The New International Encyclopædia/Manufactures

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MANUFACTURES (ML. manufactura, from Lat. manufactus, manu factus, made by hand, from manu, abl. sg. of manus, hand, and factus, p.p. of facere, to make). In a broad sense of the term, manufactures are such forms of industry as elaborate for economic use materials which are themselves the product of industry. Manufactures are thus distinguished from extractive industry, which procures wealth from nature in its primary forms. In practice it is difficult to draw a hard and fast line between these two types of industry, since many commodities which are commonly classed as raw materials have been subject to one or more elaborative processes, as, for example, raw cotton, raw sugar, pig iron. The practice of American statisticians is to class with extractive industry processes which are directly connected with the exploitation of natural products. Butter and cheese which are made on the farm are treated as agricultural products; when produced in factories distinct from the farm they are classed with manufactures. A product in its earliest merchantable form may then be classed with raw materials; when subjected to further processes of elaboration it becomes a manufactured commodity. For the technical legal distinction in this matter, see Manufactured Article.

Again, many commodities undergo minor changes incidental to consumption. The preparation of food may be cited as a case in point. Such processes are not usually placed under manufactures. If the preparation of food is carried on in separate establishments with a view to supplying a market, it will fall under the head of manufactures. This distinction is obviously difficult to make in practice. The twelfth census of the United States excludes from manufactures proper most forms of order production, confining the term to production of standard commodities for a general market. From a theoretical point of view, however, it is better to include under manufactures all processes of elaboration of merchantable materials into commodities primarily designed for sale.

In this sense of the term manufactures presuppose a considerably developed economic life. They did not exist when each household produced exclusively for its own consumption. In Western Europe they were first carried on under the guilds (q.v.). forming, however, but an insignificant part of the economic life. With the rise of capital in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, manufactures were carried on more extensively under the domestic system. The capitalist-merchant put out materials to be worked up at home by workmen whose chief occupation was usually agriculture. This form of manufacture still exists in America and England; it is widely practiced in France, Germany, and Russia; and in some European districts, notably in Norway, it is the prevalent form.

In the more advanced nations domestic manufacture has been largely supplanted by the factory system (q.v.). The extension of the market in early modern times, requiring a vastly increased production of goods of standard kinds, led first to excessive division of labor and later to the invention of machinery. The first industries to respond to these influences were the textile and the iron industries as discussed in detail under the heads of Textile Manufacturing and Iron and Steel, Metallurgy of.

Manufactures in the United States. At the end of the colonial period manufacturing industry in America was of slight importance. The principal salable articles were raw materials, such as the products of the forests. Each household provided itself with the chief commodities for consumption. In New England, however, the manufacture of rum was extensive, and the production of hats, coarse cloth, and nails was carried on under the domestic system of industry. The total value of the manufactures of America at the time of the adoption of the Constitution has been estimated at $20,000,000; but this includes much domestic production for home consumption.

Machine production scarcely existed before 1790. In that year a British mechanic, Slater, set up spinning machinery in Rhode Island. In 1794 Whitney invented the cotton gin, thus assuring a supply of raw materials for the new cotton manufacture. By 1810 machinery had been generally introduced in textile manufacture, although large quantities of goods were still produced under the older system. The value of textiles produced in that year was estimated at about $40,000,000.

The iron manufacture developed more slowly. Machinery of improved types was introduced in the first and second decades of the nineteenth century, but the greater part of the production and manufacture was carried on in a primitive fashion, until the fifth decade of the century, when anthracite began to be substituted for charcoal in smelting. From that time increase was rapid, as will be seen in the statistics given under Iron and Steel, Metallurgy of. The value of the manufactures of the United States for the year 1810 was estimated by Tench Coxe to be $198,613,471. In 1820 the value of manufactures had risen to $268,000,000. The following table, taken from the Twelfth Census, Manufactures, part i., gives the essential facts as to the development of manufactures from 1850:


1900 1890 1880 1870 1860 1850







Capital[1] 9,835  6,523  2,790  2,118  1,009  533 
Total wages[1] 2,328  1,891  947  775  378  236 
Cost of materials[1] 7,348  5,162  3,396  2,488  1,031  555 
Value of products[1] 13,014  9,372  5,369  4,232  1,885  1,019 
 
Average number of wage-earners   5,316,802   4,251,613   2,732,595   2,053,996   1,311,246   957,059 



Per cent. of increase

 1890-1900   1880-1890   1870-1880   1860-1870   1850-1860 






Capital 50.7 133.9  31.7 109.8 89.4
Total wages 23.1 99.5 22.2 104.7 60.0
Cost of materials 42.3 52.0 36.5 141.2 85.8
Value of products 38.9 74.5 26.9 124.4 85.1
 
Average number of wage-earners  25.1 55.6 33.0  56.6 37.0

In estimating the economic significance of the development of manufactures as shown in the above table, it will be necessary to make allowance for the fact that a considerable number of operations are now carried on as manufactures which formerly were a part of household industry. The increase in the net product of manufactures above cost of material is not wholly a net increase in national income, although the greater part may be so regarded. It is further to be kept in mind that the statistics of capital are based upon estimates which in the nature of the case are not very reliable.

The following table, taken from the Twelfth Census, Manufactures, part i., shows the rank of the various States and Territories in gross value of manufactures:

New York $2,175,726,900
Pennsylvania 1,834,790,860
Illinois 1,259,730,168
Massachusetts 1,035,198,989
Ohio 832,438,113
New Jersey 611,748,933
Missouri 385,492,784
Indiana 378,120,140
Wisconsin 360,818,942
Michigan 356,944,082
Connecticut 352,824,106
California 302,874,761
Minnesota 262,665,881
Maryland 242,552,990
Rhode Island 184,074,378
Kansas 172,129,398
Iowa 164,617,877
Kentucky 154,166,365
Nebraska 143,990,102
Virginia 132,172,910
Maine 127,361,485
Louisiana 121,181,683
Texas 119,414,982
New Hampshire 118,709,308
Tennessee 108,144,565
Georgia 106,654,527
Colorado 102,830,137
North Carolina 94,919,663
Washington 86,795,051
Alabama 80,741,449
West Virginia 74,838,330
South Carolina 58,748,731
Vermont 57,623,815
Montana 57,075,824
District of Columbia 47,667,622
Oregon 46,000,587
Delaware 45,387,630
Arkansas 45,197,731
Mississippi 40,431,386
Florida 36,810,243
Arizona 21,315,189
Utah 21,156,183
South Dakota 12,231,239
North Dakota 9,183,114
Oklahoma 7,083,938
New Mexico 5,605,795
Wyoming 4,301,240
Idaho 4,020,532
Nevada 1,643,675

The four States New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Massachusetts produce nearly one-half the manufactures of the United States. The greatest concentration of manufacturing industry is in southern New England and New York and eastern Pennsylvania. But there appears to be a general tendency toward extension of the area of manufactures.

The United States occupies at present the foremost rank as a manufacturing nation. The successive stages by which it has reached this position are illustrated by the following table, taken from the Twelfth Census, Manufactures, part i. (Mulhall's estimates):

Annual Value of Manufactures.


1820 1840 1880 1894





United Kingdom   $1,411,000,000   $1,833,000,000   $2,808,000,000   $4,263,000,000 
France 1,168,000,000  1,606,000,000  2,092,000,000  2,900,000,000 
Germany 900,000,000  1,484,000,000  1,995,000,000  3,357,000,000 
Austria 511,000,000  852,000,000  1,129,000,000  1,596,000,000 
United States 268,000,000  467,000,000  1,907,000,000  9,498,000,000 
Other States 1,654,000,000  2,516,000,000  3,455,000,000  5,236,000,000 

Bibliography. For the rise of manufactures in England, consult: Cunningham, Growth of English Industry (Cambridge, 1890-92), and Ashley, Economic History (London, 1888-93). For the growth of manufactures in America, consult: Wright, Industrial Evolution of the United States (New York, 1897), and Wells, Recent Economic Changes (New York, 1898). Consult also the several censuses of the United States, particularly the Twelfth Census, and Mulhall's Dictionary of Statistics (London, 1899), article “Manufactures.” See the separate articles on the various manufacturing industries, such as Cotton; Iron and Steel; Wool; etc., which contain an historical sketch and statistics for each industry.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Millions of dollars.