Britain was the first country to change from an agricultural economy to one founded on a factory system. Scholars call this great change the Industrial Revolution. From Britain the Industrial Revolution spread to many countries in the world.
The industrial Revolution began with the mechanization of the textile industry; many machines were invented for the spinning of cotton.
Cotton clothes became much cheaper and more popular than clothes made from wool.
Steam engines were first invented by Thomas Newcomen in 1705.
In 1769, James Watt, a Scottish engeneer, invented the first steam engine that provided the power for the others.
Steam power was used to automate factory equipment such as spinning machines. In the next century, steam engines powered not only factories but also locomotives and steam railways in England and in the United States, and steamships crossed the Atlantic Ocean regularly.