AN ESSAY ON WOOL, AND Woollen MANUFACTURE.
FOrasmuch as Wool and Woollen Manufacture, is of very great Concern to every Landed Man, and that your Honour is no less desirous to joyn in such Measures, as may conduce to the Benefit of the Nation in general, and that place for which you serve in particular, as of your own Estate, I hope with all humility, that you will entertain this Paper with the same Candour, where∣with you have always accepted my Labours for the Publick; and the rather, because your Honour will easily believe, that I have no Private Interest to serve, in relation to this Subject.
Page 2 It hath been observed by Men of the greatest Expe∣rience, that the Undervaluation of English Commo∣dities abroad, hath been the first and most considera∣ble detriment we have suffered in our Forreign Deal∣ings.
And altho' at first the Dutch and the Easterlings did all they could to raise the Price of our Woollen Ma∣nufacture, to the end, that they might the better sell their own, yet having now established their own to a great and dangerous degree, they begin to run down our Cloth, as fast as before they hoisted it up, and care not how cheap we sell, provided they can assign for the Cause of that Cheapness, the false making of our Cloth of late, and the exacter care that Forreign Manufactors take, for the Accusation now is not, that our Cloth is dear, but false made.
And it appears, not only by the Confession, but by the Complaint of our Clothiers in general, that this suggestion of Forreign Dealers hath but too much ground; they complain very justly, That Dutch Chapmen, and private Merchants, who have of late Years exported our Cloth, having not been able to give the full Price, have had great Quantities of Cloth made to that Price that they can afford to give, and tho' the honest Clothier doth make such bad Ware with great regret, yet he is forced to make such as he can vend, since the Societies of Merchants, who al∣ways gave a good Price (for which they had such Ware as Forreign Manufactors cannot imitate) do now buy very little, being under-sold abroad by petty Chap-men, who, of late Years, have forced a Trade.
Page 3 This sudden and unnatural Trade hath for divers times been experimented, to make the Price of Wool for a while rise; for that low Price, at which Fo∣reign-Merchants have set this false-made Cloth, hath caused many Buyers abroad, to take advantage of that cheap Opportunity of stocking themselves with English Drapery; and such a Trade hath lasted for Three or Four years, whereby much Wool hath been here manufactured, and the Price of Wool according∣ly raised; but at length, when the Baseness of this Manufacture hath been discovered, and the Markets abroad clogg'd, as sudden a Fall of Wool must in all likelihood be expected to have ensued, and by this Opportunity the Value of foreign made Cloth hath been raised, our Cloth discredited, Merchants of So∣cieties discourag'd, Clothiers had little to do, Grow∣ers to pay, and Landlords to receive. So that with Submission it seems absolutely necessary to the Good of this Kingdom,
- I. That our Woollen Manufacture be raised to its former Credit and Esteem abroad.
- II. That the Ballance of Trade be set evener, and and that neither too much nor too little be every year exported.
- III. That it may be put not only into a flourish∣ing, but into a lasting state.
For, First, If the Price of our Cloth be low abroad, 'tis impossible that Wool should continue to bear a good Price at home: If Cloth falls, the Mate∣rial Page 4 'tis made of must fall with it, and consequently the Labours of the Card-makers, Breakers, Combers, Carders, Spinners, Weavers, Fullers, Shearmen, Clo∣thiers, Dyers, Cloth workers, Packers, &c. must be beat down, if these be discourag'd, we must more and more lose our Manufacture, for who will breed up their Children to a discourag'd Trade? And in the end we shall as effectually lose it as the Dutch have already gained it.
Secondly, If the Ballance of Trade be not kept even, not only in reference to Goods exported and im∣ported, which the Foreigner never observes, but in reference likewise to Foreign Markets, that one be not over-clogg'd with that Commodity which ano∣ther wants, and that Times and Seasons be duly ob∣serv'd, we shall put the Chapmen abroad, that are to take off our Cloth to such Uncertainties, that there will be no dealing with us, for they will find in many places, that private Merchants have supply'd those Retailers, whom they used to furnish, they'll find Cloath cheap where they expect it to be dear; so that they cannot sell, and Cloth dear where they expect it to be cheap, so that they cannot buy; so when they buy, it shall be Dutch Cloth, and when they sell ours, it shall be for what they can get.
Thirdly, 'Tis of no advantage to the Nation to have a Fit of good Trading, if it cannot continue; nay, in this Instance of Woollen Manufacture it is injurious; for if a Purchaser buys Land, or a Tenant takes a Lease, or a Grower encreases his Stock, upon the con∣sideration of Wools bearing such a Price, each one of Page 5 these is a Loser when it falls. And so if the Clothier encreases his Number of Apprentices, Looms, Stock, and the like, upon a false Supposition, he is like to be ruined. The Condition things are in at present is not only to be minded, but that which they must ne∣cessarily be in hereafter.
Wherefore 'tis humbly propos'd, in the first place,
I. That Care be taken, that our Cloth be made so good, that it shall bear a considerable Price abroad, and yet be cheaper to the Buyer than foreign∣made Cloth; for if at the same time it be not chea∣per in proportion to the Goodness than Dutch-made Cloth, 'tis impossible that we can keep the Trade from them. 'Tis natural for every Man to make the most of his Penny, and since our Growers and Clothiers cannot live upon their Profession, at the price of Cloth which the Dutch do now afford it at, we must make our Cloth truer and better than they do to outsell them. For though the Wool be of our own growth, and Ful∣ler's-Earth peculiar to us, yet they have so many ways of getting the former, and so much Store have they got from us of the latter, that they can continue the Manufacture many years without us. And if inferior Workmen with them are to be had so much cheaper than with us, the Advantages of our Native Commodities do but little more than compensate for the dearness of our Workmen.
But something they do, and something we surpass them when we please in Workmanship, to which if a little good Policy and State-Encouragement were ad∣ded, we may still retrieve a Languishing Trade, by suffering no Cloth to go out of England, but of such a standard Goodness, according to such and such Marks.
Page 6 II. Secondly, That our Cloth-Trade may be di∣vided all over the World, into particular Cantons proportioned and ballanc'd, as may seem best upon due Information, to the Wisdom of Parliament, who may perhaps think fit to constitute of their own Members an Annual Committee, with fixed Allowances and Pen∣sions out of a publick Bank, who may alter and recti∣fie the Proportions of each English Corporation of Merchants, and place of foreign Sale, according as Times and Occasions alter.
III. Thirdly, That such a certain and definite num∣ber of Cloths be every year exported necessarily, without any abatement for any pretended Contin∣gencies, as may keep the Price of Wool, and the Ma∣nufacture of it to such a height, as that the Clothier shall know it his Interest to make so many more Cloths than now he doth; the Grower to encrease his Stock of Sheep, and the Landlord to raise his Rent and Value of Land.
Concerning the first of these three Proposals, di∣vers Acts of Parliament are still in force, which may be revived and amended as may seem good to the Legislative Powers; the other two are liable, so far as I can see, to no Difficulties and Objections, but what may be obviated by this Method, viz.
There being so many Societies of English Mer∣chants exporting our Woollen Manufacture to foreign parts, they may be obliged, coming under such Regulations as the Parliament shall think fit, to export every Year each Company such a proportion of Page 7 Cloth as altogether may leave us but bare enough for our own use, and that at a round price. Thus suppo∣sing the Cloth-trading Merchants to be the Merchant-Adventurers, the Turky Company, the East-India Company, the Eastland Company, the Hudson's-Bay Com∣pany, the Russia Company, the African Company.
And suppose there be, in all England and Wales, (according to the ingenious and accurate MrHoughton) 39938500 Acres of Land, and one Third part of it unfit for feeding of Sheep, as Woods, Parks, Fens, Mine-pits, &c. or otherwise employ'd; and that one Sixth-part of the Remainder be good Meadow; and such Land as will maintain two Sheep on an Acre; and that all the rest be plow'd Land, barren Downs; Wasts, Commons, Orchards, and the like; which may, one with another, maintain one Sheep on an Acre, this will amount to 31063257 Sheep in the whole Nation: Allow then 75 Fleeces to a Pack of Wool, there will be 414176 Packs.
One Pack weighing 240 l. all Detriments, Wast and Tare rebated, will make Three Pieces of Broad-Cloth, Thirty Yards to a Piece; and if we make yearly in all England 150000 Broad-Cloths, they are supposed to take up 50000 Packs of our Wool, and of the Spanish Wool imported, we may, at the most, reckon Ten thousand Cloths more; in all 160000.
One Pack of Wool will make likewise six Pieces of lesser Drapery, as Kerseys, Bays, Flannel, Serges, Perpetuano's, Says, Frise, and the like, one with ano∣ther of thirty Yards a Piece; and, I recken, that we make 1600000 of these lesser Draperies, (I may call 'em altogether) yearly, which will spend 266666 Packs, their's 316666 Packs disposed of; and suppose Page 8 such Uses as shall be hereafter mention'd, to take up the remaining 97510 Packs, here's the whole Pro∣duct of Wool in the Land, which by the former Computation of Acres, amounts to 99402240 Pound.
Grant then, that in England there be 7000000 of Men, Women, and Children, of which 1000000 to be Infants, and their Wear not reckon'd, Two Milli∣ons more to wear old and patch'd Cloaths, Lindsey∣woolsie, and the like, and but One in Seven to wear Broad-Cloth, and no more each than three Yards a piece for a whole Year, this amounts to 100000 Cloths: And that Three more in the Seven wear only lesser Drapery, and but 5 Yards each to a Year's Wear, (which in Norwich, and such-like Stuffs, will not go far) this comes to 500000 Pieces; then to every Piece of Cloth, allow one Piece of Stuffs in Linings, Wastcoats, Breeches, &c. and we have but 1000000 of lesser Drapery, and Sixty thousand Cloths yearly to Export.
Then for 97510 Packs of Wool remaining, allow to every one of the Six Millions, One pair of Stockins a Year, and Four pair to a pound of Wool, and a quarter as many exported, amount to 25000 Packs; then for Hats, that of Three Millions, each wears one Hat in two Years, and four Hats to one Pound of Wool, amounts to Five thousand Packs more.
Upholsterers Ware, as Blankets, Curtains, Hang∣ings, Skreens, Linings of Coaches, Chairs, and the like, to be a quarter-part of the Stuffs that are made, spends Fifty thousand Packs; and if one thirtieth part of our Wool be put to such Uses as are here omitted, Page 9 and otherwise wasted in dressing and working it, what's left will be too little for burying Shrouds, and other Funeral Occasions.
And now we have none left but what is to be Ex∣ported, viz. Sixty thousand Cloths, and One Mil∣lion of lesser Drapery.
First then, The Merchant-Adventurers being resto∣red by Queen Elizabeth, upon the Petitions of the Growers and Clothiers, to all those Priviledges, which in the Twenty-ninth Year of Her Reign they had been deprived of, flourished so, that about the Year 1600, they Exported Sixty thousand White Cloths, besides all manner of Stuffs every Year, the White Cloths alone valued at 600000 l. Forty Years after they Exported about 50000 Broad Cloths, 1000 Bays, and 20000 Stuffs a Year: And the Reason they give, why of late they have not Exported a quarter so ma∣ny Broad-Cloths, and little more than half so many Stuffs, is, that Forreigners who understand not the Trade, have brought Quantities of false made Cloth here, and Exported it, and not only glutted and mistimed Forreign Markets, but brought the Commo∣dity into disesteem. Now if the Wisdom of the Par∣liament shall think fit to put a stop to that private Trade, and restore the Merchants to their former State, they cannot think themselves ill used, if it be upon Condition. That they every Year Export Fif∣teen thousand Broad-Cloths; and seeing the Stuff-Trade, and especially of new Draperies, is quicker of the two, 250000 of them.
Page 10 The Turkey-Company may likewise be obliged to Export yearly Twenty eight thousand Broad-Cloaths, and Five thousand Stuffs. The East-India Company Five thousand Broad-Cloths, and 45 thousand Stuffs. The East-land Company Three thousand Cloths, and Ten thousand Stuffs. The Hudson-Bay Company Five hundred Cloths. The Russia Company Four thousand Cloths, and Four thousand Stuffs. The Afri∣can Company One hundred and forty thousand Stuffs.
So that now we have but Four thousand five hun∣dred Broad-Cloths, and Five hundred forty six thou∣sand Stuffs remaining.
And the Portuguezes, who would take off at least. Three hundred thousand Pound a Year in our Wool∣len Manufactures, if we would deal with 'em for Wine, do nevertheless take off about 180 thousand Stuffs a Year. Spain, about Two thousand Cloths, and Three hundred thousand Stuffs. Italy, Five hundred Cloths, and Forty thousand Stuffs. Barbary Six thousand Stuffs. The Western Plantations, Ten thousand Stuffs. Sweden, and Norway, Two thousand Cloths, and Ten thousand Stuffs; without any Obligation, but the Ne∣cessity of their Trade. These Proportions I insist not upon, the Wisdom of Parliament will find out better.
But if the Merchant-Adventurers, or any other Fraternity, shall, after the Proportion is set out, think themselves hardly dealt with, by being obliged so to increase their Dealings, they have a Remedy at hand, and can ease themselves, by enlarging their Company, and making more Members of it Free upon easie Terms. In King Iames the First's time, they had Three thou∣sand Page 11 five hundred Freemen of that Company; and since that, they have had Six thousand Free at a time: Now suppose they admit but Four thousand Freemen, and that but one quarter of these are Dealers, and that one with another, they Export each for himself, but Fifteen Cloths, and Two hundred and fifty Stuffs a Year, which is no great Merchandizing, it will do; and accordingly the other Companies, if they think fit, may take the like Measures.
I proceed therefore to the Advantages that we may expect to reap by such a Method.
I. First, This will keep the Cloth-Trade altogether in the hands of the English; I mean, the Profits of Trade in English Manufacture, in which Forreigners at present have too great a share, as English Merchants and Clothiers well know to their sorrow.
II. There will be less Danger and Loss upon the Seas. Societies of Merchants trading in strong and well mann'd Vessels, and not adventuring, as petty Merchants do, without Convoys, to the enriching the Enemy, and impoverishing our selves.
III. This will encourage the Building of great and able Ships, which may be of Service to the Publick in Times of Necessity: for Societies will not hazard so valuable a Commodity as Cloth, and in such great Parcels, as doubtless they will send out at a time, in ordinary Vessels: for one of the Mysteries of Merchan∣dize, being the right timeing of Markets, they will not send over in Driblets, as independent Traders do, Page 12 but send sufficient Quantities at a time, according to the Occasions and Fashions of the Places they deal with; besides, their By-Laws oblige 'em to Export only in English Bottoms.
IV. The Nation's Credit abroad will by this means improve, and those Societies yearly bring to such and such Places, so great a quantity of our Manufacture, as will be a Security to any Town or State we deal with, and each Society will be more able upon any great Exigence, as by taking up Money, or engaging Themselves, and their Effects, for the Service of their Country, to do the Nation, especially in time of War, some signal Offices; as the Merchant-Adventu∣rers did, about the time of the Spanish Invasion.
V. Exportation of, Manufactured Wool will be ne∣ver attempted: for when the Manufacture is so much encourag'd, Wool will bear a better Price at home, than now it doth abroad; here will be Ready Money without danger, and variety of Markets; whereas the Exportors run great Risques, are forced to sell where they first Land, and sometimes, to take Words instead of Money. For,
VI. The Price of Wool must necessarily rise and keep up, if every Year so much is Exported, as not to leave enough for our home use.
VII. Our Cloth will bear a constant good Price a∣broad, when no body can much undersel another, be∣cause all Wares of such and such Marks, will be of like goodness, the Price at the first Penny will not be Page 13 much different, the Charges and Hazards almost equal to every one, and no Merchant will be over or un∣derstock'd, to the unspeakable undervaluation of our Ware.
VIII. 'Twill prevent our Clothiers, and other Manufactors, transporting themselves into Holland, to the irreparable damage of this Nation, as 140 Fami∣lies did out of Norfolk and Suffolk, in the Years 1635, 1636. and when Two or Three thousand of our English Clothiers settled themselves in the Pa∣latinate.
IX. The Orders for Overseeing and Sealing Cloth will be more strictly look'd after, by pub∣lick Officers; and indeed every Member of these Societies: Whereas the Foreigner, looks no farther, than to get so many Yards overplus, in considerati∣on of the want of Breadth▪ and Goodness, provi∣ded he hath it at his own Terms, beating down by that means the Price of Cloth here, and under∣selling it abroad: So that the Retailers abroad, that buy it of us, do only look upon the Muster and Outside, and finding themselves afterwards cheated, they change their Chapmen, and deal with the Honester Dutch; which might be prevented by Pub∣lick Officers, and a Publick Seal.
X. This will make the Commodity more staple and more considerable all over the World; where∣as now the proffer'd Sale of it makes it contempti∣ble, and they that accept the Bargain make good the Merchant's Proverb, That there is TwentyPage 14 per Cent. difference between, Will you Buy, and Will you Sell.
XI. Greater quantities of Cloth will be here made than now is, when the Clothiers are morally sure of a certain Market, and Ready-Mony before the Year goes about, and that make as much as they will, it shall be all taken off their Hands.
These Benefits I have enumerated regard the Good of the Nation in general, and those belonging to the Merchant and Clothier in particular, are likewise worth consideration. For,
1. Wealthy Merchants will not be able to En∣gross so much the Trade to themselves as now they do, but every Member will have a Share in the Circulation proportionable to his Abilities. The Great Ones shall not have too much upon their Hands at a time, nor the lesser Merchants too lit∣tle, but every one shall have so many Lots as his Trade requires, which may be known and attested by Certificates from an English Publick Notary abroad, which will make every ones Factor industrious to drive as good and as speedy a Trade as he can. Nor will this be any Wrong to great Merchants, or exposing their Effects or Abilities, since every one hath Liberty to be of more than one Society, as we see divers Merchants belong at the same time both to the East-India and African Company, and so others.
Page 15 2. Again, Young Traders would hereby have Assi∣stance and Direction in their Dealings, and not be suffer'd to Ruine themselves, as they do, by wading out of their Depths. They would not find a way easily of Trading without a Stock, whereby they of∣ten ruine themselves and dishonour the Nation, it being a Reflection upon us abroad, that our Young Merchants engage themselves too deep, and when not governed by a Society too extravagantly:
Young Merchants, and those that cry out so much for free Exportation, do often take up Goods upon Credit or Exchange to Ten or Twelve per Cent. Loss, and afterwards upon some sudden Pinch being forced to Sell, they undersell others to keep up their Credit, to the disparagement of our Commodities and ruine of themselves, as well by losing in the Cloth they sell, as buying For∣reign Ware at too dear a rate, enhaunsing the Price of our Neighbor's Commodities, and lessening that of our own, to make quick Return. So the Merchants of York, Hull, and Newcastle send young men over with their Cloth (too young indeed to deal with Hollanders, Hans-towns, and Iews) who having engaged themselves to relade their Ships at a certain day with Foreign Ware, before they can sell their Cloth they buy of Foreigners upon Credit, and having a Day of Payment set, are for∣ced, be the Market how it will, to sell their Cloth at any rate, to keep up their Credit; which wild way of Traffick makes the Price of Cloth so uncertain to Foreigners, that the Retailer knows not when and how to buy, and so grows weary of the Trade.
Page 16 3. This will be a Means to hinder the raising of Tolls and Imports abroad, each Company having Influence and Authority where they reside, espe∣cially in such a Town as Hamburgh, where the Trade hath maintain'd 20000 Persons at a time; and be able likewise to contravene all fraudulent Dealings and Combinations against the Trade.
4. This will not only keep up, but encrease the number of Publick Places of Sale abroad, where our Cloth is exposed in an open Market, and all the Sellers are obliged to attend with great Plenty and Variety; which Method is known by long Experi∣ence to forward the Sale of any Ware: And such publick Places and Markets can no more be settled abroad by Private Dealers, than it could be practis'd here at home by Foreigners, who though they had upon mis-information of Queen Elizabeths Council, the George in King-street, West∣minster, assigned them for a publick place of Trade, yet could never bring one Waggon-load of Clothes to be unloaded there: And if under the notion of Buyers, People in a foreign Country cannot without being incorporated make a Publick Place of Trade, much less can they under the Notion of Sel∣lers.
Beside that, publick Places of Sale are more for the Honour of the Commodity, and of the Mer∣chant, than private bartering and pedling up and down, as those stragling Merchants did in the year 1565, who went up and down at Narve in Lisland,Page 17 with English Cloth under their Arms, and a Measure in their Hands, bringing the noblest Commodity of England into the greatest Contempt.
But most Advantage of all will by this means accrue to the Clothier, and by consequence to the Grower; for there will be so current a Price, and such certain Dealings for this Staple Commodity, that Broakers, Wool-Iobbers, and the like, will not henceforth eat out the Clothiers Profit, (a great cause of the dearness of Manufacture in England) but the Merchant and Draper will be forced to employ Factors to go about the Country, and buy Cloth at the Clothiers home, paying ready Money: At least the Clothiers bringing their Cloths to Market every week, will find Customers enough: So the poorest Clothiers, which have but a little Stock, may Trade for themselves, which now they cannot do.
I could enumerate many more Conveniencies both National and Particular;
As, That it would be a means to prevent the King's being defrauded in his Customs.
That Taxes upon Stock and Effects may hereby be more easily laid.
That Trade will be judiciously varied according to Emergencies and Alterations abroad.
There will be less quarreling with our Merchants about Tare and Rebatements.
This will raise the Price of Corn throughout the Nation; for Wool keeping hereby certainly to a round price, Stock will be encreased, and a great deal of Land laid down in Pasture, so that there will be less Corn-Land, and less Corn sowed.
Page 18 But what I have said may perhaps suffice to satisfie your Honour, That however I succeed, I think it my Duty to study the good of my Country.
I will not now trouble your Honour with an Ac∣count of the great Damages this Nation sustains, by the Exportation of that which is not full Manufactured, I leave that to another Hand.
I am, &c.
This article is about places of manufacture. For other uses, see Factory (disambiguation).
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial site, usually consisting of buildings and machinery, or more commonly a complex having several buildings, where workers manufacturegoods or operate machinesprocessing one product into another.
Factories arose with the introduction of machinery during the Industrial Revolution when the capital and space requirements became too great for cottage industry or workshops. Early factories that contained small amounts of machinery, such as one or two spinning mules, and fewer than a dozen workers have been called "glorified workshops".
Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production. Large factories tend to be located with access to multiple modes of transportation, with some having rail, highway and water loading and unloading facilities.
Factories may either make discrete products or some type of material continuously produced such as chemicals, pulp and paper, or refined oil products. Factories manufacturing chemicals are often called plants and may have most of their equipment – tanks, pressure vessels, chemical reactors, pumps and piping – outdoors and operated from control rooms. Oil refineries have most of their equipment outdoors.
Discrete products may be final consumer goods, or parts and sub-assemblies which are made into final products elsewhere. Factories may be supplied parts from elsewhere or make them from raw materials. Continuous production industries typically use heat or electricity to transform streams of raw materials into finished products.
The term mill originally referred to the milling of grain, which usually used natural resources such as water or wind power until those were displaced by steam power in the 19th century. Because many processes like spinning and weaving, iron rolling, and paper manufacturing were originally powered by water, the term survives as in steel mill, paper mill, etc.
Max Weber considered production during ancient times as never warranting classification as factories, with methods of production and the contemporary economic situation incomparable to modern or even pre-modern developments of industry. In ancient times, the earliest production limited to the household, developed into a separate endeavour independent to the place of inhabitation with production at that time only beginning to be characteristic of industry, termed as "unfree shop industry", a situation caused especially under the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh, with slave employment and no differentiation of skills within the slave group comparable to modern definitions as division of labour.
According to translations of Demosthenes and Herodotus, Naucratis was a, or the only, factory in the entirety of ancient Egypt. A source of 1983 (Hopkins), states the largest factory production in ancient times was of 120 slaves within 4th century BC Athens. An article within the New York Times article dated 13 October 2011 states:
"In African Cave, Signs of an Ancient Paint Factory" – (John Noble Wilford)
... discovered at Blombos Cave, a cave on the south coast of South Africa where 100,000-year-old tools and ingredients were found with which early modern humans mixed an ochre-based paint.
Although The Cambridge Online Dictionary definition of factory states:
a building or set of buildings where large amounts of goods are made using machines 
... the utilization of machines presupposes social cooperation and the division of labour
— von Mises 
The first machine is stated by one source to have been traps used to assist with the capturing of animals, corresponding to the machine as a mechanism operating independently or with very little force by interaction from a human, with a capacity for use repeatedly with operation exactly the same on every occasion of functioning. The wheel was invented c. 3000 BC, the spoked wheel c. 2000 BC. The Iron Age began approximately 1200–1000 BC. However, other sources define machinery as a means of production.
Archaeology provides a date for the earliest city as 5000 BC as Tell Brak (Ur et al. 2006), therefore a date for cooperation and factors of demand, by an increased community size and population to make something like factory level production a conceivable necessity.
According to one text the water-mill was first made in 555 A.D. by Belisarius, although according to another they were known to Pliny the Elder and Vitruvius in the first century B.C. By the time of the 4th century A.D. mills with a capacity to grind 3 tonnes of cereal an hour, a rate sufficient to meet the needs of 80,000 persons, were in use by the Roman Empire.
The Venice Arsenal provides one of the first examples of a factory in the modern sense of the word. Founded in 1104 in Venice, Republic of Venice, several hundred years before the Industrial Revolution, it mass-produced ships on assembly lines using manufactured parts. The Venice Arsenal apparently produced nearly one ship every day and, at its height, employed 16,000 people.[verification needed]
Main article: Factory system
See also: Industrial Revolution
One of the earliest factories was John Lombe's water-powered silk mill at Derby, operational by 1721. By 1746, an integrated brass mill was working at Warmley near Bristol. Raw material went in at one end, was smelted into brass and was turned into pans, pins, wire, and other goods. Housing was provided for workers on site. Josiah Wedgwood in Staffordshire and Matthew Boulton at his Soho Manufactory were other prominent early industrialists, who employed the factory system.
The factory system began widespread use somewhat later when cottonspinning was mechanized.
Richard Arkwright is the person credited with inventing the prototype of the modern factory. After he patented his water frame in 1769, he established Cromford Mill, in Derbyshire, England, significantly expanding the village of Cromford to accommodate the migrant workers new to the area. The factory system was a new way of organizing labour made necessary by the development of machines which were too large to house in a worker's cottage. Working hours were as long as they had been for the farmer, that is, from dawn to dusk, six days per week. Overall, this practice essentially reduced skilled and unskilled workers to replaceable commodities. Arkwright's factory was the first successful cotton spinning factory in the world; it showed unequivocally the way ahead for industry and was widely copied.
Between 1820 and 1850 mechanized factories supplanted traditional artisan shops as the predominant form of manufacturing institution, because the larger-scale factories enjoyed a significant technological advantage over the small artisan shops. The earliest factories (using the factory system) developed in the cotton and wool textiles industry. Later generations of factories included mechanized shoe production and manufacturing of machinery, including machine tools. Factories that supplied the railroad industry included rolling mills, foundries and locomotive works. Agricultural-equipment factories produced cast-steel plows and reapers. Bicycles were mass-produced beginning in the 1880s.
The Nasmyth, Gaskell and Company's Bridgewater Foundry, which began operation in 1836, was one of the earliest factories to use modern materials handling such as cranes and rail tracks through the buildings for handling heavy items.
Large scale electrification of factories began around 1900 after the development of the AC motor which was able to run at constant speed depending on the number of poles and the current electrical frequency. At first larger motors were added to line shafts, but as soon as small horsepower motors became widely available, factories switched to unit drive. Eliminating line shafts freed factories of layout constraints and allowed factory layout to be more efficient. Electrification enabled sequential automation using relay logic.
Main article: Assembly line
Henry Ford further revolutionized the factory concept in the early 20th century, with the innovation of the mass production. Highly specialized laborers situated alongside a series of rolling ramps would build up a product such as (in Ford's case) an automobile. This concept dramatically decreased production costs for virtually all manufactured goods and brought about the age of consumerism.[verification needed]
In the mid- to late 20th century, industrialized countries introduced next-generation factories with two improvements:
- Advanced statistical methods of quality control, pioneered by the American mathematician William Edwards Deming, whom his home country initially ignored. Quality control turned Japanese factories into world leaders in cost-effectiveness and production quality.
- Industrial robots on the factory floor, introduced in the late 1970s. These computer-controlled welding arms and grippers could perform simple tasks such as attaching a car door quickly and flawlessly 24 hours a day. This too cut costs and improved speed.
Some speculation as to the future of the factory includes scenarios with rapid prototyping, nanotechnology, and orbital zero-gravity facilities.
Historically significant factories
Siting the factory
Before the advent of mass transportation, factories' needs for ever-greater concentrations of laborers meant that they typically grew up in an urban setting or fostered their own urbanization. Industrial slums developed, and reinforced their own development through the interactions between factories, as when one factory's output or waste-product became the raw materials of another factory (preferably nearby). Canals and railways grew as factories spread, each clustering around sources of cheap energy, available materials and/or mass markets. The exception proved the rule: even greenfield factory sites such as Bournville, founded in a rural setting, developed its own housing and profited from convenient communications systems.[verification needed]
Regulation curbed some of the worst excesses of industrialization's factory-based society, a series of Factory Acts leading the way in Britain. Trams, automobiles and town planning encouraged the separate development of industrial suburbs and residential suburbs, with laborers commuting between them.
Though factories dominated the Industrial Era, the growth in the service sector eventually began to dethrone them:[verification needed] the focus of labor in general shifted to central-city office towers or to semi-rural campus-style establishments, and many factories stood deserted in local rust belts.
The next blow to the traditional factories came from globalization. Manufacturing processes (or their logical successors, assembly plants) in the late 20th century re-focussed in many instances on Special Economic Zones in developing countries or on maquiladoras just across the national boundaries of industrialized states. Further re-location to the least industrialized nations appears possible as the benefits of out-sourcing and the lessons of flexible location apply in the future.[verification needed]
Governing the factory
Much of management theory developed in response to the need to control factory processes.[verification needed] Assumptions on the hierarchies of unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled laborers and their supervisors and managers still linger on; however an example of a more contemporary approach to handle design applicable to manufacturing facilities can be found in Socio-Technical Systems (STS).
A shadow factory is a term given to dispersed manufacturing sites in times of war to reduce the risk of disruption due to enemy air-raids and often with the dual purpose of increasing manufacturing capacity. Before World War II Britain had built many shadow factories.
British shadow factories
Main article: British shadow factories
Production of the Supermarine Spitfire at its parent company's base at Woolston, Southampton was vulnerable to enemy attack as a high-profile target and was well within range of Luftwaffe bombers. Indeed, on 26 September 1940 this facility was completely destroyed by an enemy bombing raid. Supermarine had already established a plant at Castle Bromwich; this action prompted them to further disperse Spitfire production around the country with many premises being requisitioned by the British Government.
Connected to the Spitfire was production of its equally important Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, Rolls-Royce's main aero engine facility was located at Derby, the need for increased output was met by building new factories in Crewe and Glasgow and using a purpose-built factory of Ford of Britain in Trafford ParkManchester.
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