6.3 Second-Wave Industrialization and Its Effects

4 min readfebruary 12, 2023

Sharii Liang

Sharii Liang

Jillian Holbrook

Jillian Holbrook

AP European History 🇪🇺

335 resources
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Almost a century after the First Industrial Revolution began, the innovation of the time was finally beginning to slow down. After a lull in innovation for a few decades, the Second Industrial Revolution sprang up in a multitude of different nations. This time, automation was old news. Electricity and chemicals stole the scene. ⚡

The End of the First Industrial Revolution

By the 1830s to 1840s, innovation and invention began dying down, and much of England had become industrialized. The first industrialized city, Manchester, England, led the way for other nearby nations and cities to build factories and transform into bustling hubs of disease, pollution, and crime. Textile production boomed, and economic growth was rampant for those fortunate enough to industrialize. 

Image Courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica

Industrialization 2.0

In the 1870s, the Second Industrial Revolution began, and this time, it focused on enhancing machinery rather than creating it.


A synergy between railroads and building materials allowed for the quick transportation of materials and finished products. Building materials could then be used to expand railroads further.
Railroads created more fully integrated national economies and a globalized economic network. With more efficient transportation came an enhanced quality of life and distribution of goods. For instance, the refrigerated rail car allowed for new types of perishable goods to be transported.


New inventions capitalized on new discoveries and industries, such as electricity and chemistry. Water, coal, and iron were now secondary to petroleum, electricity, and the newly discovered Bessemer process to create steel. 
The First Industrial Revolution’s power sources continued to be used in the Second Industrial Revolution, and today, just less than electricity and gas. By the beginning of 1914, factories with machinery became the only way that businesses could supply enough products to fulfill demand. The factory system became the leading method of production.
The rise of electricity, steel, and petroleum resulted in different inventions, including the automobile, the telegraph, the telephone, amusement parks, skyscrapers, radios, steamships, airplanes, and refrigeration.

New Industries

New industries in the Second Industrial Revolution consisted of the automobile industry, the chemical industry, the leisure travel industry, the professional sports industry, and the steel industry.
The Krupp family in Essen, Germany, became known for their production of steel. The company's founder, Alfred Krupp, developed innovative techniques for manufacturing steel and was responsible for building some of the largest and most advanced steel plants of his time. Krupp's steel was used in a wide range of applications, including armaments, railroads, and shipbuilding.
Thank the Second Industrial Revolution for the bright, synthetic colors of today’s clothes, automobiles, telephones, lightbulbs, skyscrapers, and amusement parks. 

The Rise of Mass Society

Mass Society is when a culture has become commonplace in a society with large, impersonal public institutions. This culture in the Second Industrial Revolution was workplace culture, which resulted in improvements for the lower classes. There are four aspects to late-19th century Mass Society: Mass Advertisement, Mass Production, Mass Leisure, and Mass Politics. 

Mass Advertisement

The rise of mass advertisement was a means of promoting products and increasing consumer demand. It became easier and more cost-effective for companies to produce and distribute advertisements on a large scale through radio transmission and newspapers. 📻
Advertisements were featured in newspapers, magazines, billboards, and other public spaces, and they were designed to capture the attention of a broad audience. Advertising played a significant role in shaping consumer culture during this time and contributed to the growth of industries such as transportation, food, and consumer goods.

Mass Production

Mass production was ushered in by the father of the automobile, Henry Ford, and his moving assembly line. It shortened production times by a substantial amount and helped keep up with the demand by allowing commodities to be produced efficiently in large amounts. 🚗

Mass Leisure

Mass leisure refers to the after-work activities that popped up during the Second Industrial Revolution. Amusement parks began appearing, and the automobile allowed workers to drive to faraway places for a vacation and be back in time for work. Music halls, theaters, and team sports became popular and available for the common working class, influencing the leisure industry. 🎡

Mass Politics

Mass politics is the rise of political parties that sought to represent groups of the common people. They saw the tragic state of cities and the working conditions of the lower classes. Determined to make right, multiple groups would campaign to reform living and working conditions, expand voting rights, and give the masses education.
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