What Were Some Forms of Entertainment During the Industrial Revolution?

New forms of entertainment sprang up during the Industrial Revolution that included theater, department stores, spectator sports, and enhanced communication by way of newspapers, magazine, telephone, phonograph and wireless. The Industrial Revolution not only saw the rise of new technology that altered people’s way of life and provided new forms of entertainment, but it introduced labor changes, such as the regulation of working hours, that enabled people to enjoy more free time and spending power.

The Industrial Revolution began in Britain and quickly spread throughout Europe and to America. Technology transformed the cities in the U.S. from being rural farmland to built-up urban areas consisting of both factories and large corporations. The need for a bigger workforce provided wages to a large percentage of the population, giving people money to spend on entertainment, and the structured working hours allowed people to enjoy their earnings.

Technological innovations, such as electricity and the invention of the light bulb, suddenly made it possible to enjoy different hours, which increased the amount of time able to be spent on leisure activities. Department stores, amusement parks, museums and circuses became popular, as did concerts, operas, vaudeville acts and burlesque shows.

Telephones made communication easier, as did newspapers and magazines, which resulted from enhanced printing processes, and the invention of the wireless. Going to the movies, listening to a phonograph and using a camera became new pastimes. A form of mass entertainment that emerged were spectator sports, such as baseball, boxing and football, that have remained just as popular today.