Activity 1

Innovation and industrialisation

“Industrial Revolution”,, 2009.
The textile industry, in particular, was transformed by industrialization. Before mechanization and factories, textiles were made mainly in people’s homes (giving rise to the term cottage industry), with merchants often providing the raw materials and basic equipment, and then picking up the finished product. Workers set their own schedules under this system, which proved difficult for merchants to regulate and resulted in numerous inefficiencies. In the 1700s, a series of innovations led to ever-increasing productivity, while requiring less human energy.

For example, around 1764, Englishman James Hargreaves (1722-1778) invented the spinning jenny (“jenny” was an early abbreviation of the word “engine”), a machine that enabled an individual to produce multiple spools of threads simultaneously. By the time of Hargreaves’ death, there were over 20,000 spinning jennys in use across Britain. The spinning jenny was improved upon by British inventor Samuel Compton’s (1753-1827) spinning mule, as well as later machines. Another key innovation in textiles, the power loom, which mechanized the process of weaving cloth, was developed in the 1780s by English inventor Edmund Cartwright (1743-1823).

Developments in the iron industry also played a central role in the Industrial Revolution. In the early 18th century, Englishman Abraham Darby (1678-1717) discovered a cheaper, easier method to produce cast iron, using a coke-fueled (as opposed to charcoal-fired) furnace. In the 1850s, British engineer Henry Bessemer (1813-1898) developed the first inexpensive process for mass-producing steel. Both iron and steel became essential materials, used to make everything from appliances, tools and machines, to ships, buildings and infrastructure.

The steam engine was also integral to industrialization. In 1712, Englishman Thomas Newcomen (1664-1729) developed the first practical steam engine (which was used primarily to pump water out of mines). By the 1770s, Scottish inventor James Watt (1736-1819) had improved on Newcomen’s work, and the steam engine went on to power machinery, locomotives and ships during the Industrial Revolution.

“Industrial Revolution”,, 2009.


Read the text.
Then, click on your path!


Workbook p. 80

Grammar in progress

La voix passive

a. Comparez les deux phrases en gras dans le texte. À quels temps sont les groupes verbaux ? Comment sont-ils construits ?

b. Repérez les sujets et les compléments.

c. Comment les traduiriez-vous ?

d. Résumez et expliquez les différences entre ces deux phrases.

Exercices p. 162 Précis grammatical p. 276
Voir les réponses


Focus on the processes.

List the various processes used or areas developed.

Search for three other inventions of the Industrial Revolution. Create a basic timeline.

Voir les réponses


Focus on the machines.

List the different inventions. What are they?

Search for three other inventions of the Industrial Revolution. Create a basic timeline.

Over to you!

A timeline about the Industrial Revolution

Let’s use what you have learnt in
Activity 1
and / or in
Activity 2

As an engineering student, select five stry, agriculture or manufacturing.

With your group, decide on the inventions and design your timeline. You can use

Let's talk this out!

Voir les réponses

Share your findings with your classmate.

Compare both your timelines. What is similar? Different?

Useful vocabulary: I chose the... because I feel that...
The... seemed more important than the... because...
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