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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.

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Member Sites ERIH Association

Segovia | Spain
The visit to Real Casa de Moneda invites you to learn the thrilling history of this building built by Felipe II. You will learn about the minting processes which were used here over three hundred years in the fabrication of money.Display panels explain the different historical stages of production, ...
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Royal Mint
Real Casa de Moneda de Segovia
Calle la Moneda
40003 Segovia, Spain

ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih is the largest full-cycle metallurgical company in Ukraine. Its production plants include in addition to other large plants a coking plant which can be visited at certain times.
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"ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih" Coking Plant and Museum
Коксохімічне виробництво
Kryvorizhstali Street, 1
50095 Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine

PJSC ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih is a top performer among the biggest companies of mining and steelmaking sector of Ukraine and is a part of international ArcelorMittal Group. The company is one of the biggest manufacterer of coke in Ukraine and in Eastern Europe. There is a processing of hard coal ...
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PJSC "Arcelor Mittal Kryvyi Rih" Open Air Museum of Mining Equipment
Zbagachuvalna street, 57
50095 Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine

Birmingham | United Kingdom
Many aspects of Birmingham’s industrial history are now illustrated in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. One of the most recent additions is the Coffin Works in Fleet Street, a three-storey factory  designed by Roger Hurley and completed in 1892. Two years later it was taken over by Alfred and Edwin ...
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Coffin Works Museum
13-15 Fleet Street
B3 1JP Birmingham, United Kingdom

Burton upon Trent | United Kingdom
The man who invented clogs must have been a brewer. The robust shoes with thick wooden soles were ideal for keeping people´s feet warm and dry on cold, wet brewery floors. Once, the whole of Burton upon Trent used to echo with the clacking of these rough wooden slippers. For the small town in the ...
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National Brewery Centre
Horninglow Street
DE14 1NG Burton upon Trent, United Kingdom

Forres | United Kingdom
Dallas Dhu Distillery was built in 1898, at the tail end of a major boom in the Scotch whisky demand resulting from severe damage to the French brandy production caused by Phylloxera, which had ravaged vinyards in France since the 1860s. Situated on the edge of the town of Forres, Dallas Dhu falls ...
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Dallas Dhu Distillery
Mannachie Road
IV36 2RR Forres, United Kingdom

Glenarm | United Kingdom
Limestone has been quarried in Glenarm since the late 18th Century. The Limestone industry has had a key influence on the development of Glenarm. The harbour was built in the 1860’s for the export of limestone and iron ore. Limestone has contributed significantly to the Glenarm economy since recent ...
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Glenarm Visitor Centre
17 New Road
BT44 0AA Glenarm, United Kingdom

New Abbey | United Kingdom
A beautiful two-storeyed mill dating from the late 18th century, built from white-washed local stone, with a grain-drying kiln and adjoining miller‘s house. The mill has been restored and brought back into working condition in order to demonstrate the milling process, and guided tours are available. ...
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New Abbey Corn Mill
DG2 8BX New Abbey, United Kingdom

Shrewsbury | United Kingdom
This is really an iconic building of the industrialisation and a must-have-seen for everybody who is interested in the history of the industry: The 5-storey 55 m long red brick building at the northern suburbs of Shrewsbury was the first iron-framed building in the world. Together with Abraham ...
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Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings
Spring Gardens Ditherington
SY1 2SX Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

Southampton | United Kingdom
How is it that brickworkers were paid less when it rained? What is a green brick? And why was it crucial to handle wet bricks with the flat of one's hand only? Find the answers to these questions at Bursledon Brickworks in Southampton. The site which is now an industrial museum tells the whole story ...
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Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum
Swanwick Lane
SO31 7HB Southampton, United Kingdom

Sites

Krujë | Albania
Im Zentrum von Kruje in Nordalbanien steht die Festung des Nationalhelden Georgius Kastrioti Skenderbeg (1405-68). Der restaurierte Basar aus der Zeit um 1800, als Kruje Teil des osmanischen Reichs war, erinnert heute an ein lebendiges Museum, in dem die verschiedensten Handwerker in Können ziegen. ...
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Ethnographic Museum of Kruja
Muzeum Etnografik i Krujës
Fortress of Kruje
1501 Krujë, Albania

The power generated by the streams that flow down from the rugged mountains of Andorra has been put to many different uses over the centuries. This complex consists of a saw mill and a corn mill powered by the North Valira river, which date from the 16th and 17th centuries. They ceased working in ...
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Cal Pal Saw Mill and En Solé Corn Mill
Mola de cal Pal y la mola d’en Solé
Ctra General 3 La Cortinada
300 Ordino, Andorra

Sant Julia de Loria | Andorra
The tobacco plant was once commonly grown on the lower slopes of the mountains of Andorra, and its leaves were processed locally and made into products for smoking. This museum occupies the multi-storey factory worked by the Reig family between 1909 and 1957 and is sponsored by the Fondació Julià ...
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The Reig Factory Museum - Tobacco Museum
Museu Fàbrica Reig - Museu del Tabac
Carrer del Doctor Palau 17
700 Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra

Yerevan | Armenia
Yerevan with a population of just over a million people, about 35 per cent of the population of Armenia, is one of the world’s oldest cities. Its museum of science and technology is a recent foundation, said by visitors to be small but interesting. It aims to show the scientific and technological ...
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Science & Technology Museum
25 Bagrevand Street Nor Norq 0096
Yerevan, Armenia

Dornbirn | Austria
The Huber family established the Mohren Brewery at Dornbirn near the Bodensee (Lake Constance) in the Voralberg in 1834. It specialised in particularly strong beers in which a small proportion of wheat was incorporated in the mash. The museum is located in a building alongside the brewery, and uses ...
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Mohren Brewery Museum
Mohren Biererlebniswelt
Doktor-Waebel-Strasse 2
6850 Dornbirn, Austria

Kammern im Liesingtal | Austria
The museum is in a beautifully converted nineteenth-century barn in a large green space in the centre of the village of Kammern. It shows the agricultural and industrial history of the region. The themes covered by the museum are connected especially with mining, agriculture and the making of ...
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Museum Court
Museumshof
Marktplatz
8773 Kammern im Liesingtal, Austria

Silvanum (which refers to forests in Latin) is an outstanding museum of the nature, management and culture of forests. It was founded in 1979 in a granary built in 1771 for the Innerberger Hauptgewerkschaft iron company, which used the iron ore of the region and the charcoal of the forests to make ...
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The Austrian Forest Museum Silvanum
Forstmuseum Silvanum
Großreifling 22
8931 Landl, Austria

Langenstein | Austria
The concentration camp at Gusen was a place of forced-labour for armaments production and stone-quarrying under the Third Reich. It was one of many sub-camps of the Mauthausen concentration camp. A special company was set up in 1938, Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke (DESt) to use the labour of the ...
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Gusen Concentration Camp Memorial
KZ-Gedenkstätte Gusen, B8 Bergkristall
Georgestrasse 6
4222 Langenstein, Austria

Leoben | Austria
The Gösser brewery is in an attractive group of buildings begun in 1860 by 28-year-old Max Kober. It became one of the biggest breweries in Austria. It started to export beer in bottles in the 1920s and by the 1970s it produced near a million bottles a year. The brewery museum – which they call the ...
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Gösser Brewery Museum
Brauereimuseum "Gösseum"
Brauhausgasse 1
8700 Leoebn, Austria

Styria is the centre of the iron trade in Austria, and, as in other ironworking areas in Europe, beer was at the centre of the region’s social life. It is claimed that the Gősser brewery in Leoben originated in 1010 ad when a Benedictine abbey was established in the city. Certainly brewing has a ...
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Gösseum. Gösser Brewery Museum
Brauhausgasse 1
8700 Leoben, Austria

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