Industrial Revolution

Holzapfels Compositions

The Industrial Revolution, beginning in England in the early eighteenth century, and developing by chance and over several decades, was a change in the way technology affected the production of goods, the economy and social life.

Scientists, amateur inventors and entrepreneurs all contributed unwittingly and in a haphazard way to the Revolution, which has ever since altered profoundly the way we live.

Key developments (contributing to the later feasibility of enamelled iron signs) include the introduction by Abraham Darby in 1709 of the use of coke for smelting iron, Newcomen's steam engine (1712), de Reaumur's cupola iron smelter (1720), Huntsman's crucible (c.1742) and cast steel process (1751), Wilkinson's blast furnace (1748), the first iron-rolling mill (1754), John Roebuck's conversion of cast iron into malleable iron (1762), Henry Cort's puddling method of turning coke-smelted iron into satisfactory wrought iron.

Developments in other branches of technology, such as Senefelders's invention of lithography (1798), and the evolution of the steam locomotive and railway system by various inventors including Trevithick, Watt, and Stephenson during the period 1797-1825, also contributed directly to the production and distribution of enamelled iron signs.