The Role of Transportation in the Industrial Revolution: A Comparison of England and France

By Rick Szostak | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN

Pottery

As Berg points out (1985, 40), almost all works on the Industrial Revolution concentrate on the textile and iron industries. The lack of research on other industries means that general works tend to deal only with those two, and into this trap I, like Berg, have fallen so far in this work. There is a special reason to be concerned that major parts of eighteenth-century industry have been ignored. Berg notes that less dramatic but still impressive increases in productivity occurred in a wide variety of sectors and she quotes McCloskey approvingly: "ordinary inventiveness was widespread in the British economy 1780 to 1860 ... the Industrial Revolution was not the age of cotton or of railways, or even of steam entirely; it was an age of improvement" (1985, 26). However, Berg recognizes that Crafts would disagree, maintaining that a small number of innovations in cotton and iron were the essence of technological change during the period. I discussed this criticism in the first chapter, and noted the importance of describing the breadth of technological innovation in late eighteenth-century England. This book has made headway in that direction: chapter 3 dealt with various innovations in the metal trades, coal mining, and the iron industry itself, and chapter 5 looked at innovations at various stages of production in wool, linen, and cotton. Still, it would be advantageous to show that the same phenomenon occurred in a totally different industry, and indeed, to show that my model can be applied to at least one industry outside of the iron and textiles complexes.

The overemphasis on iron and textiles is noticeable in the French as well as the English literature. The issue was taken up by Markovitch (1970), who maintained that this focus was due to a mistaken impression of the importance of various sectors in French industrial production. 1 For the I780s in France, he provided the following breakdown of industrial production (I have changed the order):

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The Role of Transportation in the Industrial Revolution: A Comparison of England and France
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Role of Transportation in the Industrial Revolution - A Comparison of England and France *
  • Contents *
  • Tables and Figures *
  • Preface *
  • Chapter One - Introduction *
  • Chapter Two - English and French Transport Compared *
  • Chapter Three - The English Iron Industry *
  • Chapter Four - The French Iron Industry *
  • Chapter Five - The English Textiles Industry *
  • Chapter Six - The French Textiles Industry *
  • Chapter Seven - Pottery *
  • Chapter Eight - Conclusion *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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