The Industrial Revolution was a period during the late 18th and 19th century during which society was changed by large scale urbanization and the rise of factory-based, mechanized manufacturing, as well as radically affecting people's way of living. This was made possible by new technologies including the the flying shuttle, spinning jenny, power loom, interchangeable parts, Bessemer Process and in particular the steam engine, both as a means to power industrial equipment and to propel ships and trains. New developments made certain aspects of production cheaper, but also created new demands which caused people to develop new methods and machines to meet these new needs (improvements in weaving technology meant that cloth could be produced more quickly which increased the demand for thread).
In military terms, the Industrial Revolution marked several significant changes in the ways wars were fought. Steam powered Ironclad warships (first built in 1861) were able to easily dispatch sailing ships. On land, rifled cartridged ammunition firing firearms gradually replaced older muzzle loading smoothbores, logistics benefited from the development of railways and items such as canned food and it became possible to train and field vast armies with millions of personnel thanks to mass production.
The Industrial Revolution saw sugnifigant social changes. The population increased significantly and people began to move in large numbers to cities from rural communities. The increased use of machinery required a literate population to properly operate them, leading to the rise of public education. Dealing with crime in the expanding urban centers led to the emergence of Police forces. Feudalism in this time gave way to new democratic governments as well as professional civil services.
The Industrial Revolution was made possible by improvements in infrastructure and agriculture and the dawn of the scientific age during the Age of Enlightenment and started in Great Britain with the textile and ceramic industries. From there, industrialization spread into the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and the Russian Empire over the remainder of the 19th century.
A stylized version of Industrial Revolution era society is thematically used in steampunk.