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The Age of Industrialisation- Class 10 History Notes Chapter 4

The Age of Industrialisation Class 10 Notes

In Chapter 4 of CBSE Class 10, History students will learn the history of Britain, the first industrial nation, and then India, where the pattern of industrial change was conditioned by colonial rule. The chapter begins with explaining the scenario before the Industrial Revolution and how it changed over time in terms of labour, setting up of factories, etc. Some of the other topics explained in the chapter are Industrialisation in the colonies, industrial growth, market for goods, workers life, etc. In this article, we have compiled CBSE Class 10 History notes of Chapter 4 – The Age of Industrialisation. All the essential concepts are covered in these notes

The Age of Industrialisation- Before the Industrial Revolution

Proto-industrialisation refers to the phase which existed even before factories began in England and Europe. There was large-scale industrial production for an international market not based on factories. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, merchants from Europe moved to the countryside, supplying money to peasants and artisans, requesting them to produce for an international market. Merchants were restricted to expand their production within towns because rulers granted different guilds the monopoly right to produce and trade in specific products. In the countryside, poor peasants and artisans eagerly agreed so that they could remain in the countryside and continue to cultivate their small plots. The Proto-industrial system was thus part of a network of commercial exchanges controlled by merchants.


The Age of Industrialisation- The Coming Up of the Factory

In the 1730s the earliest factories in England were set up, but only in the late eighteenth century, the number of factories multiplied. Cotton was the first symbol of the new era and its production boomed in the late nineteenth century. Richard Arkwright created the cotton mill where costly machines were set up and all the processes were brought together under one roof and management.

The Age of Industrialisation- The Pace of Industrial Change

First: In Britain, the most dynamic industries were cotton and metals. Cotton was the leading sector in the first phase of industrialisation up to the 1840s, followed by the iron and steel industry. Second: The new industries found it difficult to displace traditional industries. Third: The pace of change in the ‘traditional’ industries was not set by steam-powered cotton or metal industries, but they did not remain entirely stagnant either. Fourth: technological changes occurred slowly.

James Watt improved the steam engine produced by Newcomen and patented the new engine in 1781. His industrialist friend Mathew Boulton manufactured the new model. Steam engines were not used in any of the other industries until much later in the century.

The Age of Industrialisation- Hand Labour and Steam Power

There was no shortage of human labour in Victorian Britain. Industrialists had no problem with labour shortages or high wage costs. Instead of machines industrialists required large capital investment. The demand for labour was seasonal in many industries. In all such industries where production fluctuated with the season, industrialists usually preferred hand labour, employing workers for the season.

The Age of Industrialisation- Life of the Workers

The workers’ lives were affected by the abundance of labour in the market. To get a job, workers should have existing networks of friendship and kin relations in a factory. Until the mid-nineteenth century, it was difficult for workers to find jobs. In the early nineteenth century, wages were increased. The fear of unemployment made workers hostile to the introduction of new technology. Spinning Jenny was introduced in the woollen industry. After the 1840s, building activity intensified in the cities, opening up greater opportunities for employment. Roads were widened, new railway stations came up, railway lines were extended, tunnels dug, drainage and sewers laid, rivers embanked.

The Age of Industrialisation the Colonies

The Age of Indian Textiles

In India, silk and cotton goods dominated the international market in textiles, before the age of machine industries. A variety of Indian merchants and bankers were involved in this network of export trade – financing production, carrying goods and supplying exporters. By the 1750s this network, controlled by Indian merchants, was breaking down. The European companies came into power – first securing a variety of concessions from local courts, then the monopoly rights to trade. The shift from the old ports to the new ones was an indicator of the growth of colonial power. European companies controlled trade through the new ports and were carried in European ships. Many old trading houses collapsed, and those who wanted to survive had to operate within a network shaped by European trading companies.

The Age of Industrialisation- What Happened to Weavers?

After the 1760s, the consolidation of the East India Company did not initially lead to a decline in textile exports from India. Before establishing political power in Bengal and Carnatic in the 1760s and 1770s, the East India Company had found it difficult to ensure a regular supply of goods for export. After the East India Company established political power, it developed a system of management and control that would eliminate competition, control costs, and ensure regular supplies of cotton and silk goods. It was established by following a series of steps.


  • By eliminating existing traders and brokers connected with the cloth trade, and establishing more direct control over the weaver.
  • By preventing Company weavers from dealing with other buyers.


The weavers were granted a loan to buy the raw materials once an order was placed. Weavers who took loans needed to hand over the cloth they produced to the gomastha. Weaving required the labour of the entire family, with children and women all engaged in different stages of the process. Earlier, supply merchants had a very close relationship with weavers, but new gomasthas were outsiders with no social link with the village.

In many places in Carnatic and Bengal, weavers set up looms in other villages where they had some family relation. In other places, weavers along with the village traders revolted, opposing the Company and its officials. Over time many weavers began refusing loans, closing down their workshops and taking to agricultural labour. By the turn of the nineteenth century, cotton weavers faced a new set of problems.

The Age of Industrialisation- Manchester Comes to India

In 1772, Henry Patullo said that the demand for Indian textiles could never reduce since no other nation produced goods of the same quality. But, unfortunately, by the beginning of the nineteenth century, India witnessed a decline in textile exports. In the early nineteenth century, exports of British cotton goods increased dramatically. At the end of the eighteenth century, import of cotton piece-goods was restricted into India. In India cotton weavers faced two problems:

  • Their export market collapsed
  • Local market shrank and glutted with Manchester imports.


By the 1860s, weavers faced a new problem. They could not get sufficient supply of raw cotton of good quality. Even the raw cotton exports from India increased due to which the price increased. By the end of the nineteenth century, other craftspeople faced yet another problem. Factories in India began production, flooding the market with machine-goods.


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The Age of Industrialisation- Factories Come Up

In 1854, the first cotton mill in Bombay was set up and went into production two years later. By 1862 four more mills were set up and around the same time jute mills came up in Bengal. The first jute mill was set up in 1855 and another one after seven years in 1862. In the 1860s, in north India, the Elgin Mill was started in Kanpur, and a year later the first cotton mill of Ahmedabad was set up. By 1874, the first spinning and weaving mill of Madras began production.


The Age of Industrialisation- The Early Entrepreneurs

The history of trade started from the late eighteenth century when the British in India began exporting opium to China and took tea from China to England. Some of the businessmen who were involved in these trades had visions of developing industrial enterprises in India. In Bengal, Dwarkanath Tagore made his fortune in the China trade. In Bombay, Parsis like Dinshaw Petit and Jamsetjee Nusserwanjee Tata built huge industrial empires in India. Seth Hukumchand, a Marwari businessman, set up the first Indian jute mill in Calcutta in 1917. The opportunities of investments in industries opened up and many of them set up factories.

But due to colonial power, Indians were barred from trading with Europe in manufactured goods and had to export mostly raw materials and food grains – raw cotton, opium, wheat and indigo – required by the British. Three of the biggest European Managing Agencies are Bird Heiglers & Co., Andrew Yule, and Jardine Skinner & Co. who mobilised capital, set up joint-stock companies and managed them.

The Age of Industrialisation- Where Did the Workers Come From?

As the factories started expanding, the demand for workers increased. Most of the workers came from the neighbouring districts in search of work. Over 50 per cent of workers in the Bombay cotton industries in 1911 came from the neighbouring district of Ratnagiri, while the mills of Kanpur got most of their textile hands from the villages within the district of Kanpur. As news of

employment spread, workers travelled great distances in the hope of work in the mills.

Even after the demand for workers increased, getting jobs was difficult. The numbers seeking work were always more than the jobs available. Most of the industrialists employed a jobber, which he brought from his village, to recruit new workers. Industrialists helped the jobber to settle down and provided them with money in need.

The Age of Industrialisation- The Peculiarities of Industrial Growth

European Managing Agencies were interested in certain kinds of products such as tea and coffee. They established tea and coffee plantations and invested in mining, indigo and jute. These products are used only for export purposes. In the late nineteenth century, Indian businessmen began setting up industries. The yarn produced in Indian spinning mills was used by handloom weavers in India or exported to China. The pattern of industrialisation was affected by a series of changes. When the swadeshi movement gained support, nationalists boycotted foreign cloth. From 1906, Indian yarn exports to China declined since produce from Chinese and Japanese mills flooded the Chinese market. Until the end of the First World War, industrial growth was slow. The war completely changed the whole scenario and Indian mills took advantage of the situation. They had a vast market to supply war needs: jute bags, cloth for army uniforms, tents and leather boots, horse and mule saddles and a host of other items. The industrial production boomed over the years and after the war, Manchester could never recapture its old position in the Indian market.

The Age of Industrialisation- Small-scale Industries Predominate

Small-scale industries continued to predominate in the rest of the country. Only a small proportion of the total industrial labour force worked in registered factories. The rest worked in small workshops and household units. Handicrafts production expanded in the twentieth century. In the twentieth century, handloom cloth production expanded. It happened because of technological changes as they started adopting new technology which helped them improve production without excessively pushing up costs.

Certain groups of weavers were in a better position than others to survive the competition with mill industries. Some of the weavers produced coarse cloth while others wove finer varieties. Weavers and other craftspeople who continued to expand production through the twentieth century did not necessarily prosper. They worked for long hours including all the women and children. But they were not simply remnants of past times in the age of factories. Their life and labour were integral to the process of industrialisation.

The Age of Industrialisation- Market for Goods

When new products are produced advertisements help people to make products appear desirable and necessary. They tried to shape the minds of people and create new needs. Today we are surrounded by advertisements which appear in newspapers, magazines, hoardings, street walls, television screens. From the very beginning of the industrial age, advertisements played a part in expanding the markets for products, and in shaping new consumer culture.

Manchester industrialists put labels on the cloth bundles, to mark the quality. When buyers saw ‘MADE IN MANCHESTER’ written in bold on the label, they were expected to feel confident about buying the cloth. Some of the labels were made with images and were beautifully crafted.

Images of Indian gods and goddesses appeared on these labels. Printing calendars were started by manufacturers to popularise their products. In these calendars, figures of gods were used to sell new products. Later, advertisements became a vehicle of the nationalist message of swadeshi.

The Age of Industrialisation- Conclusion

The age of industries has meant major technological changes, growth of factories, and the making of a new industrial labour force. Hand technology and small-scale production remained an important part of the industrial landscape.

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The Age of Industrialisation Class 10 Notes Important Questions and Answers

Question 1 Why did industrial production increase in India during the First World War? (2014)

Ans. The War had created a new opportunity for the industrial production in India:

  • The War situation had forced the British mills to produce things that were needed for the army. This had led to the decline of Manchester imports into India. Suddenly, Indian mills had a vast home market to supply to:
  • As the War prolonged, Indian factories were called upon to supply war needs: jute bags, cloth for army uniforms, tents and leather boots, horse and mule saddles and a host of other items.
  • New factories were set up and old ones ran multiple shifts. Many new workers were employed and everyone was made to work longer hours.
    Over the war years, industrial production boomed, local industries consolidated their position, substituting foreign manufactures and capturing home markets.


Question 2 How did a series of inventions in the eighteenth century increase the efficiency of each step of the production process in the cotton textile industry? Explain. (2013)

Ans. A series of inventions in the 18th century increased the efficiency in every step of the production process, especially of cotton. The process of producing cotton involved carding, twisting, spinning and milling.

  • The inventions enhanced the output per worker, enabling each worker to produce more, and they made possible the production of stronger threads and yam.
  • Richard Arkwright then created the cotton mill. Cloth production was spread all over the countryside and was carried out in village households.
  • Also now the costly new machines could be purchased, set up and maintained in the mill under one roof and management. This allowed a more careful supervision over the production process, a watch over the quality and the regulation of labour, all of which was difficult to do when production was in the countryside.


Question 3 What problems were faced by the Indian cotton weavers in the 19th century? Describe. (2012)

Ans. The Indian cotton weavers faced many problems in the 19th century:

  • Their export collapsed.
  • The local market shrank, being flooded by the Manchester imports. Produced by machines at lower costs, the Manchester cotton goods were so cheap that they attracted the buyers and the Indian textiles could not compete with them.
  • By 1860, Indian weavers faced a new problem. They could not get sufficient supply of raw cotton of good quality. This happened because a Civil War had broken out in America and the cotton supplies from the US to Britain were cut off and Britain turned to India. As raw cotton export from India
    increased, the price of raw cotton shot up. Indian weavers were forced to buy raw cotton at a very high price, so weaving did not remain profitable.
  • Factories in India also produced goods at a mass scale which flooded the Indian markets. Thus the Indian weavers faced a tough time and it became difficult to survive.


Question 4 Why did technological changes occur slowly in Britain in the early 19th century? Explain any three reasons. (2012)

Ans. Technological changes occurred slowly in Britain due to the following reasons:

  • New technology was expensive and merchants and industrialists were cautious about using it. For example, at the beginning of the 19th century, there were only 321 steam engines. There were no buyers of steam engines for years.
  • The machines often broke down and repair was costly.
  • The machines were not as effective as their inventors and manufacturers claimed.
  • Machines were oriented to produce uniform, standardised goods for a mass market. But the demand in the market was often for goods with intricate designs and specific shapes which required human skill, not mechanical technology. At that time the upper classes preferred things produced by hand.


Question 5 Who were gomasthas? Why were they appointed? How did they treat the weavers? (2012)

Ans.The paid servants appointed by the East India Company to supervise weavers are called gomasthas.

The East India Company appointed them to establish a more direct control over the weavers and to eliminate traders and brokers connected with cloth trade.

The gomasthas acted arrogantly and punished weavers for delays in supply, often beating them. In many weaving villages there were reports of clashes between weavers and gomasthas as they often marched into villages with sepoys and peons.


Question 6 Who were ‘gomasthas?’ How did they become good partners of the British management system? (2014, 2015)

Ans. The Gomasthas were paid servants whose job was to supervise weavers, collect supplies and examine the quality of cloth. The aim of the East India Company behind appointing gomasthas was to work out a system of management and control that would eliminate competition, control costs and ensure regular supplies of cotton and silk.

Soon there were clashes between the weavers and the gomasthas who began ill-treating the weavers.

  • It developed a system of management and control that would eliminate competition, control costs and ensure regular supplies of cotton and silk from India. For this reason, gomasthas were appointed to supervise, collect supplies and examine the quality of cloth.
  • They did not allow the company weavers to sell their produce to other buyers. Once an order was placed, the weavers were given loans to purchase the raw material. Weavers who had accepted loans from the company had to hand over the cloth they produced to the gomasthas only.


Question 7 Describe the achievements of any three early industrialists in British India. (2013)

Ans. Having earned enough from trade, some businessmen had visions of developing industrial enterprises in India.

In Bengal, Dwarkanath Tagore made his fortune in the China trade. He turned to industrial investment, setting up six joint stock companies in the 1830s and 1840s.

In Bombay, Parsis like Dinshaw Petit and Jamsetjee Nusserwanjee Tata who built huge industrial empires in India accumulated their initial wealth from exports to China and raw cotton shipments to England. Seth Hukumchand, a Marwari businessman, who set up the first Indian jute mill in Calcutta in 1971, also traded with China.


Question 8 How did many Indian Entrepreneurs survive despite tight economic controls imposed by the British Government? (2013)


  • Many Indians became junior players in the trade with China by providing finance, procuring supplies and shipping consignments.
  • Some merchants from Madras traded with Burma, Middle East and East Africa and accumulated capital.
  • Certain other commercial groups operated within India by carrying goods from one place to another, banking money, transferring funds between cities and financing traders.


Question 9 Explain any three factors responsible for the decline of the cotton textile industry in India in the mid-nineteenth century. (2013)


Describe any three main reasons for the decline of textile exports from India in the 19th century. (2014)


  • As cotton industries developed in England, industrial groups began to pressurize the Government to impose import duties on cotton textiles so that Manchester goods could sell in Britain without facing any competition from outside.
  • At the same time industrialists persuaded the East India Company to sell British manufactures in the Indian market as well. Exports of British cotton goods increased dramatically in the early 19th century.
  • The export market for the Indian cotton weavers collapsed and the local market shrank, being glutted with Manchester imports.
  • The imported cotton goods were cheap and our weavers could not compete with them.
  • When the American Civil War broke out the cotton supplies to Britain from the US were cut off. As raw cotton exports from India increased, the price of raw cotton shot up. Weavers in India were starved of supplies and forced to buy raw cotton at exorbitant prices.


Question 10 Advertisements played a part in expanding the markets for products and in shaping a new consumer culture. Explain. (2014)

Or, Explain the role played by advertisements in creating new consumers for the British products. (2014)


In which ways did the British and the Indian manufacturers and traders advertise their products? (2013)


  • When Manchester industrialists began selling cloth in India, they put labels on the cloth bundles, to make the place of manufacture and the name of the company familiar to the buyer.
  • When buyers saw ‘Made in Manchester’, written in bold on the label, they felt confident to buy the cloth.
  • But labels did not carry words and texts. They carried images and were beautifully illustrated with images of Indian gods and goddesses. The printed image of Krishna or Saraswati was also intended to make the manufacture from a foreign land, appear familiar to Indians.
  • Manufacturers also printed calendars to popularise their products. These calendars were used even by the illiterate. They were hung in tea shops and in the homes of the poor and even in offices and middle class apartments.
  • When Indian manufacturers advertised, the nationalist message was clear and loud. If you care for the nation, then buy only ‘Indian’ products. Advertisements became a vehicle of the nationalist message of Swadeshi.


The Age of Industrialisation- FAQs

Question 1 What is ‘Industrialisation’?

Ans. Industrialization is the process by which an economy is transformed from a primarily agricultural one to one based on the manufacturing of goods.


Question 2 What is the meaning of ‘Market goods’?

Ans. Market goods and services are all goods and services produced by market activity branches, all imported goods and services with the exception of those that are directly purchased externally by the government.


Question 3 What are the uses of ‘Industrial change’?

Ans. 1. Increased job opportunities 2. Inspired innovation 3. Increased production levels 4. Raising the standard of living 5. Removal of poverty


Question 4 Who invented industrialisation?

Ans. This process began in Britain in the 18th century and from there spread to other parts of the world. Although used earlier by French writers, the term Industrial Revolution was first popularized by the English economic historian Arnold Toynbee (1852–83) to describe Britain’s economic development from 1760 to 1840


Question 5 Which was the main benefit of industrialization?

Ans. Industrialization has been instrumental in the economic development of the world. The process has improved productivity and allowed for mass production, which has increased standards of living.


Question 6 What are the types of industrialization?

Ans. Examples of industrialization are manufacturing (1900s), mining (1930s), transportation (1950s), and retailing (1970s). The industrialization of the automobile is illustrative.


Question 7 What are the characteristics of industrialization?

Ans. Industrialization is the movement of an economy towards a system of mechanization, mass production and division of labor.


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