Monday, September 15, 2008

Victorian Era, A

As we previously learned, the Industrial Revolution was a time of exploration, discovery, new inventions, and new building materials. However, the Industrial Revolution also served as a starting block for the Victorian Style.

In the nineteenth century, the middle class was beginning to grow and gain power; the people learned how to turn the Industrial Revolution into a source of wealth (Pile). By 1851, goods that were once rare and only affordable to the wealthy upper class had become easy to make and were inexpensive. This made it easy for the middle class to decorate their homes with materials and accessories to show off their rank on the social ladder, much like the upper class had.

However, this need or demand for more goods did not come without a price. Factory and mill owners, like the middle class, began to gain more wealth and even more power. Explain the extent of the factory owner’s power. What are some pros and cons of the factory owners holding so much power? And how did their power influence the nineteenth century and the Victorian Style?


AinsleyW said...

In high school we did the musical Les Miserables which is set in the Industrial Revolution in France. The foreman in the play is this horrible terrible guy who fires a main character after listening to factory gossip because she has had a child and is unmarried. I'm sure that not all factory owners were as antagonistic as the one in Les Mis, but the Industrial Revolution was known for its long hours and poor working conditions. The factory owners had complete power and they exploited the laborers immensely in order to turn a bigger profit.
While it was extremely unfortunate for those workers, it is because of the factory owners' exploitation that we now have labor unions set up that guarantee workers' rights and safety.

Carrie said...

The factory and mill owner’s powers always had pros and cons during this period. The pros were that they were able to give jobs to tons of people who were poor. These people in turn are able to get bread and other types of food for their families. Lots of laborers left their home shops and entered the factory to make more money to survive. The cons to factory and mill owner's power was that to cut down on higher adult wages they employed children preferentially over adults, at a fraction of the adult wage. I agree with Ainsley that in the end labor laws were made and labor unions were created to help stop the cruel labor that these young children had to take. They also had influence on nineteenth century and the Victorian style. With so many people living and working together in relatively small areas, town planning had to adapt quickly. The mill and factory owners also had to make sure that their workers could get to work and adapt to the twenty-four hour shift-work. By 1900 most town streets had pavements and lighting and most new homes included gas lighting and cooking, mains drainage.

Sara Watson said...

As far as the extent of power goes, the factory owner's controlled the life of the workers. Until labor laws were passed, workers had to work in poorly lit, unsafe conditions because the owner's wanted money for themselves. The power they had also contributed to the hiring of children to maintain that power.

The pros of factory owner's power include the increase of goods and more jobs. One of the cons of power are the unsafe work environments. Also because of the job opportunities, more people were moving to the cities. This influx of people led to the spread of disease because of the close living quarters.

The power of the factory owners had a great influence on the 19th century and the Victorian style. One of the things that happened was the "clutter" we associate with Victorian style. Mass production brought more goods and also made them cheaper. During this time period, there was a rise in the middle class. With the middle class being able to afford more came the demand for even more goods. People began to show their wealth through how much stuff they had in their house. One negative influence the power had would be on the quality of the things produced. Machine made goods, in that time just weren't as great as handcrafted.

Molly Rowland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Molly Rowland said...

With the demand for efficient and cheap products, factory owners had to run a fast paced and productive environment.

Because the owners had so much power and the pressure for goods was so high, there was a lack of consideration for the workers creating them. For example, the owners worked their employees for hours on end, and with exhausted workers, the factories became prone to accidents.

Furthermore, with their new found power, factory owners were using child labor. There is no doubt that there was a definite overcrowding of the workspace.

In conclusion, giving so much power to the factory owners caused mostly negative effects on their employees. Although the Victorian Era factories lacked in safety and labor laws, they set an example of what not to do in the future.

Elizabeth Chaffin said...

Along with the wealth of the factory owners, came power. This gave them the right to hire multitudes of employees ranging from children to senior citizens. The working conditions of these said employees weren't the best. Most often they worked very long shifts (even the children) and were paid very little. All these factors contributed to a better profit making for the owner as well as power gain, becoming very cyclic.

Sabrina said...

I'll begin with the cons of the industrial power given to factory owners. Like everyone else mentioned, the factory owners abused their power by exploiting their use of both adult and especially, child labor. Both were required to work long, tiresome hours in extremely dangerous conditions for a teeny salary. Also, the cities became overcroweded with both people and unsanitary conditions. However, the factoy owners gained such a control on the market for the production of goods, that the handcraftsmen lost all buisiness. Many of these craftsmen switched from their previous delicate art to the machine-made art- which had not truly become an art yet, in my opinion. Thus, the world lost a great deal of talented craftsmen to the industrialization of the nations.

The pros of the Industrial Revolution included the development of labor laws, better planned cities, and the spread of goods that made survival much easier for more people on earth.

Specifically, the power of the factory owners influenced the over-ornamentation associated with the Victorian Era. Goods and materials were more available, easier to produce and cheaper to purchase. Thus, more people were able to acquire them and use them in decoration. This was true with over-ornamented furniture. The revolution of thought was "why buy a simple sofa without intense carvings when a sofa with a great deal of carvings could be purchased for barely any more money at all?" This was what made sense to the people experiencing the revolutionary speed and ability of the Industrial Revolution.

carrie w said...

The owner had complete power. They had control over their workers and the conditions they worked in. The owners got greedy and made their workers work longer hours for less pay and even hired children laborers. The pros of a job like this is that they have the power to employ tons of people and give them a living. The cons to this job is that their powers can and most often were abused. These factory owners power influenced many things. Two things in particular that they influenced were the 19th century and the Victorian Style. They did this by making it easy and cheap to have lots of goods. The Victorian style has a lot of ornamentation, and these factories allowed common people to be able to afford these kinds of things.

This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.