10-INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

The Anglican religion, England’s state religion, can hardly be called protestant like the Lutheran or Calvinist religions, it is a pseudo Catholic religion. When King Henry VIII personally replaced the Pope as head of the Church of England, he remained very much a Catholic. In time that church was strongly influenced by the Puritans who had followed John Wycliffe’s teachings and wanted to change the liturgy, but it remained a Catholic-style religion. The strong anti-royalist or anti-papist feelings in England in the 17th century were due in part to those historical influences, of course, but it was the Jews and the Huguenots who had created the English East India Company in 1600 and the Dutch East India Company in 1602 who provoked them. From the very beginning, the company dominated world trade, and as its owners became extremely wealthy, they were more determined than ever to destroy their mortal enemy, the Roman Christian Empire.

When Charles I was decapitated in 1649, it marked the beginning of the end for that empire and its kings of divine right, that is to say, the Ancien Regime. At that time, the East India Company effectively controlled the economy of the Netherlands, but it was planning to move its headquarters from Amsterdam to the City in London. However, because Cromwell disappointed his sponsors by failing to establish a proper parliamentary system, the owners had to postpone the establishment of democracy for another 40 years, until William and Mary were ready to wear the crown.

Once established in the City at the helm of the Bank of England in 1694, the bankers were absolutely certain of being repaid when they made loans to the parliament they had created five years before. Now that democracy was in place, investing in research and development (R&D) and infrastructure could start in earnest. Thanks to ready credit, the English economy became dynamic, and European know-how flowed into the country.

When the bankers officially took control of England’s monetary system, the first thing they wanted was a better infrastructure in order to facilitate tax collection, internal trade, commerce and exchange of ideas. However, the Industrial Revolution only really got started in the 1760’s.

Denis Papin had developed the cylinder and piston concept in 1695, but the use of steam was not fully exploited until James Watt invented the condenser in 1765. That’s when the Industrial Revolution got on track. It coincided with the creation of the Bank of North America and Elie Whitney’s mindboggling idea of making a cotton gin with interchangeable parts in 1781. The main industry of the times, cotton, had experienced great success with the invention of the flying shuttle in 1733, the spinning Jenny in 1764, and the spinning frame in 1769, but it was the use of steam power and the invention of the cotton gin that revolutionized the existing economies of the time.

On the iron side of things, railroads started being built in early 19th century, but the rails were made with wrought iron and were not durable. Sir Henry Bessemer changed all that when he invented his converter in 1856. In his furnace, while a blast of air oxidized and raised the temperature of the molten pig iron, a small quantity of molten pig iron containing manganese was added and converted the whole large mass of molten iron into steel in just minutes, without the need for any additional fuel. In 1876, limestone was added to draw out phosphorous and make the steel less brittle, turning it into the wondrous material we know today.

Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1844, Elias Howe, the sewing machine, in 1846, Graham Bell, the telephone, in 1876, Thomas Edison, the light bulb in 1879, Galileo Ferraris & Nikola Tesla, the A/C motor in 1888, and Charles Steinmetz, the AC transformer in 1893, but what really changed things was when in late 19th century George Westinghouse’s AC electrical current patent won the battle against that of Thomas Edison which championed DC current.

The Bank of England created in 1694 was the necessary catalyst for the Industrial Revolution, but unfortunately the bank had dozens of shareholders and didn’t speak with one voice. Although those bankers were very successful, they became very English and very parochial. It wasn’t until the first international banker came along and created the Bank of North America in 1781 did the blossoming industrial world change gears. When that extraordinary man took over the English monetary system in 1810, the world finally had a financial institution that spoke with one voice. Today, two hundred years after that takeover, we are the ones enjoying its benefits.

 

 

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