NCERT CBSE History Chapter 4 Class 10 Notes “The Age of Industralisation”

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NCERT CBSE History Chapter 4 Class 10 Notes “The Age of Industralisation”

Welcome to NCERT CBSE History Chapter 4 Class 10 Notes ¨The Age of Industralisation¨

Chapter 4 of CBSE Class 10 History covers the history of industrialization in Britain, the world’s first industrial nation, and in India, where the pattern of industrial change was shaped by colonial rule. 

The chapter begins by describing the pre-Industrial Revolution scenario and the subsequent transformations in labour and the establishment of factories. Other topics covered include industrialization in the colonies, industrial growth, the market for goods, and the lives of workers. In this article, we have compiled the CBSE Class 10 History notes for Chapter 4 – The Age of Industrialisation. 

These notes encompass all the key concepts discussed in the chapter. Students can also download these notes in PDF format for convenient access and review.

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Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5

Before the Industrial Revolution

Proto-industrialisation was the phase before factories began in England and Europe. During this time, there was large-scale industrial production for an international market that wasn’t based on factories.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European merchants moved to the countryside, providing money to peasants and artisans and asking them to produce goods for the international market. 

Towns had restrictions because rulers gave different guilds the exclusive right to produce and trade specific products. Poor peasants and artisans in the countryside eagerly accepted the merchants’ offers so they could stay and cultivate their small plots.

Thus, the Proto-industrial system became part of a network of commercial exchanges controlled by merchants.

The Coming Up of the Factory

The earliest factories in England appeared in the 1730s, but their numbers only increased significantly in the late eighteenth century. 

Cotton was the first symbol of this new era, with production booming in the late nineteenth century. Richard Arkwright created the cotton mill, which housed costly machines and combined all the production processes under one roof and management.

The Pace of Industrial Change

The most dynamic industries in Britain were cotton and metals. Cotton led the way in the first phase of industrialisation up to the 1840s, followed by the iron and steel industry. New industries found it difficult to replace traditional industries, which did not remain stagnant but did not change as rapidly. Technological advancements occurred slowly.

James Watt improved the steam engine originally made by Newcomen and patented his version in 1781. His friend, industrialist Mathew Boulton, manufactured the new model. Other industries did not adopt steam engines until much later in the century.

Hand Labour and Steam Power

There was no shortage of human labour in Victorian Britain. Industrialists did not face labour shortages or high wage costs. Instead of investing in machines, they required large capital investment and preferred hand labour for industries with seasonal production needs, employing workers only during peak times.

Life of the Workers

The abundance of labour affected workers’ lives. To secure jobs, workers needed networks of friends and family in factories. Until the mid-nineteenth century, finding jobs was challenging. Although wages increased in the early nineteenth century, fear of unemployment made workers resist new technology, like the Spinning Jenny in the woollen industry.

After the 1840s, increased building activity in cities provided more employment opportunities. Workers engaged in expanding infrastructure such as roads, railway stations, lines, tunnels, drainage systems, and river embankments.

Industrialisation in the Colonies

The Age of Indian Textiles

Before machine industries, Indian silk and cotton goods dominated the international textile market.

Indian merchants and bankers managed the export trade by financing production, transporting goods, and supplying exporters. By the 1750s, this network, controlled by Indian merchants, began to collapse as European companies gained power, securing concessions and monopoly rights to trade. 

The growth of colonial power shifted trade from old ports to new ones controlled by European companies, leading to the collapse of old trading houses.

What Happened to Weavers?

The consolidation of the East India Company after the 1760s did not immediately reduce textile exports from India. However, after gaining political power in Bengal and Carnatic, the Company developed a management system to eliminate competition, control costs, and ensure regular supplies of cotton and silk goods. They achieved this by:

Eliminating traders and brokers connected with the cloth trade and establishing direct control over weavers.

Preventing Company weavers from dealing with other buyers.Granting loans to weavers for raw materials, ensuring they handed over the finished cloth to the Company’s gomastha.

Weaving involved the entire family, with children and women participating in different stages. While supply merchants had close relationships with weavers, new gomasthas were outsiders with no social ties to the villages. In response, many weavers set up looms in other villages or took up agricultural labour.

Manchester Comes to India

By the early nineteenth century, India’s textile exports declined due to increased British cotton goods exports. Indian weavers faced two problems:

Their export market collapsed.

The local market was flooded with Manchester imports.

In the 1860s, weavers struggled to obtain good quality raw cotton due to increased exports, leading to higher prices. By the late nineteenth century, factories in India began producing machine goods, further challenging traditional craftspeople.

Factories Come Up

In 1854, Bombay’s first cotton mill began production, followed by more mills and jute mills in Bengal. The Elgin Mill started in Kanpur in the 1860s, and Ahmedabad’s first cotton mill was set up a year later. By 1874, Madras had its first spinning and weaving mill.

The Early Entrepreneurs

The late eighteenth century saw British exports of opium to China and tea to England, with businessmen like Dwarkanath Tagore in Bengal and Parsis like Dinshaw Petit and Jamsetjee Nusserwanjee Tata in Bombay building industrial empires. Seth Hukumchand, a Marwari businessman, set up the first Indian jute mill in Calcutta in 1917. 

Despite opportunities for industrial investment, colonial power restricted Indian trade with Europe, forcing them to export mostly raw materials and food grains.

Where Did the Workers Come From?

As factories expanded, the demand for workers grew, with many coming from neighbouring districts. For instance, over 50 percent of Bombay’s cotton industry workers in 1911 came from Ratnagiri. 

Although demand for workers increased, job availability was always limited. Industrialists often employed jobbers to recruit new workers, helping them settle and providing financial assistance.

The Peculiarities of Industrial Growth

European Managing Agencies focused on products like tea, coffee, mining, indigo, and jute for export. Indian businessmen started setting up industries in the late nineteenth century, with Indian mills producing yarn for handloom weavers or export to China. 

The Swadeshi movement led to a decline in Indian yarn exports to China due to competition from Chinese and Japanese mills. 

The First World War spurred industrial growth, with Indian mills supplying war-related goods, and after the war, Manchester could not regain its market position in India.

Small-Scale Industries Predominate

Small-scale industries remained dominant, with only a small proportion of the industrial labour force working in registered factories. Handicraft and handloom cloth production expanded in the twentieth century due to technological improvements. 

While certain weavers survived competition with mill industries, they often worked long hours, including women and children, and were integral to the industrialisation process.

Market for Goods

Advertisements helped promote new products, shaping consumer desires and creating new needs. From the beginning of the Industrial Age, advertisements expanded markets and influenced consumer culture. 

Manchester industrialists marked their cloth bundles with labels to indicate quality, often using images of Indian gods and goddesses. Manufacturers also printed calendars featuring gods to popularise their products, which later carried nationalist Swadeshi messages.


The age of industries brought major technological changes, the growth of factories, and the creation of a new industrial labour force. Despite the rise of factories, hand technology and small-scale production remained significant in the industrial landscape.

Also Read: NCERT Chapter 7 Women Caste and Reform: Class 8 Notes (Free PDF)


Q.1. What is Industrialisation?

Ans: Industrialisation is the transition from an agricultural economy to one dominated by industry and manufacturing, involving mass production and technological advancement.

Q.2. What is the Meaning of Market Goods?

Ans: Market goods are products produced for sale in a market, encompassing items like food, clothing, and machinery for consumer purchase.

Q.3. What are the Uses of Industrial Change?

Ans: Industrial change drives economic growth, technological innovation, job creation, urbanisation, improved living standards, and enhanced global trade.

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