The remark—that it is important to commit to writing all information as soon as possible after it is received, especially when numbers are concerned—applies to almost all enquiries. It is frequently impossible to do this at the time of visiting an establishment, although not the slightest jealousy may exist; the mere act of writing information as it is communicated orally, is a great interruption to the examination of machinery. In such cases, therefore, it is advisable to have prepared beforehand the questions to be asked, and to leave blanks for the answers, which may be quickly inserted, as, in a multitude of cases, they are merely numbers. Those who have not tried this plan will be surprised at the quantity of information which may, through its means, be acquired, even by a short examination. Each manufacture requires its own list of questions, which will be better drawn up after the first visit. The following outline, which is very generally applicable, may suffice for an illustration; and to save time, it may be convenient to have it printed; and to bind up, in the form of a pocket-book, a hundred copies of the skeleton forms for processes, with about twenty of the general enquiries.
Outlines of a description of any of the mechanical arts ought to contain information on the following points
Brief sketch of its history, particularly the date of its invention, and of its introduction into England.
Short reference to the previous states through which the material employed has passed: the places whence it is procured: the price of a given quantity.
[The various processes must now be described successively according to the plan which will be given in (161); after which the following information should be given.]
Are various kinds of the same article made in one establishment, or at different ones, and are there differences in the processes?
To what defects are the goods liable?
What substitutes or adulterations are used?
What waste is allowed by the master?
What tests are there of the goodness of the manufactured articles?
The weight of a given quantity, or number, and a comparison with that of the raw material?
The wholesale price at the manufactory? (L s. d.) per ( )
The usual retail price? (L s. d.)
Who provide tools? Master, or men? Who repair tools? Master, or men?
What is the expense of the machinery?
What is the annual wear and tear, and what its duration?
Is there any particular trade for making it? Where?
Is it made and repaired at the manufactory?
In any manufactory visited, state the number ( ) of processes; and of the persons employed in each process; and the quantity of manufactured produce.
What quantity is made annually in Great Britain?