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.

I have collected, with some pains, the criticisms* on the first edition of this work, and have availed myself of much information which has been communicated to me by my friends, for the improvement of the present volume.  If I have succeeded in expressing that I had to explain with perspicuity, I am aware that much of this clearness is due to my friend, Dr Fitton, to whom both the present and the former edition are indebted for such an examination and correction, as an author himself has very rarely the power to bestow.

[Footnote:  Several of these have probably escaped me, and I shall feel indebted to any one who will inform my publisher of any future remarks.]

22 November, 1832.

Section I.


The object of the present volume is to point out the effects and the advantages which arise from the use of tools and machines;—­to endeavour to classify their modes of action;—­and to trace both the causes and the consequences of applying machinery to supersede the skill and power of the human arm.

A view of the mechanical part of the subject will, in the first instance, occupy our attention, and to this the first section of the work will be devoted.  The first chapter of the section will contain some remarks on the general sources from whence the advantages of machinery are derived, and the succeeding nine chapters will contain a detailed examination of principles of a less general character.  The eleventh chapter contains numerous subdivisions, and is important from the extensive classification it affords of the arts in which copying is so largely employed.  The twelfth chapter, which completes the first section, contains a few suggestions for the assistance of those who propose visiting manufactories.

The second section, after an introductory chapter on the difference between making and manufacturing, will contain, in the succeeding chapters, a discussion of many of the questions which relate to the political economy of the subject.  It was found that the domestic arrangement, or interior economy of factories, was so interwoven with the more general questions, that it was deemed unadvisable to separate the two subjects.  The concluding chapter of this section, and of the work itself, relates to the future prospects of manufactures, as arising from the application of science.

Chapter 1

Sources of the Advantages arising from Machinery and Manufactures

1.  There exists, perhaps, no single circumstance which distinguishes our country more remarkably from all others, than the vast extent and perfection to which we have carried the contrivance of tools and machines for forming those conveniences of which so large a quantity is consumed by almost every class of the community.  The amount of patient thought, of repeated experiment, of happy exertion of genius,

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