- (sometimes initial capital letters) the totality of the changes in economic and social organization that began about 1760 in England and later in other countries, characterized chiefly by the replacement of hand tools with power-driven machines, as the power loom and the steam engine, and by the concentration of industry in large establishments.
- the Industrial Revolution the transformation in the 18th and 19th centuries of first Britain and then other W European countries and the US into industrial nations
The rapid industrial growth that began in England during the middle of the eighteenth century and then spread over the next 50 years to many other countries, including the United States. The revolution depended on devices such as the steam engine (see James Watt), which were invented at a rapidly increasing rate during the period. The Industrial Revolution brought on a rapid concentration of people in cities and changed the nature of work for many people. (See Luddites.)