Home Steel Making Categories Manufacturing and the Economy of Machinery


On The Future Prospects Of Manufactures As Connected With Science
453. In reviewing the various processes offered as illustrat...

Of Copying By Moulding
112. This method of producing multitudes of individuals havi...

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

On The Causes And Consequences Of Large Factories
263. On examining the analysis which has been given in chapt...

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

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

Of Copying By Casting
105. The art of casting, by pouring substances in a fluid st...

On The Division Of Labour
241. We have already mentioned what may, perhaps, appear par...

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

Of Copying With Altered Dimensions
147. Of the pentagraph. This mode of copying is chiefly used ...

Of Copying By Punching
133. This mode of copying consists in driving a steel punch ...

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

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

On Over Manufacturing
284. One of the natural and almost inevitable consequences of...

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

Copying With Elongation
140. In this species of copying there exists but little rese...

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

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

Registering Operations
65. One great advantage which we may derive from machinery is...

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

On The Division Of Labour

Category: On the domestic and political economy of manufactures

217. Perhaps the most important principle on which the
economy of a manufacture depends, is the division of labour
amongst the persons who perform the work. The first application
of this principle must have been made in a very early stage of
society, for it must soon have been apparent, that a larger
number of comforts and conveniences could be acquired by each
individual, if one man restricted his occupation to the art of
making bows, another to that of building houses, a third boats,
and so on. This division of labour into trades was not, however,
the result of an opinion that the general riches of the community
would be increased by such an arrangement; but it must have
arisen from the circumstance of each individual so employed
discovering that he himself could thus make a greater profit of
his labour than by pursuing more varied occupations. Society must
have made considerable advances before this principle could have
been carried into the workshop; for it is only in countries which
have attained a high degree of civilization, and in articles in
which there is a great competition amongst the producers, that
the most perfect system of the division of labour is to be
observed. The various principles on which the advantages of this
system depend, have been much the subject of discussion amongst
writers on political economy; but the relative importance of
their influence does not appear, in all cases, to have been
estimated with sufficient precision. It is my intention, in the
first instance, to state shortly those principles, and then to
point out what appears to me to have been omitted by those who
have previously treated the subject.

218. 1. Of the time required for learning. It will readily be
admitted, that the portion of time occupied in the acquisition of
any art will depend on the difficulty of its execution; and that
the greater the number of distinct processes, the longer will be
the time which the apprentice must employ in acquiring it. Five
or seven years have been adopted, in a great many trades, as the
time considered requisite for a lad to acquire a sufficient
knowledge of his art, and to enable him to repay by his labour,
during the latter portion of his time, the expense incurred by
his master at its commencement. If, however, instead of learning
all the different processes for making a needle, for instance,
his attention be confined to one operation, the portion of time
consumed unprofitably at the commencement of his apprenticeship
will be small, and all the rest of it will be beneficial to his
master: and, consequently, if there be any competition amongst
the masters, the apprentice will be able to make better terms,
and diminish the period of his servitude. Again, the facility of
acquiring skill in a single process, and the early period of life
at which it can be made a source of profit, will induce a greater
number of parents to bring up their children to it; and from this
circumstance also, the number of workmen being increased, the
wages will soon fall.

219. 2. Of waste of materials in learning. A certain quantity
of material will, in all cases, be consumed unprofitably, or
spoiled by every person who learns an art; and as he applies
himself to each new process, he will waste some of the raw
material, or of the partly manufactured commodity. But if each
man commit this waste in acquiring successively every process,
the quantity of waste will be much greater than if each person
confine his attention to one process; in this view of the
subject, therefore, the division of labour will diminish the
price of production.

220. 3. Another advantage resulting from the division of
labour is, the saving of that portion of time which is always
lost in changing from one occupation to another. When the human
hand, or the human head, has been for some time occupied in any
kind of work, it cannot instantly change its employment with full
effect. The muscles of the limbs employed have acquired a
flexibility during their exertion, and those not in action a
stiffness during rest, which renders every change slow and
unequal in the commencement. Long habit also produces in the
muscles exercised a capacity for enduring fatigue to a much
greater degree than they could support under other circumstances.
A similar result seems to take place in any change of mental
exertion; the attention bestowed on the new subject not being so
perfect at first as it becomes after some exercise.

221. 4. Change of tools. The employment of different tools in
the successive processes is another cause of the loss of time in
changing from one operation to another. If these tools are
simple, and the change is not frequent, the loss of time is not
considerable; but in many processes of the arts the tools are of
great delicacy, requiring accurate adjustment every time they are
used; and in many cases the time employed in adjusting bears a
large proportion to that employed in using the tool. The
sliding-rest, the dividing and the drilling-engine, are of this
kind; and hence, in manufactories of sufficient extent, it is
found to be good economy to keep one machine constantly employed
in one kind of work: one lathe, for example, having a screw
motion to its sliding-rest along the whole length of its bed, is
kept constantly making cylinders; another, having a motion for
equalizing the velocity of the work at the point at which it
passes the tool, is kept for facing surfaces; whilst a third is
constantly employed in cutting wheels.

222. 5. Skill acquired by frequent repetition of the same
processes. The constant repetition of the same process
necessarily produces in the workman a degree of excellence and
rapidity in his particular department, which is never possessed
by a person who is obliged to execute many different processes.
This rapidity is still further increased from the circumstance
that most of the operations in factories, where the division of
labour is carried to a considerable extent, are paid for as
piece-work. It is difficult to estimate in numbers the effect of
this cause upon production. In nail-making, Adam Smith has
stated, that it is almost three to one; for, he observes, that a
smith accustomed to make nails, but whose whole business has not
been that of a nailer, can make only from eight hundred to a
thousand per day; whilst a lad who had never exercised any other
trade, can make upwards of two thousand three hundred a day.

223. In different trades, the economy of production arising
from the last-mentioned cause will necessarily be different. The
case of nail-making is, perhaps, rather an extreme one. It must,
however, be observed, that, in one sense, this is not a permanent
source of advantage; for, though it acts at the commencement of
an establishment, yet every month adds to the skill of the
workmen; and at the end of three or four years they will not be
very far behind those who have never practised any other branch
of their art. Upon an occasion when a large issue of bank-notes
was required, a clerk at the Bank of England signed his name,
consisting of seven letters, including the initial of his
Christian name, five thousand three hundred times during eleven
working hours, besides arranging the notes he had signed in
parcels of fifty each.

224. 6. The division of labour suggests the contrivance of
tools and machinery to execute its processes. When each
processes, by which any article is produced, is the sole
occupation of one individual, his whole attention being devoted
to a very limited and simple operation, improvements in the form
of his tools, or in the mode of using them, are much more likely
to occur to his mind, than if it were distracted by a greater
variety of circumstances. Such an improvement in the tool is
generally the first step towards a machine. If a piece of metal
is to be cut in a lathe, for example, there is one particular
angle at which the cutting-tool must be held to insure the
cleanest cut; and it is quite natural that the idea of fixing the
tool at that angle should present itself to an intelligent
workman. The necessity of moving the tool slowly, and in a
direction parallel to itself, would suggest the use of a screw,
and thus arises the sliding-rest. It was probably the idea of
mounting a chisel in a frame, to prevent its cutting too deeply,
which gave rise to the common carpenter's plane. In cases where a
blow from a hammer is employed, experience teaches the proper
force required. The transition from the hammer held in the hand
to one mounted upon an axis, and lifted regularly to a certain
height by some mechanical contrivance, requires perhaps a greater
degree of invention than those just instanced; yet it is not
difficult to perceive, that, if the hammer always falls from the
same height, its effect must be always the same.

225. When each process has been reduced to the use of some
simple tool, the union of all these tools, actuated by one moving
power, constitutes a machine. In contriving tools and simplifying
processes, the operative workmen are, perhaps, most successful;
but it requires far other habits to combine into one machine
these scattered arts. A previous education as a workman in the
peculiar trade, is undoubtedly a valuable preliminary; but in
order to make such combinations with any reasonable expectation
of success, an extensive knowledge of machinery, and the power of
making mechanical drawings, are essentially requisite. These
accomplishments are now much more common than they were
formerly, and their absence was, perhaps, one of the causes of
the multitude of failures in the early history of many of our

226. Such are the principles usually assigned as the causes
of the advantage resulting from the division of labour. As in the
view I have taken of the question, the most important and
influential cause has been altogether unnoticed, I shall restate
those principles in the words of Adam Smith:

The great increase in the quantity of work, which, in consequence
of the division of labour, the same number of people are capable
of performing, is owing to three different circumstances: first,
to the increase of dexterity in every particular workman;
secondly, to the saving of time, which is commonly lost in
passing from one species of work to another; and, lastly, to the
invention of a great number of machines which facilitate and
abridge labour, and enable one man to do the work of many.

Now, although all these are important causes, and each has
its influence on the result; yet it appears to me, that any
explanation of the cheapness of manufactured articles, as
consequent upon the division of labour, would be incomplete if
the following principle were omitted to be stated.

That the master manufacturer, by dividing the work to be
executed into different processes, each requiring different
degrees of skill or of force, can purchase exactly that precise
quantity of both which is necessary for each process; whereas, if
the whole work were executed by one workman, that person must
possess sufficient skill to perform the most difficult, and
sufficient strength to execute the most laborious, of the
operations into which the art is divided.(1*)

227. As the clear apprehension of this principle, upon which
a great part of the economy arising from the division of labour
depends, is of considerable importance, it may be desirable to
point out its precise and numerical application in some specific
manufacture. The art of making needles is, perhaps, that which I
should have selected for this illustration, as comprehending a
very large number of processes remarkably different in their
nature; but the less difficult art of pinmaking, has some claim
to attention, from its having been used by Adam Smith; and I am
confirmed in the choice of it, by the circumstance of our
possessing a very accurate and minute description of that art, as
practised in France above half a century ago.

228. Pin-making. In the manufacture of pins in England the
following processes are employed:

1. Wire-drawing. (a) The brass wire used for making pins is
purchased by the manufacturer in coils of about twenty-two inches
in diameter, each weighing about thirty-six pounds. (b) The coils
are wound off into smaller ones of about six inches in diameter,
and between one and two pounds' weight. (c) The diameter of this
wire is now reduced, by drawing it repeatedly through holes in
steel plates, until it becomes of the size required for the sort
of pins intended to be made. During this process the wire is
hardened, and to prevent its breaking, it must be annealed two or
three times, according to the diminution of diameter required.
(d) The coils are then soaked in sulphuric acid, largely diluted
with water, in order to clean them, and are then beaten on stone,
for the purpose of removing any oxidated coating which may adhere
to them. These operations are usually performed by men, who draw
and clean from thirty to thirty-six pounds of wire a day. They
are paid at the rate of five farthings per pound, and generally
earn about 3s. 6d. per day.

M. Perronnet made some experiments on the extension the wire
undergoes in passing through each hole: he took a piece of thick
Swedish brass wire, and found

Feet Inches
Its length to be before drawing 3 8
After passing the first hole 5 5
second hole 7 2
third hole 7 8

It was now annealed, and the length became

After passing the fourth hole 10 8
fifth hole 13 1
sixth hole 16 8
And finally, after passing through six other holes 144 0

The holes through which the wire was drawn were not, in this
experiment, of regularly decreasing diameter: it is extremely
difficult to make such holes, and still more to preserve them in
their original dimensions.

229. 2. Straightening the wire. The coil of wire now passes
into the hands of a woman, assisted by a boy or girl. A few
nails, or iron pins, not quite in a line, are fixed into one end
of a wooden table about twenty feet in length; the end of the
wire is passed alternately between these nails, and is then
pulled to the other end of the table. The object of this process
is to straighten the wire, which had acquired a considerable
curvature in the small coils in which it had been wound. The
length thus straightened is cut off, and the remainder of the
coil is drawn into similar lengths. About seven nails or pins are
employed in straightening the wire, and their adjustment is a
matter of some nicety. It seems, that by passing the wire between
the first three nails or pins, a bend is produced in an opposite
direction to that which the wire had in the coil; this bend, by
passing the next two nails, is reduced to another less curved in
the first direction, and so on till the curve of the wire may at
last be confounded with a straight line.

230. 3. Pointing. (a) A man next takes about three hundred of
these straightened pieces in a parcel, and putting them into a
gauge, cuts off from one end, by means of a pair of shears, moved
by his foot, a portion equal in length to rather more than six
pins. He continues this operation until the entire parcel is
reduced into similar pieces. (b) The next step is to sharpen the
ends: for this purpose the operator sits before a steel mill,
which is kept rapidly revolving: it consists of a cylinder about
six inches in diameter, and two and a half inches broad, faced
with steel, which is cut in the manner of a file. Another
cylinder is fixed on the same axis at a few inches distant; the
file on the edge of which is of a finer kind, and is used for
finishing off the points. The workman now takes up a parcel of
the wires between the finger and thumb of each hand, and presses
the ends obliquely on the mill, taking care with his fingers and
thumbs to make each wire slowly revolve upon its axis. Having
thus pointed all the pieces at one end, he reverses them, and
performs the same operation on the other. This process requires
considerable skill, but it is not unhealthy; whilst the similar
process in needlemaking is remarkably destructive of health. (c)
The pieces now pointed at both ends, are next placed in gauges,
and the pointed ends are cut off, by means of shears, to the
proper length of which the pins are to be made. The remaining
portions of the wire are now equal to about four pins in length,
and are again pointed at each end, and their lengths again cut
off. This process is repeated a third time, and the small portion
of wire left in the middle is thrown amongst the waste, to be
melted along with the dust arising from the sharpening. It is
usual for a man, his wife, and a child, to join in performing
these processes; and they are paid at the rate of five farthings
per pound. They can point from thirty-four to thirty-six and a
half pounds per day, and gain from 6s. 6d. to 7s., which may be
apportioned thus; 5s. 6d. the man. 1s. the woman, 6d. to the boy
or girl.

231. 4. Twisting and cutting the heads. The next process is
making the heads. For this purpose (a) a boy takes a piece of
wire, of the same diameter as the pin to be headed, which he
fixes on an axis that can be made to revolve rapidly by means of
a wheel and strap connected with it. This wire is called the
mould. He then takes a smaller wire, which having passed through
an eye in a small tool held in his left hand, he fixes close to
the bottom of the mould. The mould is now made to revolve rapidly
by means of the right hand, and the smaller wire coils round it
until it has covered the whole length of the mould. The boy now
cuts the end of the spiral connected with the foot of the mould,
and draws it off. (b) When a sufficient quantity of heading is
thus made, a man takes from thirteen to twenty of these spirals
in his left hand, between his thumb and three outer fingers:
these he places in such a manner that two turns of the spiral
shall be beyond the upper edge of a pair of shears, and with the
forefinger of the same hand he feels that only two turns do so
project. With his right hand he closes the shears; and the two
turns of the spiral being cut off, drop into a basin; the
position of the forefinger preventing the heads from flying about
when cut off. The workmen who cut the heads are usually paid at
the rate of 2 1/2d. to 3d. per pound for large heads, but a
higher price is given for the smaller heading. Out of this they
pay the boy who spins the spiral; he receives from 4d. to 6d. a
day. A good workman can cut from six to about thirty pounds of
heading per day, according to its size.

232. 5. Heading. The process of fixing the head on the body
of the pin is usually executed by women and children. Each
operator sits before a small steel stake, having a cavity, into
which one half of the intended head will fit; immediately above
is a steel die, having a corresponding cavity for the other half
of the head: this latter die can be raised by a pedal moved by
the foot. The weight of the hammer is from seven to ten pounds,
and it falls through a very small space, perhaps from one to two
inches. The cavities in the centre of these dies are connected
with the edge of a small groove, to admit of the body of the pin,
which is thus prevented from being flattened by the blow of the
die. (a) The operator with his left hand dips the pointed end of
the body of a pin into a tray of heads; having passed the point
through one of them, he carries it along to the other end with
the forefinger. He now takes the pin in the right hand, and
places the head in the cavity of the stake, and, lifting the die
with his foot, allows it to fall on the head. This blow tightens
the head on the shank, which is then turned round, and the head
receives three or four blows on different parts of its
circumference. The women and children who fix the heads are paid
at the rate of 1s. 6d. for every twenty thousand. A skilful
operator can with great exertion do twenty thousand per day, but
from ten to fifteen thousand is the usual quantity: children head
a much smaller number: varying, of course, with the degree of
their skill. About one per cent of the pins are spoiled in the
process; these are picked out afterwards by women, and are
reserved, along with the waste from other processes, for the
melting-pot. The die in which the heads are struck is varied in
form according to the fashion of the time; but the repeated blows
to which it is subject render it necessary that it should be
repaired after it has been used for about thirty pounds of pins.

233. 6. Tinning. The pins are now fit to be tinned, a process
which is usually executed by a man, assisted by his wife, or by a
lad. The quantity of pins operated upon at this stage is usually
fifty-six pounds. (a) They are first placed in a pickle, in order
to remove any grease or dirt from their surface, and also to
render them rough, which facilitates the adherence of the tin
with which they are to be covered. (b) They are then placed in a
boiler full of a solution of tartar in water, in which they are
mixed with a quantity of tin in small grains. In this they are
generally kept boiling for about two hours and a half, and are
then removed into a tub of water into which some bran has been
thrown, for the purpose of washing off the acid liquor. (c) They
are then taken out, and, being placed in wooden trays, are well
shaken in dry bran: this removes any water adhering to them; and
by giving the wooden tray a peculiar kind of motion, the pins are
thrown up, and the bran gradually flies off, and leaves them
behind in the tray. The man who pickles and tins the pins usually
gets one penny per pound for the work, and employs himself,
during the boiling of one batch of pins, in drying those
previously tinned. He can earn about 9s. per day; but out of this
he pays about 3s. for his assistant.

234. 7. Papering. The pins come from the tinner in wooden
bowls, with the points projecting in all directions: the
arranging of them side by side in paper is generally performed by
women. (a) A woman takes up some, and places them on a comb, and
shaking them, some of the pins fall back into the bowl, and the
rest, being caught by their heads, are detained between the teeth
of the comb. (b) Having thus arranged them in a parallel
direction, she fixes the requisite number between two pieces of
iron, having twenty-five small grooves, at equal distances; (c)
and having previously doubled the paper, she presses it against
the points of the pins until they have passed through the two
folds which are to retain them. The pins are then relieved from
the grasp of the tool, and the process is repeated. A woman gains
about 1s. 6d. per day by papering; but children are sometimes
employed, who earn from 6d. per day, and upwards.

235. Having thus generally described the various processes of
pin-making, and having stated the usual cost of each, it will be
convenient to present a tabular view of the time occupied by each
process, and its cost, as well as the sums which can be earned by
the persons who confine themselves solely to each process. As the
rate of wages is itself fluctuating, and as the prices paid and
quantities executed have been given only between certain limits,
it is not to be expected that this table can represent the cost
of each part of the work with the minutest accuracy, nor even
that it shall accord perfectly with the prices above given: but
it has been drawn up with some care, and will be quite sufficient
to serve as the basis of those reasonings which it is meant to
illustrate. A table nearly similar will be subjoined, which has
been deduced from a statement of M. Perronet, respecting the art
of pin-making in France, above seventy years ago.

English manufacture

236. Pins, Elevens, 5546 weigh one pound; one dozen = 6932
pins weigh twenty ounces, and require six ounces of paper.

Name of the process
Time for making 1 lb of pins Hours
Cost of making 1 lb of pins Pence
Workmen earns per day s. d.
Price of making each part of a single pin in millionths of a

1. Drawing wire (224) Man .3636 1.2500 3 3 225
2. Straightening wire ( 225) Woman .3000 .2840 1 0 51
Girl .3000 .1420 0 6 26
3. Pointing (226) Man .3000 1.7750 5 3 319
4. Twisting and cutting heads Boy .0400 .0147 0 4 1/2 3
(227) Man .0400 .2103 5 4 1/2 38
5. Heading (228) Woman 4.0000 5.0000 1 3 901
6 Tinning or whitening Man .1071 .6666 6 0 121
(229) Woman .1071 .3333 3 0 60
7. Papering (230) Woman 2.1314 3.1973 1 6 576
7.6892 12.8732 - - 2320

Number of persons employed: Men. 4; Women. 4; Children, 2.
Total, 10.

French manufacture

237. Cost of 12,000 pins, No. 6, each being eight-tenths of an
English inch in length,--as they were manufactured in France about
1760; with the cost of each operation: deduced from the
observations and statement of M. Perronet.

Name of the process
Time for making twelve thousand pins Hours
Cost of making twelve thousand pins Pence
Workman usually earns per day Pence
Expense of tools and materials Pence

1. Wire -- -- -- 24.75
2. Straightening and cutting 1.2 .5 4.5 --
3. Coarse pointing 1.2 .625 10.0 --
Turning wheel(2*) 1.2 .875 7.0 --
Fine Pointing .8 .5 9.375 --
Turning wheel 1.2 .5 4.75 --
Cutting off pointed ends .6 .375 7.5 --
4. Turning spiral .5 .125 3.0 --
Cutting off heads .8 .375 5.625 --
Fuel to anneal ditto -- -- -- .125
5. Heading 12.0 .333 4.25 --
6. Tartar for cleaning -- -- -- .5
Tartar for whitening -- -- -- .5
7. Papering 4.8 .5 2.0 --
Paper -- -- -- 1.0
Wear of tools -- -- -- 2.0
24.3 4.708

The great expense of turning the wheel appears to have arisen
from the person so occupied being unemployed during half his
time, whilst the pointer went to another manufactory

338. It appears from the analysis we have given of the art of
pinmaking, that it occupies rather more than seven hours and a
half of time, for ten different individuals working in succession
on the same material, to convert it into a pound of pins; and
that the total expense of their labour, each being paid in the
joint ratio of his skill and of the time he is employed, amounts
very nearly to 1s. 1d. But from an examination of the first of
these tables, it appears that the wages earned by the persons
employed vary from 4 1/2d. per day up to 6s., and consequently
the skill which is required for their respective employments may
be measured by those sums. Now it is evident, that if one person
were required to make the whole pound of pins, he must have skill
enough to earn about 5s. 3d. per day, whilst he is pointing the
wires or cutting off the heads from the spiral coils--and 6s.
when he is whitening the pins; which three operations together
would occupy little more than the seventeenth part of his time.
It is also apparent, that during more than one half of his time
he must be earning only 1s. 3d, per day, in putting on the heads;
although his skill, if properly employed, would, in the same
time, produce nearly five times as much. If, therefore, we were
to employ, for all the processes, the man who whitens the pins,
and who earns 6s. per day, even supposing that he could make the
pound of pins in an equally short time, yet we must pay him for
his time 46. 14 pence, or about 3s. 10d. The pins would therefore
cost, in making, three times and three quarters as much as they
now do by the application of the division of labour.

The higher the skill required of the workman in any one
process of a manufacture, and the smaller the time during which
it is employed, so much the greater will be the advantage of
separating that process from the rest, and devoting one person's
attention entirely to it. Had we selected the art of
needle-making as our illustration, the economy arising from the
division of labour would have been still more striking; for the
process of tempering the needles requires great skill, attention,
and experience, and although from three to four thousand are
tempered at once, the workman is paid a very high rate of wages.
In another process of the same manufacture, dry-pointing, which
also is executed with great rapidity, the wages earned by the
workman reach from 7s. to 12s., 15s., and even, in some
instances, to 20s. per day; whilst other processes are carried on
by children paid at the rate of 6d. per day.

239. Some further reflections suggested by the preceding
analysis, will be reserved until we have placed before the reader
a brief description of a machine for making pins, invented by an
American. It is highly ingenious in point of contrivance, and, in
respect to its economical principles, will furnish a strong and
interesting contrast with the manufacture of pins by the human
hand. In this machine a coil of brass wire is placed on an axis;
one end of this wire is drawn by a pair of rollers through a
small hole in a plate of steel, and is held there by a forceps.
As soon as the machine is put in action, -

1. The forceps draws the wire on to a distance equal in
length to one pin: a cutting edge of steel then descends close to
the hole through which the wire entered, and severs the piece
drawn out.

2. The forceps holding the piece thus separated moves on,
till it brings the wire to the centre of the chuck of a small
lathe, which opens to receive it. Whilst the forceps is returning
to fetch another piece of wire, the lathe revolves rapidly, and
grinds the projecting end of the wire upon a steel mill, which
advances towards it.

3. After this first or coarse pointing, the lathe stops, and
another forceps takes hold of the half-pointed pin, (which is
instantly released by the opening of the chuck), and conveys it
to a similar chuck of an adjacent lathe, which receives it, and
finishes the pointing on a finer steel mill.

4. This mill again stops, and another forceps removes the
pointed pin into a pair of strong steel clams, having a small
groove in them by which they hold the pin very firmly. A part of
this groove, which terminates at that edge of the steel clams
which is intended to form the head of the pin, is made conical. A
small round steel punch is now driven forcibly against the end of
the wire thus clamped, and the head of the pin is partially
formed by compressing the wire into the conical cavity.


1. I have already stated that this principle presented itself to
me after a personal examination of a number of manufactories and
workshops devoted to different purposes; but I have since found
that it had been distinctly pointed out in the work of Gioja.
Nuovo Prospetto delle Scienze Economiche. 6 tom. 4to. Milano,
1815, tom. i. capo iv.

2. The great expense of turning the wheel appears to have arisen
from the person so occupied being unemployed during half his
time, whilst the pointer went to another manufactory.

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