Sts 3700 Lecture 6 Retooling Production: Labour, the Factory and Mass Production



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STS 3700 Lecture 6 - Retooling Production: Labour, the Factory and Mass Production

  • Agrarian craft work, urban industrial factory work

  • Late 19th century, fertilizers, mechanization, agricultural productivity

  • After revolution technological innovation rapid, influencing:

    • Incomes, employment, skills, social relations, consumption possibilities



Initial Stages of Improvement in England


  • 1750 spike in innovation rate, English patent system, patents and innovation

  • Anglican England and Protestant, Jewish, Quaker and Puritan minorities

  • Urbanization, artisans and innovation

  • 18th century nutrition, agriculture, transport improvements and life expectancy

  • Agricultural surplus and industrial labor, rural manufacturing and guilds

  • Putting out system, work out of home, regional specialization of production methods, division of labor, expansion

  • Craftsmen, workers and simple tasks, mechanization



Why Britain?


  • Abundant natural resources:

    • Coal, iron ore and land for raising sheep, Swedish iron imports, steel

    • Cotton imports, American and Middle Eastern supplies

    • Natural resources and industrialization (.g. Japan, Switzerland)




  • Wood and coal as fuel:

    • Wood supply, consumption and agriculture, coal substitute fuel

    • Coal and steam engines, printing, dying, iron making

    • Wind and water power and revolution

    • Coal deposits and wood shortages in Europe




  • Scientific advantages:

    • No special British advantages, printing and scientific knowledge

    • Experimentation and mathematical record keeping

    • Scientific contributions to the industrial revolution




  • Government involvement:

    • Britain and government restrictions on industry

    • Loose enforcement of regulations, less paternalism




  • Social Status:

    • Social status and commerce, land ownership




  • Transport systems:

    • Road systems, turnpikes, carrier services, goods, production, organization of labor, innovation

    • River and canal work, roads, costs, regional specialization and urbanization

    • Transportation, communication, competition

    • Transportation and specialization of labor


The Industrial Revolution in America – Starting Points

  • 1790, 3.9 M people in area of US the size of France, 18% slaves, 66% farmers

  • Capital, land, overseas trade, wood and water, steam and coal

  • Agrarian America, technical limits



American Innovations Begin


  • 1850’s, American padlocks, guns and reapers

  • European experience (clock, mill, printing press, agricultural technology, guns)

  • Population increased in the US from 5 million in 1800 to 30 million in 1860

  • Population increases, expansion into West, high wages for scarce agricultural labor, cheap food, disposable income

  • Various factors protected the American market:

    • Distance from foreign markets

    • Napoleonic wars (1799-1815): Americans in British markets

    • 1807 Embargo on British goods

    • 1816 tariff to protect textile industry


Business Structures


  • 1780’s copied UK banking, insurance and corporate structures, capital investment

  • Laws were changed to allow corporations to form more easily

  • State governments: bankruptcy relief, debt forgiveness, limited investor liability

  • Patents and innovations, protection



Factors that Led to Mechanization


  • Wage labor and machines

  • North: low population, ample land, affluent family farmers, South: slavery and plantation economy

  • Northwestern US:

    • Large land holdings, improved transport infrastructure, preference for labor saving machinery as labor expensive but resources cheap

  • Americans less resistant to new technology, wages and displacement

  • Mobility of labor, diversification of skills, flexibility and guild control

  • Full industrialization with expansion of canals, rivers, roads and railways

  • Abundant water power until 1850’s, abundant wood in construction



Americans and Technology Transfer


  • British industrial innovations and productivity

  • After 1840, waves of immigrant labor were put to work on American machines

  • Adaptation of foreign technologies, immigrant technical knowledge: gunpowder, steam and railways, iron and rail technology brought from UK

  • Chemical and pharmaceutical industries, Swiss, English and German immigrants

  • “Inertial effect”, second generation industrial technology and industrial inertia

  • Summary: increased population, resource rich land, market for industrial goods, capital favored by government, workforce that embraced mechanization, and the adoption and improvement of British innovations


The Factory

The Factory System and the Textile Industry

  • Factories: division of labour, more labourers, skill

  • Textile industry early adopter of factory system


  • Textile production, carding to create fibres, cylinder cards

  • Threads were woven, bleached, dyed and printed

The Textile Industry and Science


  • Bleaching land and time consuming

  • Sulfuric acid, Carl Scheele, chlorine (1774), Louis Berthollet, bleaching with chlorine (1785)


Factories and the Machine

  • Specialization and deskilling, factories before machines

  • Control of production methods and pace, supervision

  • Per capita incomes up and real incomes down

  • Cottage industry, factories, water and steam power

  • Standardization, bulk transportation

  • Transportation changes and factory competitiveness

  • Regional specialization and widespread distribution



Factories and Urbanization


  • Rural areas, cheap labour and water power

  • Urban areas, skilled workers, repair facilities

  • Cities: filth, overcrowding, communicable diseases

  • Politics & labour: voting, unions, strikes, safety & children



Factories and the Americas


  • American independence and British skill

  • Spinning technology and cheap English imports

  • Samuel Slater (1768-1835), child labour, family labour

  • Water power, fewer mills, farm weavers

  • American spinning capacity

  • American rural mills, cheap housing



Female Labor, Immigration and the American Factory


  • Women, dowries, farm versus factory work

  • Cultural development, magazines, social gatherings

  • Patents, costs, competition, wages, strikes, cheap immigrant labour


Mechanization and Production

  • Mechanization of production (clocks, guns) more complex than textiles, construction & assembly of specialized parts


Military Involvement in Technological Innovation

  • Military resources & assured market

  • Military road surveys, states & railroad & canal construction

  • War of 1812, “interchangeable” guns, Harper’s Ferry & Springfield

  • 1821 “pattern musket”, 1826, gauges & specialized drilling tools

  • Higher per unit cost, specialized tools & skills

  • multiple tools 1845, tool to tool transitioning 1873

  • Milling machines, pattern lathes, drop presses, fixtures & gauges

  • Specialization of labor, deskilling & management control of labor

  • 1851 Crystal Palace exposition, American padlocks, revolvers, reapers & interchangeable rifles

  • Reapers, sewing machines, typewriters, bicycles & cars

  • Government subsidization of R+D

  • Private sector, owners, laborers & machinery

  • Skilled machinists & unskilled immigrant workers

  • Rural population, reliable, simple, cheap goods made by machine

  • High land to labor ratio, expensive, wasteful, fast & simple tools

  • Machines and skilled labor pool in cities

  • Certain industries slow to adopt machines (furniture)

  • Cheap immigrant labor & specialized tasks

  • Machines and class, workshop control, waste

  • Skill levels, machine tools & wage work


Gradual Resistance to Change

  • Management, workers, productivity, efficiency, solidarity & liberty

  • Worker resistance to women & children in workplace

  • Artisans & capitalists, control of profits

  • Work pride, skill, & selling of time, vocation

  • Worker ownership, management control

  • Employers, hourly wages, “by the piece” wages

  • Workers, over productivity, overtime & cap on working hours

  • Layoffs in 1880’s, & workers & length of work day

  • Separation of work, leisure & home

  • Disproportionate wage changes, political power


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