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Important People of the Industrial

Inventors and Entrepreneurs of the Industrial Revolution
Edmund Cartwright (1743-1823) English inventor, and member of the
Anglican clergy. Cartwright invented the power loom which significantly
increased the efficiency of textile production. He also developed a wool
combing machine.
Robert Owen (1771 1858) Welsh social reformer who attempted to
build a utopian socialist and co-operative movement. Owen sought to
consider the welfare of his workers, something usually overlooked in the
industrial revolution.

Sir Humphrey Davy (1778 1829) English chemist and inventor. He

inventor the Davy lamp used by miners to help detect gas and improve
safety. He also discovered several alkaline earth metals and discovered
more about the chemical properties of chlorine and iodine.
George Stephenson (1781 1848) Mechanical engineer, who developed
the steam engine for use in trains. He was a key figure in building the 25
mile Stockton and Darlington railway. Stephenson also built the first
intercity railway between Liverpool and Manchester ushering in the
railway age.

Joseph Locke (1805 1860) English civil engineer. Locke was an

important railway pioneer. He built the Grand Junction Railway which
connected the Liverpool railway to Crewe and Birmingham. He developed
new techniques for laying rails and was considered better at finishing
projects than Stephenson.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806 1859) English engineer. Brunel was at

the heart of many of the key building projects of the British industrial
revolution. He built the Great Western Railway from Bristol to London and
also developed powerful steam ships. He also built the first tunnel under a
navigable river.

Sir Henry Bessemer (1813 1898) an English engineer, inventor, and

businessman. Bessemers greatest contribution was to the mass production
of steel, which was a key component of the second wave of the industrial

Social activists of the Industrial Revolution

Karl Marx (1818 1883) Marx saw the industrial revolution as being a
stage in the eventual struggle and triumph of the Proletariat. Marx felt it was
a historical inevitability that the oppressed workers of industrial states
would eventually revolt against the capitalist class.

Friedrich Engels (1820 1895) German social scientist and political

activist. His work The Condition of the Working Class in England (1844)
explained the dire conditions of the workers caught up in the industrial
revolution. In 1848, he co-authored the Communist Manifesto with Karl
Charles Dickens (1812 1870) English writer and social critic. Dickens
lived through the industrial revolution and became a harsh critic of its worst

Political Groups of the Industrial Revolution

The Luddites were a group of 19th-century English skilled workers who
were concerned about losing their skilled jobs in the textile industry. They
saw power looms and spinning frames as the death knell for their
profession. They began smashing machines in different factories in protest.

Tolpuddle Martyrs In 1834, a group of Dorset agricultural labourers who

were arrested for and convicted of swearing a secret oath as members of the
Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers. Their case attracted
considerable sympathy and eventually they were released. The event is
considered an important milestone in the trade union movement.

Chartists Chartists were a political reform movement, active between

1838 and 1850. Their main aim was to achieve universal male suffrage.
They gained mass petitions and organised mass protests hoping to put
pressure on politicians to extend the franchise.