Effects Of Second Industrial Revolution On The Shop Floor Suny Empire State College, American Labor History Essay

1511 words - 7 pages

Effects of Second Industrial Revolution on the Shop Floor
Terra Stone
Effects of Second Industrial Revolution on The Shop Floor
The Second Industrial Revolution came with several rapid changes. It followed the first revolution, which had mass manufacturing in factories, where most commodities were made by hand, by skilled artisans. The second revolution occurred at a time when there was considerable expansion in national business (Porter, 2014). Wealthy individuals looked to own the steel and oil markets. These were becoming very profitable. Steel, for instance, had become an essential commodity in the building of structures. Some of these tycoons were able to utilize the boom in skyscraper and railroad production, as well as the heating oil and kerosene industry. The more significant advancements in technology brought about these changes. Mark Twain describes the second industrial revolution as a time that saw various extremes. The tycoons of the time enjoyed great benefits, while their workers only got pennies from overworking (Porter, 2014).
By the year 1900, the economy of the United States orbited around the existing factories. Innovations in management, materials, and technology brought transformation to the smaller industries where the owners initially played the role of administration as well for the few workers. Whereas the earlier factories and industries were previously full of skilled workers who operated power looms, the second industrial revolution had its manufacturing done by the use of machines. It was characterized by a minimum wage, maximum hours of work, child labor, and reduced safety precautions (Jensen, 1993). Entrepreneurs such as Carnegie were fruitful in the building of active groups to govern manufacturing processes; which in turn led to the driving of competitors from business (Porter, 2014). In addition, a good number of workers in America experienced economic alterations during this period, concerning the loss of their status. Before the second revolution, most of the free white men were independent property owners and producers. In most cases, the craftsmen, farmers, and shopkeepers owned the properties in which they worked. However, this was not going to be the case after the second industrial revolution. The growing magnitude of factories impersonalized associations between management and labor. Also, mechanization gave room for the substitution of the presently unskilled and semi-skilled laborers, for the acquisition of a skilled craft work-force.
Very little bargaining power was left for the working class by their new employers during the second revolution. They had no control of judgment in the workplace. The population was rising in the country, while property-owners were encompassing common...

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