton thread manufacturing. Cotton thread had to be spun in damp, warm conditions. Going straight out into the cold night air caused the sickness. The air in factories and mills were also full of dust, which led to chest and lung diseases as well as hearing problems caused by loud noises made by machines. In some cases workers were also required to clean their machines during their meal times. Furthermore, in some factories a strict and harsh fining system was put in place for making any noise (whistling or talking), leaving the room without a supervisor’s consent, or keeping a uncleaned machine. It was rumored that some employers adjusted the time on the clocks to make their employees late so that they could fine them. Some supervisors insisted that their employees raise a certain amount each week from fines in order to keep their job (“Living and Working Conditions”). During the Industrial Revolution the United States and parts of Europe took great strides forward in their ways of production and transportation making it cheaper, faster, and more efficient, but they lacked ethical standards by using child labor and being careless about the harsh working conditions and exceedingly low pay wages of their workers. In conclusion, the Industrial Revolution was the best of times because of faster, cheaper production and better travel options and the worst of times because of child labor, harsh working conditions, and extremely low pay wages. Works Cited Babbitt, Irving. On Literature, Cultures, and Religion. Transaction Publishers, 2006, pp. 139.Cody, David. “Child Labor.” Victorian Web,                 Accessed 16 Nov 2017. DiBacco, Thomas V. “Henry Ford and the Automobiles.” Made in the U.S.A.: The History of        American Business. Harper & Row, 1987. The Industrial Revolution, edited by Brenda Stalcup, Greenhaven Press, 2002, pp. 122-130.”Early American Railroads.” US History, Independence Hall Association, 2008, Accessed 16 Nov 2017. “Industrial Revolution.” History, A&E Television Networks, 2017, Accessed 16 Nov 2017. “Living and Working Conditions.” BBC, Accessed 16 Nov 2017. Nardo, Don. The Industrial Revolution in the United States. Gale, Cengage Learning, 2009. —. The Industrial Revolution’s Workers and Their Lives. Gale, Cengage Learning, 2009. “1833 Factory Act.” National Archives, Accessed 16 Nov 2017. “Steamboats of the 1800’s.” American-Historama, Siteseen, 2017, Accessed 16 Nov 2017.     

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