On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 313 pages of information about On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures.

282.  Another circumstance which has its influence on this question, is the nature of the machinery.  Heavy machinery, such as stamping-mills, steam-engines, etc., cannot readily be moved, and must always be taken to pieces for that purpose; but when the machinery of a factory consists of a multitude of separate engines, each complete in itself, and all put in motion by one source of power, such as that of steam, then the removal is much less inconvenient.  Thus, stocking frames, lace machines, and looms, can be transported to more favourable positions, with but a small separation of their parts.

283.  It is of great importance that the more intelligent amongst the class of workmen should examine into the correctness of these views; because, without having their attention directed to them, the whole class may, in some instances, be led by designing persons to pursue a course, which, although plausible in appearance, is in reality at variance with their own best interests.  I confess I am not without a hope that this volume may fall into the hands of workmen, perhaps better qualified than myself to reason upon a subject which requires only plain common sense, and whose powers are sharpened by its importance to their personal happiness.  In asking their attention to the preceding remarks, and to those which I shall offer respecting combinations, I can claim only one advantage over them; namely, that I never have had, and in all human probability never shall have, the slightest pecuniary interest, to influence even remotely, or by anticipation, the judgements I have formed on the facts which have come before me.


1.  The amount of obstructions arising from the casual fixing of trees in the bottom of the river, may be estimated from the proportion of steamboats destroyed by running upon them.  The subjoined statement is taken from the American Almanack for 1832.

Between the years 1811 and 1831, three hundred and forty-eight steamboats were built on the Mississippi and its tributary streams.  During that period a hundred and fifty were lost or worn out.

Of this hundred and fifty:  worn out 63
                           lost by snags 36
                           burnt 14
                           lost by collision 3
                           by accidents not ascertained 34
Thirty six or nearly one fourth, being destroyed by accidental

Snag is the name given in America to trees which stand nearly upright in the stream with their roots fixed at the bottom.

It is usual to divide off at the bow of the steamboats a watertight chamber, in order that when a hole is made in it by running against the snags, the water may not enterthe rest of the vessel and sink it intantly.

Chapter 24

On Over Manufacturing

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