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Proper Circumstances For The Application Of Machinery
329. The first object of machinery, the chief cause of its e...

Of Price As Measured By Money
201. The money price at which an article sells furnishes us ...

On The Effect Of Taxes And Of Legal Restrictions Upon Manufactures
414. As soon as a tax is put upon any article, the ingenuity ...

Economy Of The Materials Employed
77. The precision with which all operations by machinery are ...

Accumulating Power
20. Whenever the work to be done requires more force for its ...

On Contriving Machinery
318. The power of inventing mechanical contrivances, and of ...

On The Division Of Labour
217. Perhaps the most important principle on which the econo...

Of Copying By Stamping
128. This mode of copying is extensively employed in the art...

On A New System Of Manufacturing
305. A most erroneous and unfortunate opinion prevails among...

On The Effect Of Machinery In Reducing The Demand For Labour
404. One of the objections most frequently urged against mac...

On The Method Of Observing Manufacturies
160. Having now reviewed the mechanical principles which reg...

Enquiries Previous To Commencing Any Manufactory
298. There are many enquiries which ought always to be made ...

Distinction Between Making And Manufacturing
163. The economical principles which regulate the application...

Of Raw Materials
210. Although the cost of any article may be reduced in its ...

Increase And Diminution Of Velocity
32. The fatigue produced on the muscles of the human frame d...

On The Cost Of Each Separate Process In A Manufacture
253. The great competition introduced by machinery, and the ...

Extending The Time Of Action Of Forces
45. This is one of the most common and most useful of the em...

Regulating Power
27. Uniformity and steadiness in the rate at which machinery ...

On The Position Of Large Factories
277. It is found in every country, that the situation of lar...

Sources Of The Advantages Arising From Machinery And Manufactures
1. There exists, perhaps, no single circumstance which disti...

Of Raw Materials

Category: On the domestic and political economy of manufactures

210. Although the cost of any article may be reduced in its
ultimate analysis to the quantity of labour by which it was
produced; yet it is usual, in a certain state of the manufacture
of most substances, to call them by the term raw material. Thus
iron, when reduced from the ore and rendered malleable, is in a
state fitted for application to a multitude of useful purposes,
and is the raw material out of which most of our tools are made.
In this stage of its manufacture, but a moderate quantity of
labour has been expended on the substance; and it becomes an
interesting subject to trace the various proportions in which raw
material, in this sense of the term, and labour unite to
constitute the value of many of the productions of the arts.

211. Gold leaf consists of a portion of the metal beaten out
to so great a degree of thinness, as to allow a greenish-blue
light to be transmitted through its pores. About 400 square
inches of this are sold, in the form of a small book containing
25 leaves of gold, for 1s. 6d. In this case, the raw material, or
gold, is worth rather less than two-thirds of the manufactured
article. In the case of silver leaf, the labour considerably
exceeds the value of the material. A book of fifty leaves, which
would cover above 1000 square inches, is sold for 1s. 3d.

212. We may trace the relative influence of the two causes
above referred to, in the prices of fine gold chains made at
Venice. The sizes of these chains are known by numbers, the
smallest having been (in 1828) No. 1, and the numbers 2, 3, 4,
etc., progressively increasing in size. The following table shews
the numbers and the prices of those made at that time.(1*) The
first column gives the number by which the chain is known; the
second expresses the weight in grains of one inch in length of
each chain; the third column the number of links in the same
length; and the last expresses the price, in francs worth
tenpence each, of a Venetian braccio, or about two English feet
of each chain.

Venetian gold chains
Price of a Venetian
Braccio, equal to
Weight of Number of links two feet 1/8 inch
No. one inch, in grains in one inch English
0.44 98 to 100 60 francs
1.56 92 40
1 1/2.77 88 26
2.99 84 20
3 1.46 72 20
4 1.61 64 21
5 2.09 64 23
6 2.61 60 24
7 3.36 56 27
8 3.65 56 29
9 3.72 56 32
10 5.35 50 34
24 9.71 32 60

Amongst these chains, that numbered 0 and that numbered 24
are exactly of the same price, although the quantity of gold in
the latter is twenty-two times as much as in the former. The
difficulty of making the smallest chain is so great, that the
women who make it cannot work above two hours at a time. As we
advance from the smaller chain, the proportionate value of the
work to the worth of the material becomes less and less, until at
the numbers 2 and 3, these two elements of cost balance each
other: after which, the difficulty of the work decreases, and the
value of the material increases.

213. The quantity of labour expended on these chains is,
however, incomparably less than that which is applied in some of
the manufactures of iron. In the case of the smallest Venetian
chain the value of the labour is not above thirty times that of
the gold. The pendulum spring of a watch, which governs the
vibrations of the balance, costs at the retail price two pence,
and weighs fifteen one-hundredths of a grain, whilst the retail
price of a pound of the best iron, the raw material out of which
fifty thousand such springs are made, is exactly the same sum of
two pence.

214. The comparative price of labour and of raw material
entering into the manufactures of France, has been ascertained
with so much care, in a memoir of M. A. M. Heron de Villefosse,
Recherches statistiques, sur les Metaux de France.(2*) that we
shall give an abstract of his results reduced to English
measures. The facts respecting the metals relate to the year

In France the quantity of raw material which can be purchased
for L1, when manufactured into

Silk goods is worth L2.37
Broad cloth and woollens 2.15
Hemp and cables 3.94
Linen comprising thread laces 5.00
Cotton goods 2.44

The price of pig-lead was L1 1s. per cwt; and lead of the value
of L1 sterling, became worth, when manufactured into

Sheets or pipes of moderate dimensions L 1. 25
White lead 2.60
Ordinary printing characters 4.90
The smallest type 28.30

The price of copper was L5 2s. per cwt. Copper worth L1 became
when manufactured into

Copper sheeting L1.26
Household utensils 4.77
Common brass pins tinned 2.34
Rolled into plates covered with 1/20 silver 3.56
Woven into metallic cloth, each square inch of which contains
10,000 meshes 52.23

The price of tin was L4 12s. per cwt. Tin worth L1 when
manufactured into

Leaves for silvering glass became L1.73
Household utensils 1.85

Quicksilver cost L10 16s. per cwt. Quicksilver worth L1 when
manufactured into

Vermilion of average quality became L1.81

Metallic arsenic cost L1 4s. per cwt. Arsenic worth L1 when
manufactured into

White oxide of arsenic became L1.83
Sulphuret (orpiment) 4.26

The price of cast-iron was 8s. per cwt. Cast-iron worth L1
when manufactured into

Household utensils became L2.00
Machinery 4.00
Ornamental. as buckles. etc 45.00
Bracelets. figures, buttons. etc. 147.00

8ar-iron cost L1 6s. per cwt. Bar-iron worth L1 when
manufactured into

Agricultural instruments became L3.57
Barrels, musket 9. 10
Barrels of double-barrel guns. twisted and damasked 238.08
Blades of penknives 657.14
razor. cast steel 53.57 sabre, for cavalry. infantry, and
artillery. etc. from 9.25 to 16.07
of table knives 35.70
Buckles of polished steel, used as jewellery 896.66
Clothiers' pins 8.03
Door-latches and bolts from 4.85 to 8.50
Files, common 2.55 flat, cast steel 20.44
Horseshoes 2.55
Iron, small slit, for nails 1. 10
Metallic cloth, iron wire, No. 80 96.71
Needles of various sizes from 17.33 to 70.85
Reeds for weaving 3-4ths calico 21.87
Saws (frame) of steel 5. 12
for wood 14.28
Scissors, finest kind 446.94
Steel, cast 4.28
cast, in sheets 6.25
cemented 2.41
natural 1.42
Sword handles, polished steel 972.82
Tinned iron from 2.04 to 2.34
Wire, iron from 2. 14 to 10.71

215. The following is stated by M. de Villefosse to be the
price of bar-iron at the forges of various countries, in January,

per ton
L s. d.
France 26 10 0
Belgium and Germany 16 14 0
Sweden and Russia, at Stockholm and St Petersburg 13 13 0
England, at Cardiff 10 1 0

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

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

Next: On The Division Of Labour

Previous: Of Price As Measured By Money

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