The Industrial Revolution refers to a timeIndustrial Revolution period roughly between 1750 and 1850 where vast and fundamental cultural, technological, and economic changes occurred. Technological developments like the invention of machine tools, improvements to the efficiency of steam engines, production of chemicals on an industrial scale, advances in agricultural techniques, and the mechanization of the textile industry with inventions like the flying shuttle, Lewis Paul’s roller spinner, and James Hargreaves’ jenny drove the transition from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing based economy. Nearly every aspect of daily life for individuals would be radically changed. Instead of growing their own food, making their own products at home, or working in small shops, large masses of people migrated to cities to begin working in factories.

Here are five interesting facts about the Industrial Revolution and its effect on society:

1. The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain.

Around 1740, the first factories started appearing in England. Industrialization wouldn’t take off so to speak until around 1780 though. Typically, France is considered the next country to have started adopting English manufacturing methods. In the span of a few decades, industrialization would spread to the rest of Western Europe and then to the United States.

2. The title “revolution” is a little misleading.

As discussed, the Industrial Revolution begun in Great Britain and would take considerable time to develop. There wasn’t just one single explosion of advancement, but rather a series of innovations and breakthroughs that built and relied on each other.

3. The Luddite Movement started.

With the rapid changes in society that were occurring and the development of machines and machine power to do work, some individuals started to fear that they wouldn’t be able to earn a living. In 1811, a group of English textile craftsmen started destroying the textile machinery that was making their jobs obsolete in protest. The term “Luddite” is now used to describe individuals against automation, industrialization, and many different new technologies.

4. Health in industrial cities was poor.

Poor hygiene, a lack of adequate infrastructure (sewer, water, and garbage), pollution, overcrowding, and a lack of medical knowledge left many vulnerable to diseases. Cholera, typhus, tuberculosis, and even smallpox were serious problems. Deadly outbreaks of cholera hit industrial Britain in 1831, 1848, 1854, and 1867. However, it was tuberculosis that was the biggest killer. It is estimated that tuberculosis was responsible for a staggering one third of deaths in Britain in the time between 1800 and 1850.

5. Surgery becomes painless with anesthesia.

While anesthetics existed and were in use far before the Industrial Revolution, they weren’t all that effective or reliable. Some early anesthetics used include alcohol, opium, jimsonweed, and cocoa leaves. These would provide some degree of pain relief, sedation, or amnesia, but weren’t something you would personally want to depend on. Aside from the pain, without effective anesthetics surgeons also had to work very quickly limiting what they could do. Among the great medical advancements witnessed during the Industrial Revolution was the use of ether as an anesthetic. Patients could be reliably rendered unconscious and wake up from surgery with no memory of it or any pain.