NCERT Solutions for class 10th Social Science Chapter 2 History – The Age of Industrialisation.


On Page 104

Question 1.  Give two examples where modern development that is associated with progress has led to problems. You may like to think of areas related to environmental issues, nuclear weapons or disease.

Answer: Example 1, is related to the soil degradation due to rampant use of modern chemical fertilizers to increase the yield of the l and in agriculture. This led to removing most of the soil nutrients and large scale consumption of water, finally making the soil sterile and lowering of the water table. 

Example 2, is related to the development of nuclear weapons like the atom bomb. The dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed many people and also deformed or diseased many more due to the nuclear radiation that spread after the bombs exploded.

On Page 107

Question 1.  The way in which historians focus on industrialisation rather than on small workshops is a good example of how what we believe today about the past is influenced by what historians choose to notice and what they ignore. Note down one event or aspect of your own life which adults such as your parents or teachers may think is unimportant, but which you believe to be important.

Answer: A typical example can be that you have broken a friendship with one of your old friends of many years because of some dispute over a bet that you had placed with him / her. This friendship was important to you but may mean nothing to your parents or teachers. There can be many similar examples.

Question 2. Look at Figures 4 and 5 given on the next page. Can you see any difference in the way the two images show industrialisation? Explain your view briefly.

Answer: Figure 4 shows a cotton mill beautifully lighted up in the evening twilight, which is still impressive despite the smoke billowing up from the chimneys on the left side of the picture. This shows the positive impact of industrialisation. However, figure 5, shows the negative impact of industrialization, by showing only chimneys emitting smoke and the trees getting blackened by it, which signifies the environmental pollution created by industry.

On Page 109

Question 1. Imagine that you are a merchant writing back to a salesman who has been trying to persuade you to buy a new machine. Explain in your letter what you have heard and why you do not wish to invest in the new technology.

Answer: A sample letter is given below –

23 October 1790

Dear XYZ,
This refers to your quotation regarding the new Weaving Machine which you want to sell to us. I am afraid I will not be interested to purchase it for the following reasons –

  1. The price of the machine is too high for the output that you claim it gives. I do not have such a large amount of money to invest in it. 
  2. I already have laborers doing the work by hand. There is no shortage of labour in the market and they are efficient
  3. Since the requirement is seasonal and I can lay off the workmen when work is not there, I save money at that time. The machine will always remain with me and I will always be paying interest on the loan to be taken for purchasing it, whether I am using the machine or not.
  4. The machine can produce only standardized cloth, whereas different customers demand different designs. This, I can supply easily if the cloth is handmade.
  5. Further, I have heard that in case the machine breaks down, it is very costly and time-consuming to repair it, thus creating more problems in supply and finance for me.

For the above reasons, I regret I will not be in a position to purchase the machine offered by you.

Sincerely yours,

On Page 111

Question 1. Look Figure 3, 7 and 11, then reread source B. Explain why many workers were opposed to the use of the Spinning Jenny

Source B

A magistrate reported in 1790 about an incident when he was called in to protect a manufacturer’s property from being attacked by workers:

 ‘From the depredations of a lawless Banditti of colliers and their wives, for the wives had lost their work to spinning engines … they advanced at first with much insolence, avowing their intention of cutting to pieces the machine lately introduced in the woollen manufacture; which they suppose, if generally adopted, will lessen the demand for manual labour. The women became clamorous. The men were more open to conviction and after some expostulation were induced to desist from their purpose and return peaceably home.’

J.L. Hammond and B. Hammond, The Skilled Labourer 1760-1832, quoted in Maxine Berg, The Age of Manufactures.

Answer:  Figure 3 shows that each member of the family involved in the production of yarn. It is also clear from the picture that one wheel is moving only one spindle.

In the 19th century, spinning was a source of alternative income for poor peasants. Many of these had small plots of land which could not provide work for all members of the family. The spinning wheel gave employment to each member of the family as seen in the picture.

Figure 7 shows that the giant wheels moved by steam power could d set in motion hundreds of spindles to manufacture thread. It is clear from this arrangement, that a single worker could spin a large amount of thread in a short time. It created unemployment in the peasant society.

The machine shown in Figure 11 is called a Spinning Jenny which was devised by James Hargreaves in 1764.

Its one wheel could operate several spindles at a time. As a result, it created unemployment in the labour class and so they opposed it.

In short, we can say that factories by using steam engines and introducing Spinning Jenny were opposed by workers because they created employment among them.

On Page 113 

Question 1. On a map of Asia, find and draw the sea and land links of the textile trade from India to Central Asia, West Asia and South East Asia.



Write in brief

Question 1.  Explain the following

  1. Women workers in Britain attacked the Spinning Jenny.
  2.  In the seventeenth century merchants from towns in Europe began employing peasants and artisans within the villages.
  3. The port of Surat declined by the end of the eighteenth century. 
  4. The East India Company appointed Gomasthas to supervise weavers in India.


  1.  James Hargreaves invented the Spinning Jenny in 1764. This machine speeded up the spinning process and reduced the demand for labour. By the use of this machine, a single worker could turn a number of spindles, and spin several threads at a time. Due to this many weavers would become unemployed. It was the fear of unemployment which made women workers, who survived on hand-spinning, attack the new machines. 
  2. World trade expanded at very fast rate during the 17th and 18th centuries. The acquisition of colonies was also responsible for the increase in demand. The producers in the towns failed to produce the required quantity of cloth. The producers could not expand the production in the towns because urban crafts and trade guilds were powerful. These were the associations of producers that restricted the entry of new people into the trade.  The rulers granted different guilds the monopoly right to produce and the trade in specific products. It was therefore difficult for new merchants to set up business in towns. So, they turned to the countryside.
    1. The European companies were gaining power by securing a variety of concessions from the local courts. 
    2. It was very difficult for the Indian merchants and traders to face the competition as most of the European countries had huge resources.
    3. Some of the European companies got the monopoly rights to trade. All this resulted in the decline of Surat Port by the end of the eighteenth century. In the last years of the seventeenth century, The Age of Industrialisation 37 the gross value of trade that passed through Surat had been 16 million. By the 1740s, it had slumped to 3 million. With the passage of time, Surat and Hoogly decayed, while Bombay (Mumbai), and Calcutta (Kolkata) grew.
  3. The company tried to eliminate the existing traders and brokers connect with the cloth trade, and establish more direct control over the weavers. It appointed a paid servant called Gomastha to supervise weavers, collect supplies, and examine the quality of cloth.

Question 2.  Write True or False against each statement. 

  1. At the end of the 19th century, 80% of the total workforce in Europe was employed in the technologically advanced industrial sector.
  2. The international market for textiles was dominated by India till the eighteenth century.
  3. The American Civil War resulted in the reduction of cotton exports from India.
  4. The introduction of the ‘Flying Shuttle’ enabled the handloom workers to improve their productivity.

Answers  (1) False (2) True (3) False (4) True.

Question 3. Explain, what is meant by proto-industrialisation.

Answer Even before factories began to appear on the landscape of England and Europe, there was a large-scale industrial production for an international market. This was not based on factories. Many historians now refer to this phase of industrialisation as proto-industrialisation or the precursor to industrialisation.

During this period most of the goods were hand manufactured by trained crafts-persons for the international market.


Question 1. Why did some industrialists in 19th century Europe prefer hand labour over machines?

Answer In 19th century, Europe some British industrialists preferred hand labour over machines because

  1. New technologies and machines were expensive, so the producers and the industrialists were cautious about using them.
  2. machines often broke down and their repair was expensive.
  3. poor peasants and migrants moved to cities in large numbers in search of jobs. So the supply of workers was more than the demand. Therefore, workers were available at low wages.
  4. In seasonal industries, where production fluctuated with the seasons, industrialists usually preferred hand labour, employing workers only for the season, when it was needed.
  5. the variety of products required in the market could not be produced by the machines available at that time. In mid-nineteenth century, Britain, for instance, 500 varieties of hammers were produced and 45 kinds of axes, these required human skill, not mechanical technology.

Question 2. How did the East India Company procure regular supplies of cotton silk textiles from Indian weavers?

Answer The East India Company adopted various steps to ensure regular supplies of cotton and silk textiles.

  1. They established political power to assert monopoly their right to trade.
  2. The company tried to eliminate the existing traders and brokers connected with the cloth trade, and establish a more direct control over the weavers. It appointed paid servants called the Gomasthas, to supervise weavers, collect supplies and examine the quality of cloth.
  3. It prevented the company weavers from dealing with other buyers. Once an order was placed, the weavers were given loans to purchase the raw material. Those who took loans had to hand over the cloth they produced to the Gomasthas only. They could not take it to any other trader. 
  4. They developed a system of management and control that would eliminate competition, control cost and ensure regular supply of cotton and silk goods.
  5. The weavers had to sell at a price dictated by the company. By giving the weavers a loan, the company tied the weavers with them

Question 3. Imagine that you have been asked to write an article for an encyclopedia on Britain and the history of cotton. Write your piece using information from the entire chapter.

Answer: The following inventions in 18th century England (given in chronological order) are important milestones in the history of cotton

  1. The following inventions in 18th century England (given in chronological order) are important milestones in the history of cotton.
  2. James Hargreaves invented the ‘Spinning Jenny’ in 1964. This speeded up spinning work significantly.
  3. John Key invented the ‘Flying Shuttle’ in 1769, which speeded up the weaving process .
  4. Richard Arkwright improved the ‘Spinning Jenny’ in 17 69 so that it could be run by water power. He called it the ‘Water Frame’.
  5. In 1776, Samuel Crompton invented the ‘Mule’, which combined the advantages of both the ‘Water Frame’ and the ‘Spinning Jenny ’.
  6. In 1785, Edmund Cartwright invented the powerloom, which used steam power for both spinning and weaving.
  7. Eli Whitney (in the USA) invented the ‘Cotton Gin’ in 179 3, which solved the problem of removing seeds from the cotton fibres. This could separate the seeds from the fibres 300 times faster than by hand.

Later on, Arkwright created a complete cotton mill where all the textile manufacturing process could be completed under one roof and management.

The use of steam power played a very significant role in running cotton mills. Production of textiles increased in a very short time and with less manual labour. At the beginning of the 19th century, there were near about 321 steam engines in England and out of them 80 were in use in cotton textile mills. 

The East India Company appointed Gomasthas, a paid servants of the company to supervise weavers, collect supplies and judge and inspect the quality of textiles. Gomasthas were the link between the East India Company and the weavers. The company arranged loans to the weavers to purchase raw material for weaving the cloth. Borrowers were compelled to sell their products to the company and not to any other private trader. Through this, the weavers were exploited by the English merchants.

The Indian weavers could not compete and so by the beginning of the 19th century textile will the cheap and durable textiles from Manchester (England) export from India declined. Cotton weavers of India had to face two problems simultaneously, the export market collapsed and the local market shrank.

In the 1860s weavers faced a new problem of insufficient supply of raw cotton from USA due to the American Civil War. The price of raw cotton increased rapidly due to the big demand of raw cotton export from India. Weavers found themselves unable to pay for it.

After the First World War, Manchester could never capture again its old position in the Indian market. Britain could not match with the USA, Germany and Japan in reference of modernisation and competition. As a result, production of cotton collapsed and export of cotton textiles from England fell down badly.

Question 4. Why did the industrial production in India increase during the First World War?

Answer: Industrial production in India increased during the First World War due to the following reasons.

  1. While British mills busy with war production to meet the needs of the army, Manchester imports into India declined.
  2. With the decline of imports suddenly, Indian mills had a vast home market to supply. 
  3. As the war prolonged, Indian factories were called upon to supply war needs also, such as Jute bags, cloth for uniforms of soldiers, tents, leather boots, etc and lots of other items.
  4. New factories were set up and old ones organised multiple shifts; during the war years Indian industries boomed. 
  5. Overall, the First World War gave a boost to Indian industries.
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