Distinction Between Making And Manufacturing

163. The economical principles which regulate the application

of machinery, and which govern the interior of all our great

factories, are quite as essential to the prosperity of a great

commercial country, as are those mechanical principles, the

operation of which has been illustrated in the preceding section.

The first object of every person who attempts to make any

article of consumption, is, or ought t
be, to produce it in a

perfect form; but in order to secure to himself the greatest and

most permanent profit, he must endeavour, by every means in his

power, to render the new luxury or want which he has created,

cheap to those who consume it. The larger number of purchasers

thus obtained will, in some measure, secure him from the caprices

of fashion, whilst it furnishes a far greater amount of profit,

although the contribution of each individual is diminished. The

importance of collecting data, for the purpose of enabling the

manufacturer to ascertain how many additional customers he will

acquire by a given reduction in the price of the article he

makes, cannot be too strongly pressed upon the attention of those

who employ themselves in statistical enquiries. In some ranks of

society, no diminution of price can bring forward a great

additional number of customers; whilst, amongst other classes, a

very small reduction will so enlarge the sale, as to yield a

considerable increase of profit. Materials calculated to assist

in forming a table of the numbers of persons who possess incomes

of different amount, occur in the 14th Report of the

Commissioners of Revenue Inquiry, which includes a statement of

the amount of personal property proved at the legacy office

during one year; the number of the various classes of testators;

and an account of the number of persons receiving dividends from

funded property, distributed into classes. Such a table, formed

even approximately, and exhibited in the form of a curve, might

be of service.

164. A considerable difference exists between the terms

making and manufacturing. The former refers to the production of

a small, the latter to that of a very large number of

individuals; and the difference is well illustrated in the

evidence, given before the Committee of the House of Commons, on

the Export of Tools and Machinery. On that occasion Mr Maudslay

stated, that he had been applied to by the Navy Board to make

iron tanks for ships, and that he was rather unwilling to do so,

as he considered it to be out of his line of business; however,

he undertook to make one as a trial. The holes for the rivets

were punched by hand-punching with presses, and the 1680 holes

which each tank required cost seven shillings. The Navy Board,

who required a large number, proposed that he should supply forty

tanks a week for many months. The magnitude of the order made it

worth his while to commence manufacture, and to make tools for

the express business. Mr Maudslay therefore offered, if the Board

would give him an order for two thousand tanks, to supply them at

the rate of eighty per week. The order was given: he made tools,

by which the expense of punching the rivet-holes of each tank was

reduced from seven shillings to ninepence; he supplied

ninety-eight tanks a week for six months, and the price charged

for each was reduced from seventeen pounds to fifteen.

165. If, therefore, the maker of an article wish to become a

manufacturer, in the more extended sense of the term, he must

attend to other principles besides those mechanical ones on which

the successful execution of his work depends; and he must

carefully arrange the whole system of his factory in such a

manner, that the article he sells to the public may be produced

at as small a cost as possible. Should he not be actuated at

first by motives so remote, he will, in every highly civilized

country, be compelled, by the powerful stimulus of competition,

to attend to the principles of the domestic economy of

manufactures. At every reduction in price of the commodity he

makes, he will be driven to seek compensation in a saving of

expense in some of the processes; and his ingenuity will be

sharpened in this enquiry by the hope of being able in his turn

to undersell his rivals. The benefit of the improvements thus

engendered is, for a short time, confined to those from whose

ingenuity they derive their origin; but when a sufficient

experience has proved their value, they become generally adopted,

until in their turn they are superseded by other more economical