Enquiries Previous To Commencing Any Manufactory

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 artic
e 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


Question. Is there any thing else you have to state upon this


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


The general results, when a waggon weighing 21 cwt was used

on different sorts of roads, are as follows:


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.


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.