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The History of Industries and Toolmaking in United Kingdom


 
  Industrial Efficiency by Arthur Shadwell, MA., MD., 1906
Vol.1

Vol.2
 

A Comparative Study of Industrial Life in England, Germany and America.

It seems desirable to explain that this book has no connection with what is called "the fiscal controversy," in England. It was planned, and the investigation on which it is based was carried out, before that controversy arose.

It contains nothing about imports and exports, and the only reference to free trade is confined to a few paragraphs in the last chapter. But it was inspired by the same circumstances, namely, the growing pressure of international competition in industry, which is evidently going to be the warfare of the future. It essays to deal with the other side of that problem, and to examine the conditions under which industries are carried on in the three leading industrial countries, apart from tariffs.

My aim was to make a more systematic comparison than has yet been done. For that purpose it was obviously necessary to limit the field, because observation is essential to a real comparison, and at the same time to make it wide enough to afford a fair basis. I therefore took a certain number of industrial centers in each country.

In selecting them I was guided by three objects - (1) that they should represent the two great branches of competing industries - textiles and metals, (2) that they should be as purely industrial, and (3) as nearly comparable as possible. Its been proposed to study these selected centers in detail, noting the actual conditions of life on the spot, and starting from this basis of observation to compare the principal factors seriatim, using statistics and other records to complete my comparison.

That plan has been carried out exactly as intended, except that domestic affairs compelled me to curtail a portion of the time allotted to Germany. In spite of that I do not think that my German friends will have any reason to complain of their treatment. The selection will probably be criticized; no one can criticize it more effectively than I could myself. Indeed, I feel very sorry for some of the omissions.

One of those is Berlin, because Berlin is not only one of the greatest of manufacturing cities but a particularly modern one with some of the largest and most perfect works in existence, which can be said neither of London nor of New York. But I have left out all the capitals for detailed study, because in them the industrial element is over-laid and obscured by so many others of a special character that they rather confuse than enlighten. So I have merely taken brief note of them. Then it has cost me a severe pang to give up Scotland.

The Scottish element, though relatively small in quantity is great in quality; the Scots make their mark wherever they go. And Glasgow, with Paisley, Partick, Clydebank, Rutherglen and other satellites, is perhaps the greatest of all manufacturing centers; but it is still more a great port and trading place, and these characters introduce entirely different conditions, as I subsequently point out. It is a serious mistake to confound trading with industrial places, and I have eschewed all ports, except Philadelphia, where that element is quite secondary.

Moreover, to have included Scotland would have greatly complicated my task in dealing with statistics and several special subjects. The same reasons apply to Belfast. I am acquainted with these and with many other important places omitted in all three countries; and looking strictly to the objects I had in view I abide by my selection as fairly and sufficiently representative. I beg readers to remember that my purpose was not to enumerate totals, but to compare conditions in detail, and those not of the whole but of the manufacturing population.

It has been a very laborious task, in which I have to acknowledge with gratitude the help of hundreds of people, from the British Ambassadors in Berlin and Washington to ordinary workmen. Government and municipal officials, factory and school inspectors, manufacturers, managers, engineers, chambers of commerce, teachers, health officers, statisticians, police, clergymen, journalists, trade union officials, librarians, private gentlemen, workmen and their wives, have all given me information without stint.

In quoting remarks made in conversation I have not mentioned names, because it is a poor return for confidence to lay a man open to the chance of a troublesome correspondence; but in every case the persons quoted are those who have the best right to speak on the subject.

The first and last chapters are of a summary character. Chapters IX, III, and IV are devoted to the selected districts and towns; besides detailed descriptions they contain historical notes on the rise and development of the local industries, which I hope may be found interesting.

The natural conditions are an important factor which is often ignored. In the descriptive part I have followed a general plan and have noted certain points in each case so far as information allowed, but I have not attempted a rigidly symmetrical treatment, and have discussed special subjects such as infantile mortality, waterborne disease, markets, street paving and so on as they came up conveniently for notice in connection with some particular place.

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