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.

 The price of the article in 1832 was 5 0 0

M. De Villefosse states, that in France bar-iron, made as it usually is with charcoal, costs three times the price of the cast-iron out of which it is made; whilst in England, where it is usually made with coke, the cost is only twice the price of cast-iron.

216.  The present price (1832) of lead in England is L13 per ton, and the worth of L1 of it manufactured into

 Milled sheet lead becomes Ll.08

The present price of cake copper is L84 per ton, and the worth of L1 of it manufactured into

 Sheet copper becomes L1.11


1.  A still finer chain is now manufactured (1832).

2.  Memoires de l’Institut. 1826

Chapter 19

On the Division of Labour

217.  Perhaps the most important principle on which the economy of a manufacture depends, is the division of labour amongst the persons who perform the work.  The first application of this principle must have been made in a very early stage of society, for it must soon have been apparent, that a larger number of comforts and conveniences could be acquired by each individual, if one man restricted his occupation to the art of making bows, another to that of building houses, a third boats, and so on.  This division of labour into trades was not, however, the result of an opinion that the general riches of the community would be increased by such an arrangement; but it must have arisen from the circumstance of each individual so employed discovering that he himself could thus make a greater profit of his labour than by pursuing more varied occupations.  Society must have made considerable advances before this principle could have been carried into the workshop; for it is only in countries which have attained a high degree of civilization, and in articles in which there is a great competition amongst the producers, that the most perfect system of the division of labour is to be observed.  The various principles on which the advantages of this system depend, have been much the subject of discussion amongst writers on political economy; but the relative importance of their influence does not appear, in all cases, to have been estimated with sufficient precision.  It is my intention, in the first instance, to state shortly those principles, and then to point out what appears to me to have been omitted by those who have previously treated the subject.

218. 1.  Of the time required for learning.  It will readily be admitted, that the portion of time occupied in the acquisition of any art will depend on the difficulty of its execution; and that the greater the number of distinct processes, the longer will be the time which the apprentice must employ in acquiring it.  Five or seven years have been adopted, in a great many trades, as the time considered requisite

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