On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 358 pages of information about On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures.
perfecting new articles of manufacture, or in carrying to a state of greater perfection articles already established.  He cannot learn, by personal inspection, the wants and habits, the arts, manufactures, and improvements of foreign countries; diligence, economy, and prudence, are the requisites of his character, not invention, taste, and enterprise:  nor would he be warranted in hazarding the loss of any part of his small capital.  He walks in a sure road as long as he treads in the beaten track; but he must not deviate into the paths of speculation.  The owner of a factory, on the contrary, being commonly possessed of a large capital, and having all his workmen employed under his own immediate superintendence, may make experiments, hazard speculation, invent shorter or better modes of performing old processes, may introduce new articles, and improve and perfect old ones, thus giving the range to his taste and fancy, and, thereby alone enabling our manufacturers to stand the competition with their commercial rivals in other countries.  Meanwhile, as is well worthy of remark (and experience abundantly warrants the assertion), many of these new fabrics and inventions, when their success is once established, become general amongst the whole body of manufacturers:  the domestic manufacturers themselves thus benefiting, in the end, from those very factories which had been at first the objects of their jealousy.  The history of almost all our other manufactures, in which great improvements have been made of late years in some cases at an immense expense, and after numbers of unsuccessful experiments, strikingly illustrates and enforces the above remarks.  It is besides an acknowledged fact, that the owners of factories are often amongst the most extensive purchasers at the halls, where they buy from the domestic clothier the established articles of manufacture, or are able at once to answer a great and sudden order; whilst, at home, and under their own superintendence, they make their fancy goods, and any articles of a newer, more costly, or more delicate quality, to which they are enabled by the domestic system to apply a much larger proportion of their capital.  Thus, the two systems, instead of rivalling, are mutual aids to each other:  each supplying the other’s defects, and promoting the other’s prosperity.


1.  Lander’s Journal of an Expedition to the Mouth of the Niger, vol. ii., p. 42.

Chapter 23

On the Position of Large Factories

277.  It is found in every country, that the situation of large manufacturing establishments is confined to particular districts.  In the earlier history of a manufacturing community, before cheap modes of transport have been extensively introduced, it will almost always be found that manufactories are placed near those spots in which nature has produced the raw material:  especially in the case of articles

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On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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