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Manufacturing

On The Division Of Labour
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On The Influence Of Durability On Price
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Of Copying By Punching
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On A New System Of Manufacturing
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Regulating Power
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Enquiries Previous To Commencing Any Manufactory






Category: On the domestic and political economy of manufactures

298. There are many enquiries which ought always to be made
previous to the commencement of the manufacture of any new
article. These chiefly relate to the expense of tools, machinery,
raw materials, and all the outgoings necessary for its
production; to the extent of demand which is likely to arise; to
the time in which the circulating capital will be replaced; and
to the quickness or slowness with which the new article will
supersede those already in use.

299. The expense of tools and of new machines will be more
difficult to ascertain, in proportion as they differ from those
already employed; but the variety in constant use in our various
manufactories, is such, that few inventions now occur in which
considerable resemblance may not be traced to others already
constructed. The cost of the raw material is usually less
difficult to determine; but cases occasionally arise in which it
becomes important to examine whether the supply, at the given
price, can be depended upon: for, in the case of a small
consumption, the additional demand arising from a factory may
produce a considerable temporary rise, though it may ultimately
reduce the price.

300. The quantity of any new article likely to be consumed is
a most important subject for the consideration of the projector
of a new manufacture. As these pages are not intended for the
instruction of the manufacturer, but rather for the purpose of
giving a general view of the subject, an illustration of the way
in which such questions are regarded by practical men, will,
perhaps, be most instructive. The following extract from the
evidence given before a Committee of the House of Commons, in the
Report on Artizans and Machinery, shews the extent to which
articles apparently the most insignificant, are consumed, and the
view which the manufacturer takes of them.

The person examined on this occasion was Mr Ostler, a
manufacturer of glass beads and other toys of the same substance,
from Birmingham. Several of the articles made by him were placed
upon the table, for the inspection of the Committee of the House
of Commons, which held its meetings in one of the
committee-rooms.

Question. Is there any thing else you have to state upon this
subject?
Answer. Gentlemen may consider the articles on the table as
extremely insignificant: but perhaps I may surprise them a
little, by mentioning the following fact. Eighteen years ago, on
my first journey to London, a respectable-looking man, in the
city, asked me if I could supply him with dolls' eyes; and I was
foolish enough to feel half offended; I thought it derogatory to
my new dignity as a manufacturer, to make dolls' eyes. He took me
into a room quite as wide, and perhaps twice the length of this,
and we had just room to walk between stacks, from the loor to the
ceiling, of parts of dolls. He said, 'These are only the legs and
arms; the trunks are below., But I saw enough to convince me,
that he wanted a great many eyes; and, as the article appeared
quite in my own line of business, I said I would take an order by
way of experiment; and he shewed me several specimens. I copied
the order. He ordered various quantities, and of various sizes
and qualities. On returning to the Tavistock Hotel, I found that
the order amounted to upwards of 500l. I went into the country,
and endeavoured to make them. I had some of the most ingenious
glass toymakers in the kingdom in my service; but when I shewed
it to them, they shook their heads, and said they had often seen
the article before, but could not make it. I engaged them by
presents to use their best exertions; but after trying and
wasting a great deal of time for three or four weeks, I was
obliged to relinquish the attempt. Soon afterwards I engaged in
another branch of business (chandelier furniture), and took no
more notice of it. About eighteen months ago I resumed the
trinket trade, and then determined to think of the dolls' eyes;
and about eight months since, I accidentally met with a poor
fellow who had impoverished himself by drinking, and who was
dying in a consumption, in a state of great want. I showed him
ten sovereigns: and he said he would instruct me in the process.
He was in such a state that he could not bear the effluvia of his
own lamp, but though I was very conversant with the manual part
of the business, and it related to things I was daily in the
habit of seeing, I felt I could do nothing from his description.
(I mention this to show how difficult it is to convey, by
description, the mode of working.) He took me into his garret,
where the poor fellow had economized to such a degree, that he
actually used the entrails and fat of poultry from Leadenhall
market to save oil (the price of the article having been lately
so much reduced by competition at home). In an instant, before I
had seen him make three, I felt competent to make a gross; and
the difference between his mode and that of my own workmen was so
trifling, that I felt the utmost astonishment.

Question. You can now make dolls' eyes?
Answer. I can. As it was eighteen years ago that I received the
order I have mentioned, and feeling doubtful of my own
recollection, though very strong, and suspecting that it could
[not] have been to the amount stated, I last night took the
present very reduced price of that article (less than half now of
what it was then), and calculating that every child in this
country not using a doll till two years old, and throwing it
aside at seven, and having a new one annually, I satisfied myself
that the eyes alone would produce a circulation of a great many
thousand pounds. I mention this merely to shew the importance of
trifles; and to assign one reason, amongst many, for my
conviction that nothing but personal communication can enable
our manufactures to be transplanted.

301. In many instances it is exceedingly difficult to
estimate beforehand the sale of an article, or the effects of a
machine; a case, however, occurred during a recent enquiry, which
although not quite appropriate as an illustration of probable
demand, is highly instructive as to the mode of conducting
investigations of this nature. A committee of the House of
Commons was appointed to enquire into the tolls proper to be
placed on steam-carriages; a question, apparently, of difficult
solution, and upon which widely different opinions had been
formed, if we may judge by the very different rate of tolls
imposed upon such carriages by different 'turnpike trusts'. The
principles on which the committee conducted the enquiry were,
that 'The only ground on which a fair claim to toll can be made
on any public road, is to raise a fund, which, with the strictest
economy, shall be just sufficient--first, to repay the expense
of its original formation; secondly, to maintain it in good and
sufficient repair.' They first endeavoured to ascertain, from
competent persons, the effect of the atmosphere alone in
deteriorating a well-constructed road. The next step was, to
determine the proportion in which the road was injured, by the
effect of the horses' feet compared with that of the wheels. Mr
Macneill, the superintendent, under Mr Telford, of the Holyhead
roads, was examined, and proposed to estimate the relative
injury, from the comparative quantities of iron worn off from the
shoes of the horses, and from the tire of the wheels. From the
data he possessed, respecting the consumption of iron for the
tire of the wheels, and for the shoes of the horses, of one of
the Birmingham day-coaches, he estimated the wear and tear of
roads, arising from the feet of the horses, to be three times as
great as that arising from the wheels. Supposing repairs
amounting to a hundred pounds to be required on a road travelled
over by a fast coach at the rate of ten miles an hour, and the
same amount of injury to occur on another road, used only by
waggons, moving at the rate of three miles an hour, Mr Macneill
divides the injuries in the following proportions:

Injuries arising from; Fast coach; Heavy waggon
Atmospheric changes 20 20
Wheels 20 35.5
Horses' feet drawing 60 44.5
Total injury 100 100


Supposing it, therefore, to be ascertained that the wheels of
steam carriages do no more injury to roads than other carriages
of equal weight travelling with the same velocity, the committee
now possessed the means of approximating to a just rate of toll
for steam carriages.(1*)

302. As connected with this subject, and as affording most
valuable information upon points in which, previous to
experiment, widely different opinions have been entertained; the
following extract is inserted from Mr Telford's Report on the
State of the Holyhead and Liverpool Roads. The instrument
employed for the comparison was invented by Mr Macneill; and the
road between London and Shrewsbury was selected for the place of
experiment.

The general results, when a waggon weighing 21 cwt was used
on different sorts of roads, are as follows:

lbs
1. On well-made pavement, the draught is 33

2. On a broken stone surface, or old flint road 65

3. On a gravel road 147

4. On a broken stone road, upon a rough pavement foundation 46

5. On a broken stone surface, upon a bottoming of concrete,
formed of Parker's cement and gravel 46

The following statement relates to the force required to draw a
coach weighing 18 cwt. exclusive of seven passengers, up roads of
various inclinations:

Inclination; Force required at six miles per hour; Force at
eight miles per hour; Force at ten miles per hour

lbs lbs lbs
1 in 20 268 296 318
1 in 26 213 219 225
1 in 30 165 196 200
1 in 40 160 166 172
1 in 600 111 120 128


303. In establishing a new manufactory, the time in which the
goods produced can be brought to market and the returns be
realized, should be thoroughly considered, as well as the time
the new article will take to supersede those already in use. If
it is destroyed in using, the new produce will be much more
easily introduced. Steel pens readily took the place of quills;
and a new form of pen would, if it possessed any advantage, as
easily supersede the present one. A new lock, however secure, and
however cheap, would not so readily make its way. If less
expensive than the old, it would be employed in new work: but old
locks would rarely be removed to make way for it; and even if
perfectly secure, its advance would be slow.

304. Another element in this question which should not be
altogether omitted, is the opposition which the new manufacture
may create by its real or apparent injury to other interests, and
the probable effect of that opposition. This is not always
foreseen; and when anticipated is often inaccurately estimated.
On the first establishment of steamboats from London to Margate,
the proprietors of the coaches running on that line of road
petitioned the House of Commons against them, as likely to lead
to the ruin of the coach proprietors. It was, however, found that
the fear was imaginary; and in a very few years, the number of
coaches on that road was considerably increased, apparently
through the very means which were thought to be adverse to it.
The fear, which is now entertained, that steampower and railroads
may drive out of employment a large proportion of the horses at
present in use, is probably not less unfounded. On some
particular lines such an effect might be produced; but in all
probability the number of horses employed in conveying goods and
passengers to the great lines of railroad, would exceed that
which is at present used.

NOTES:

1. One of the results of these enquiries is, that every coach
which travels from London to Birmingham distributes about eleven
pounds of wrought iron, along with the line of road between the
two places.





Next: On A New System Of Manufacturing

Previous: On Over Manufacturing



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