Industrial history

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Industry in the sense of professional manufacturing has existed for millennia, since the first cities rose.

Cottage industry[edit]

Main article: Cottage industry

A cottage industry (also called the Domestic system) is an industry – primarily manufacturing – which includes many producers, working from their homes, typically part-time. The term originally referred to homeworkers who were engaged in a task such as sewing or lace-making. Some industries which are usually operated from large centralized factories were cottage industries before the Industrial Revolution. The business operators would travel around, buying raw materials, delivering it to people who would work on them, and then collecting the finished goods to sell, or typically to ship to another market. One of the factors which allowed the industrial revolution to take place in Western Europe was the presence of these business people who had the ability to expand the scale of their operations. Cottage industries were very common in the time when a large proportion of the population was engaged in agriculture, because the farmers (and their families) often had both the time and the desire to earn additional income during the part of the year (Winter) when there was little farming work to do.


Main article: Guild

A development of pre-industrialized societies, guilds were associations of artisans within the same trade. In Europe during the middle ages, guilds provided a powerful influence on the political systems within towns and cities. New guild members were required to study under a master of the craft as an apprentice, then spent a period of time as a journeyman before becoming a master craftsman.

Medieval guilds held a monopoly of trade within the town in which they operated. During the eighteenth century, however, guilds came under increasing criticism for hindering free trade and technological development and transfer. However the guild system still continues to operate in some parts of the economy to this day.

Second industrial revolution[edit]

Labor force and unions[edit]

Main article: Trade union


Main article: Post-industrial