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European Themeroute | Production and Manufacturing

Domestic handmade textile production was typical for the pre-industrial age. The father sat at the loom and the women of the family were responsible for spinning the yarn. An entrepreneur (in Germany he was called a "Verleger") delivered the raw material and organised sales, often over considerable ... more

Icon: Production and ManufacturingGoods for the world. European Theme Route Manufacturing

Domestic handmade textile production was typical for the pre-industrial age. The father sat at the loom and the women of the family were responsible for spinning the yarn. An entrepreneur (in Germany he was called a "Verleger") delivered the raw material and organised sales, often over considerable distances. Textile manufacture was the leading industry in Europe: from the 16th century onwards it was basically organised on such a system.

The first types of factories grew up in the 17th century, when larger groups of workers were concentrated in so-called "manufactories". Although this also applied to textiles, it was more common in glass and salt production, ironworks and hammer works. In France, Royal manufactories produced tapestries, furniture and porcelain in magnificent style. The process was divided up into sections from the start, and the workers had to keep to a strict discipline despite the fact that the majority were still working individually by hand. The decisive element which turned the whole world of work on its head was mechanisation.

The factory age began around the end of the 18th century in Britain, with large spinning mills in the county of Lancashire. Here one waterwheel was able to drive around 1000 spindles. Shortly afterwards there followed the steam engine, which made production independent of swiftly flowing water and gave a huge boost to mechanical spinning, weaving and, soon after, the whole of the British economy.

From now on machines dictated the organisation and tempo of work: but not only in textile manufacturing. The Economist, Adam Smith, tells of a factory where the manufacture of a pin was divided up into 18 working sections. In 1769, the English pioneer, Josiah Wedgwood, opened up his porcelain factory "Etruria" near Stoke-on-Trent. Whereas before that, workers had followed the path of their product from the pottery wheel to decorating, firing and storing, they were now ordered to keep strictly to their own department.

Division of labour raised productivity considerably. The actions of the workers, on the other hand, were increasingly reduced to a few, constantly repeated movements. As a result they gradually became alienated from the products they made. Formerly their products had been the pride of hand workers. Since expert knowledge was hardly necessary, employers now preferred to employ women and children whom they could pay less than men. The workers were ruthlessly exploited. Women and children in textile factories had to work shifts of between 14 and 16 hours. Even hen working conditions improved during the course of the 19th century – primarily for children – this tendency was aggravated even more by the introduction of mass production.

As early as 1797 an American by the name of Eli Whitney suggested making rifle locks from exchangeable parts, instead of making them individually for every weapon. Thanks to this standardisation – a basic prerequisite for mass production - costs were drastically reduced and production further accelerated. The manufacture of exchangeable parts only really came to the fore at the end of the 19th century with the arrival of new metal precision tools. After that, the production of standard quality tools gradually became a manufacturing branch in its own right: machine tool manufacturing.
In 1881 in the USA, Frederick W. Taylor began to divide working processes systematically into their smallest components, in order to rationalise them even more. His quantitative analyses laid the foundations for "Taylorism": scientific production management. The immediate results were that engineers would go round the factories checking working processes with a watch in their hand in order to speed up the work.

The last stage of mass production was the introduction of the conveyor belt. This began in the stockyards of Chicago and Cincinnati. It was then adapted by Henry Ford in 1911 for his motor car factories in Manchester and Detroit. Whilst the conveyor belt was moving forward the next chassis at a constant speed the workers had to mount the components with as few actions as possible to avoid any "unproductive" movements. The pace of production was even more drastically increased. Whereas it had formerly taken 12.5 man-hours to mount a chassis, by 1914 only 93 man-minutes were needed. Thus Ford cars could be afforded by everyone.

In the second half of the 19th century methods of industrial production reached the food sector. The powerful engines which delivered energy independent of the specific location, encouraged entrepreneurs to set up large bakeries and breweries. New techniques made the processing of agrarian products increasingly independent of the seasons of the year.
The invention of artificial cooling methods was an important step. In 1748 a Scotsman by the name of William Cullen was the first man to demonstrate how to extract warmth from the environment by reducing a fluid to steam. The process was made even more effective by compressing the refrigerating agents. That said, it was quite a long time before these principles could be used to make the first effective refrigerator. An American by the name of Jacob Perkins is reputed to have built the first model in 1835. Around 20 years later an Australian, James Harrison, introduced refrigerators to the meat and brewing industries.

Thus large-scale beer production became possible during the summer months. At the same time people learnt how to control the temperature of the mash with a thermometer, and the amount of original gravity with a saccharometer. Such scientific knowledge was characteristic for the whole area of food production.

Conservation was a further step. The fact that food remains edible when it is kept in a closed container at a certain temperature over a long period of time, was discovered by a Frenchman, Nicolas Appert, in 1809 when he was charged with supplying food to Napoleon's armies. His British colleague, Peter Durand, discovered that tins were the best containers for doing so. But it was not until 1863 that a scientist by the name of Louis Pasteur discovered that microbes could be killed by heating. The production of tinned food spread quickly, most of all in the USA, and the United States soon became the market leader.

Milk conservation can also be traced back to military requirements. During the American Civil War in the 1860s Gail Borden developed condensed milk. A Swiss firm launched it onto the European market and soon after it merged with another firm owned by Henri Nestlé, the inventor of baby food. The result was that condensed milk became famous under Nestlé’s name.

Around the end of the 19th century a new form of co-operative manufacturing arose in dairy production. Dairy farmers, above all in the Netherlands, Scandinavia and northern Germany, joined forces to market their dairy produce. Cooperative dairies produced butter and cheese to uniform standards and conquered ever larger markets beyond national boundaries. The standardisation of food production, increasingly independent of the time of manufacture and the region where it was made, has continued right down to the present day.

The Galliciani mill in Basle was converted to make paper in 1453, continued to do so until 1955, and was adapted as a museum in the 1970s. Its displays provide a comprehensive picture of the development of paper making and printing. There is a workshop showing how paper was made by hand in the 18th ...
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Basel Paper Mill and Swiss Museum of Paper, Writing and Printing
St Alban-Tal 35-37
4052 Basel, Switzerland

Bischofszell | Switzerland
Bischopfzell is a picturesque town in the municipality of Weinfelden in Canton Thurgau in north-east Switzerland south of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and the River Rhine. The entire town is on the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites. Typorama is a museum of the printing industry managed by the ...
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Typorama
Fabrikstrasse 30a
9220 Bischofszell, Switzerland

Flawil | Switzerland
Schoggi-Land is the visitor centre at the ultra-modern Maestrani factory at Flawil, 16 km west of St Gallen. The company’s origins go back to the early 19th century when Guiseppe Maestrani, from Aquila in the Ticino, who had learned about chocolate-making in Lombardy, sold chocolate on the streets ...
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Schoggi-Land
Toggenburgerstrasse 41
9230 Flawil, Switzerland

Hergiswil | Switzerland
Hergiswil lies 10 km south of Lucerne between Mount Pilatus and the Vierwaldstattersee (Lake Lucerne). The glassworks in the village was established in 1818 by the brothers Siegwart. It suffered a threat of closure in 1975, but was saved largely through the efforts of the designer Roberto Niedereeer ...
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Glasi Hergiswil
Seestrasse 12
6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland

Hofstetten bei Brienz | Switzerland
The museum at Ballenberg lies 6 km east of the town of Brienz with which it is linked by a regular bus service. It is a typical open air museum following the pattern set by Artur Hazelius at Skansen, Stockholm, and is managed by a charitable trust established in 1968. It opened with eighteen ...
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Ballenberg Swiss open air museum
Ballenberg Freilichmuseum der Schweiz
Museumsstrasse 131
3858 Hofstetten bei Brienz, Switzerland

La Chaux du Fonds | Switzerland
La Chaux-de-Fonds is the chief town of a district in the Canton of Neuchatel, and is situated at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level near to the border with France. It has been closely associated with watch-making for several centuries and several of the world’s leading watchmaking companies, ...
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International Watchmaking Museum
Musee International d’Horloge
Rue des Musees 29
2301 La Chaux du Fonds, Switzerland

Rivaz | Switzerland
The creation of the spectacular vineyard terraces of Lavaux, which extend for 14 km. along the north shore of Lake Geneva between Lausanne and Vevey-Montreux in the Canton of Vaux, was begun by monks in the eleventh century. The area became famous for the quality of its wines particularly those ...
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Lavaux Vinorama
Route du lac 2
1071 Rivaz, Switzerland

Schönenwerd | Switzerland
The Bally company is a global corporation which produces and markets luxury shoes and, since 1976, handbags and other leather accessories. It was founded in Switzerland in 1851 by Carl Franz Bally (1822-99) and passed to successive generations of his family. The company had 500 employees by 1860, ...
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Bally Shoemuseum
Oltnerstrasse 6
Schönenwerd, Switzerland

The Alimentarium is a museum established in 1985 in the former headquarters building of Nestle International in Vevey on the shore of Lake Geneva. For over 30 years already, the world's first-ever food-themed museum has been sharing a global and independent view of the many aspects of the human ...
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Alimentarium | Musee d’alimentation
Quay Perdonnet, CP 13
1800 Vervey, Switzerland

Vevey | Switzerland
Vevey is the Swiss city where Henri (Heinrich) Nestlé (1814-90) developed his patent feed for babies by combining milk with wheat flour from which acid and starch had been removed. The Nestlé Corporation has for some years sponsored the Alimentarium, which broadly reviews the history of the foods we ...
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nest
Chaussée de la Guinguette 10
CH-1800 Vevey, Switzerland

Zürich | Switzerland
The manufacture of clocks and watches is perhaps the most celebrated of Switzerland’s industries. One of the best-known manufacturers is Beyer Chronometrie whose founder was Matthäus Beyer who began to make clocks in the German town of Donaueschingen around 1800. In 1822 his grandson Stefan Beyer ...
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Beyer Clock Museum
Uhrenmuseum Beyer
Bahnhofstrasse 31
8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Zürich | Switzerland
Many corn mills in Europe are preserved as museums, but most are water-powered and used stones set in tuns to make flour. The Tiefenbrunnen Mill in Zurich is unusual in that it dates from the twentieth century, used electric power, and produced flour by the roller-milling process. The polychrome ...
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Mühlerama
Mühle Tiefenbrunnen
Seefeldstrasse 231
8008 Zürich, Switzerland

Istanbul | Turkey
The majority of the industrialist donated Rahmi Koç Museum is an excellent example of how historic industrial buildings a new use can feed.In the former anchor foundry of the Arsenal House (the shipyards) on the Golden Horn, the Koç-Foundation has set up an industrial museum, that gathered beside ...
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Rahmi Koç Industrial Museum
Rahmi Koç Sanayi Müzesi Hasköy
Hasköy Caddesi 27
3445 Istanbul, Turkey

Donetsk | Ukraine
The city of Donetsk owes its existence to the building of an ironworks in 1870 by John Hughes, a Welshman. It grew rapidly, exploiting the rich mineral resources of the Don basin, and was originally named Yuzovka after Hughes. In 1924 it was named Stalin (later Stalino) after the dictator of the ...
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Regional History Museum
189a, ulitsa Chelyuskintsev
Donetsk, Ukraine

This is a Skansen type museum concerned with the history of the people of the Dnieper plains. It was established in 1969, opened in 1976 and now extends over 150 ha to the south-west of Kyiv. In common with most museums of its kind it displays numerous rural buildings – about 200 in all - which have ...
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The Museum of Ukraine Folk Art and Rural Life
Pyrohiv (Pirogovo)
Chrvonopramorna Street
Kyiv, Ukraine

L'viv | Ukraine
L’viv is famous for the quality of its beer and the beer museum opened in 2005 on the 290th anniversary of the establishment of the city’s first large-scale brewery. It is housed in a 19th century brewery building and most of the displays are in vaulted cellars once used for the storage of beer. The ...
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Museum of Beer and Brewing
vul Kleparivska 18
79000 L'viv, Ukraine

Amberley | United Kingdom
The museum at Amberley illustrates the history of industries of many kinds from south-east England, but it is particularly important for the evidence it provides of lime production, road transport and industrial railways. The museum occupies a 14.5 ha site that was once used from the 1840s by ...
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Amberley Working Museum
BN18 9LT Amberley, United Kingdom

Barrow-in-Furness | United Kingdom
Barrow-in-Furness was one of the few wholly new towns that grew up during Britain’s Industrial Revolution. In the early nineteenth century it was a hamlet in the parish of Dalton with a tiny population. In the early 1840s the Furness Railway opened a wharf from which locally-mined iron ore could be ...
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The Dock Museum
North Road
LA14 2PW Barrow-in-Furness, United Kingdom

Beamish | United Kingdom
Beamish, once called the North of England Open Air Museum and now ‘the living museum of the north’, occupies a site of more than 100 ha 14 km north-west of Durham City. It was established in the 1960s through the personal commitment of its founder-director Frank Atkinson, and is concerned with the ...
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Beamish Museum
DH9 0RG Beamish, United Kingdom

Bedford | United Kingdom
The Bedfordshire landscape is still dominated by the huge chimneys of the Stewartby brickworks. The iconic 90 m high brick structures were designed to carry away the waste gases particularly sulphur oxides, that were dangerous to livestock in this largely farming landscape. Brick clays were ...
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Stewartby Brickworks & Village
Stewartby Brickworks and Model Village
Stewartby
MK43 Bedford, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom