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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.

Immenhausen | Germany
The Glass Museum in Immenhausen, established in 1987 in a building of the former glassworks Süßmuth, is one of the few museums specialised on glass products in Germany. Between World War II and its shut down in 1987 the company produced high-quality consumer glassware like vases, bowls, and goblets. ...
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Glassmuseum
Am Bahnhof 3
34376 Immenhausen, Germany

Leipzig | Germany
An historic printing works in Leipzig accommodates a museum which holds collections of international significance and offers to visitors opportunities for gaining an understanding of the technologies that enabled the communication of knowledge of many kinds for 500 years before the advent of the ...
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Museum of the printing arts
Museum für Druckkunst
Nonnenstrasse 38
04229 Leipzig, Germany

Magdeburg | Germany
If there is one feature which unites the exhibits in the Magdeburg Technical Museum, it is pioneering spirit. This is immediately obvious in the threshing equipment manufactured by the Magdeburg company, Zimmermann, around 1900, which was discovered in a barn in Glindenberg. Its owner was utterly ...
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Magdeburg Technical Museum
Dodendorfer Straße 65
39112 Magdeburg, Germany

Mendig | Germany
Das Eifeler Mühlsteinrevier ist ein Gebiet in der Osteifel – zwischen Mayen und Mendig - mit einer 7.000 Jahre fortdauernden Produktion von Mahl-und Mühlsteinen aus heimischer Basaltlava. Entstanden ist das Revier infolge des quartären Vulkanismus durch die Ausbrüche des Wingertsberg- und des ...
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Eifel Millstone District
Lava-Dome
Wintgertsbergwand
56743 Mendig, Germany

Merseburg | Germany
Chemistry is the basis of a modern affluent society. This is the message put out by the German Chemistry Museum which opened in 1993 in Merseburg. Its aim is to pay tribute to the outstanding economic and social importance of chemistry using demonstrations of historical and modern achievements. The ...
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German Chemistry Museum Merseburg
Rudolf-Bahro-Straße 11
06217 Merseburg, Germany

Mülheim an der Ruhr | Germany
The dome of the Broich water tower houses the world's largest accessible Camera Obscura. Three further floors of the museum deal with the prehistory of film. Imaginative and entertaining exhibits laid out on 16 key themes document the passage from stills to movies. Visitors gain unexpected insights ...
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Camera Obscura
Museum zur Vorgeschichte des Films
Am Schloss Broich 42
45479 Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany

Do you know the stages of jewellery making? What would a typical working day of a goldsmith look like? How is a watch actually made? Visitors to the Pforzheim Museum of Jewellery and Watchmaking get well acquainted with all the details of the jewellery production process. With lots of machines still ...
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Museum of Jewellery and Watchmaking technology
Bleichstraße 81
75173 Pforzheim, Germany

When margrave Karl Friedrich von Baden founded the manufactory of jewellery and watches in 1776, he laid the basis for the development of a small town to a city and a center of jewellery and watch industry with global reputation.In the course of the past centuries, national and foreign goldsmiths ...
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SCHMUCKWELTEN | World of Jewellery Pforzheim
Westliche Karl-Friedrich-Straße 56
75172 Pforzheim, Germany

Rüsselsheim | Germany
The foundations of industry in Rüsselsheim were laid by Adam Open (1837-95) who began making sewing machines in the town in 1862, and diversified into the production of bicycles and, from 1898 began to make motorcars. His company prospered, and the American corporation General Motors took a majority ...
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Municipal and Industrial Museum
Hauptmann Scheuermann Weg 4
65428 Rüsselsheim, Germany

Sonneberg | Germany
Sonneberg, the town of toys, was founded in the Gründerzeit (Wilhelminian era) as an industrial settlement with checker-board pattern streets, composing a structure of urban blocks. Over 90 percent of the buildings dating to the time between 1840 and 1940 were dedicated exclusively to toy production ...
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Sonneberg Town of Toys
Bahnhofsplatz 1
96515 Sonneberg, Germany

Stralsund | Germany
If you want to experience the sound and the atmosphere of an old printery visit Stralsund at the Baltic Sea. In this medieval Hanseatic city until 1931 the largest German game cards factury operated. Since 2009 the society „Jugendkunst e. V.“ runs a living museum called „Spielkartenfabrik ...
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Stralsund Game Card Factory
Katharinenberg 35
18435 Stralsund, Germany

Villingen-Schwenningen | Germany
The Wuerttembergische Clock Factory is located in the center of the city of Schwenningen, once called the world’s largest clock town. It is considered the oldest clock factory in the former German state of Wuerttemberg. The factory’s founder Johannes Buerk, started his manufacturing career with an ...
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Museum of industrial clock making
Bürkstraße 39
78054 Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany

The museum in Agia Paraskevi on the island of Lesvos is located in a former communal oil mill, in which both architectural features and the machines have been restored to their original condition. The principal theme of the displays is the changes that the introduction of mechanical power brought to ...
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Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production in Lesvos
811 02 Agia Paraskevi, Greece

Pyrgos Tinou | Greece
The Museum of Marble Crafts in Pirgos, on the island of Tinos, presents the technology of marble. At the same time, brings to the fore the social and economic context in which the local workshops evolved. The permanent exhibition comprises a variety of original works in marble: mundane, ...
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Museum of Marble Crafts of Tinos
Panormos Tinou
842 01 Pyrgos Tinou, Greece

Sparta, in the southern Pelopponese, lies in the heart of one of the principal olive producing areas in the Mediterranean region. The museum illustrates the significance of olives in many contexts, in nutrition, body care and medicine, in lighting, in religion and in art. Artefacts and inscribed ...
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Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil
129 Othonos-Amalias St
231 00 Sparta, Greece

The brickworks were founded in 1926 by the Tsalapatas brothers and cover a total area of 22,000m2 (236,806ft2, or roughly 5,44 acres). The factory used to produce a wide variety of bricks and tiles and, at the peak of its activity, employed 250 people, with equipment corresponding to 300HP of ...
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Rooftile and Brickworks Musum N. & S. Tsalapats
Notia Pyli
38334 Volos, Greece

Skerries | Ireland
Since the 12th century flour has been milled at this unique location. The fully restored complex brings to life the authentic workings of a five sail windmill, four sail windmill, water mill and bakery of the 1800's. This provides the visitor with examples of how wind and water energies were ...
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Skerries Mills
Miller's Ln
Skerries, Ireland

The windmills together with the former residence of their first owners, the family Hioolen (now restaurant) and the former “karotten” factory are the last remains of the once blooming snuff industry in Rotterdam. Our foundation has revived the old production methods and produces historical snuffs ...
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Snuff and Spices windmills „De Ster and De Lelie”
Plaszoom
3062 CL Rotterdam, Netherlands

Hyllestad | Norway
Nearly 400 quarries are identified in Hyllestad. The production of quernstones dates to the Viking Age, c. 800s, and continued up to more recent times, and represents an approx. 1200 years old industrial history. At approx. 1000 AD, the range of product types was expanded with millstones for ...
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Norwegian Millstone Centre
Norsk Kvernsteinsenter
6957 Hyllestad, Norway

The Bread and School Museum is not a typical museum. The exhibits are not displayed in show cases as in many other museums. No, here everything is easily accessible and visitors can actually handle and touch the interesting and unusual exhibits. The museum was established as a “labour of love” by ...
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Museum of Bread, School and Curiosities
Muzeum Chleba, Szkoly i Czekawostek
ul.Z.Nałkowskiej 5
41-922 Radzionków, Poland