Living standards rose and people generally became richer and healthier and had more children who survived to be adults instead of starving. The resulting population growth in England caused new problems.  The environment was damaged.  Where only a few people had been rich because they owned land, now more became very rich thanks to industry. As before, however, most people were poor and lived in poor conditions.  Children and women had to work for a long time for little pay.  Often several families crowded into very small apartments. Working at different times, family members would take turns sleeping when they were not working.  Families were usually unable to get together. 12, 14, or even 18-hour workdays were common.  The Industrial Revolution brought problems of its own.
This enthusiasm for spreading innovations to new economic domains was a further characteristic of the later eighteenth century, and it meant that the industrial revolution transformed numerous areas of the British economy, not just cotton, iron-making, and steam power. Cheap iron, for instance, allowed for the creation of new machine tools, and when combined with steam power, these made possible mechanized production of numerous products that once had been made by hand. Steam power and coal fuel allowed the potter Josiah Wedgwood (1730 – 1795) to establish mass production processes in making porcelain, until then a luxury good. Inventors began to think about the possibilities of using iron in buildings and ships. Economic transformations of these kinds did not mean the end of small workshops or skilled artisans. On the contrary, the development of machine making required more workshops and highly skilled laborers, and many consumer products lent themselves to small-scale production. Even after the advent of power looms, handloom weavers remained numerous and prosperous well into the nineteenth century. But by 1800 it was clear to all that dramatic change was likely to affect all domains of the economy; technological advances had become normal, and contemporaries expected that it would transform new areas of economic activity.
This was followed by Abraham Darby, who made great strides using coke to fuel his blast furnaces at Coalbrookdale in 1709. However, the coke pig iron he made was used mostly for the production of cast iron goods such as pots and kettles. He had the advantage over his rivals in that his pots, cast by his patented process, were thinner and cheaper than theirs. Coke pig iron was hardly used to produce bar iron in forges until the mid 1750s, when his son Abraham Darby II built Horsehay and Ketley furnaces (not far from Coalbrookdale). By then, coke pig iron was cheaper than charcoal pig iron.