Factory - History

History

Max Weber considered production during ancient times as always strictly not warranting classification as factories, with methods of production and the contemporary economic situation incomparable to modern or even pre-modern developments of industry. In ancient times, the earliest production limited to the household, developed into a separate endeavour independent to the place of inhabitation with production at that time only beginning to be characteristic of industry, termed as "unfree shop industry", a situation caused especially under the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh, with slave employment and no differentiation of skills within the slave group comparable to modern definitions as division of labour.

According to translations of Demosthenes and Herodotus, Nancratis was a, or the only, factory in the entirety of ancient Egypt. A source of 1983 (Hopkins), states the largest factory production in ancient times was of 120 slaves within 4th century BC Athens. An article within the New York Times article dated October 13, 2011 states:

"In African Cave, Signs of an Ancient Paint Factory" - (John Noble Wilford )

... discovered at Blombos Cave, a cave on the south coast of South Africa where 100,000-year-old tools and ingredients were found with which early modern humans mixed an ochre-based paint.

Although The Cambridge Online Dictionary definition of factory states:

a building or set of buildings where large amounts of goods are made using machines

elsewhere:

... the utilization of machines presupposes social cooperation and the division of labour — von Mises

The first machine is stated by one source to have been traps used to assist with the capturing of animals, corresponding to the machine as a mechanism operating independently or with very little force by interaction from a human, with a capacity for use repeatedly with operation exactly the same on every occasion of functioning. The wheel was invented circa 3000 BC, the spoked wheel c.2000 BC. The Iron Age began approximately 1200-1000 BC.

Archaeology provides a date for the earliest city as 5000 BC as Tell Brak (Ur et al 2006), therefore a date for cooperation and factors of demand, by an increased community size and population to make something like factory level production a conceivable necessity.

According to one text the water-mill was first made in 555 by Belisarius, according to another they were known to Pliny the Elder and Vitruvius. By the time of th 4th century A.D. mills with a capacity to grind 3 tonnes of cereal an hour, a rate sufficient to meet the needs of 80,000 persons, were in use by the Roman Empire.

The Venice Arsenal provides one of the first examples of a factory in the modern sense of the word. Founded in 1104 in Venice, Republic of Venice, several hundred years before the Industrial Revolution, it mass-produced ships on assembly lines using manufactured parts. The Venice Arsenal apparently produced nearly one ship every day and, at its height, employed 16,000 people.

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