The Uneveness of Early Industrial Development

Walter Licht, “Paths: The Uneveness of Early Industrial Development,” Industrializing America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), pp. 21-45.
TERMS to know: mill, paternalism, outwork, piece-rate

1. What is the thesis of this chapter? What were the four “paths” of industrialization, according to Licht?

2. Who was Samuel Slater? How typical was his experience?

3. How did Slater attempt to solve the problem of a chronic shortage of laborers?

4. What were some of the characteristics of the mill village? How many were there? Where were they located? What kinds of products were made in mill villages?

5. Who were Francis Cabot Lowell and Nathan Appleton? Describe their enterprise and why it was pretty unique. How did they attempt to solve the problem of labor shortage? How did they fund their manufacturing businesses?

6. How did the industry of Lynn, Massachusetts, compare to the industry of Lowell? What role did machines play in each case?

7. What did the three men profiled in this section have in common? Where were they originally from? How trained?

8. What were the characteristics of industry in New York City, Philadelphia, or other big cities?

9. Why was cotton such an important product beginning in the early 1800s? How did industry in the southern states compare quantitatively to industry in the northern states? Why was the south generally behind in industrializing?

10. What were the advantages and disadvantages of using slave labor from the perspective of the industrial slaveowner?

11. Why does Walter Licht, the author, include the final section of this chapter (“The Varied Course and Causes of Industrialization”)? Why have people tried to figure out a “recipe” for industrialization based on looking at history?
John K. Brown, “The Locomotive Industry, 1860-1901,” Baldwin Locomotive Works, 1831-1915 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), pp. 28-56.

Note: The Baldwin Locomotive Works was a Philadelphia company, located on North Broad Street. The company, founded by Matthias Baldwin, opened its Broad Street factory in 1835.

1. Be able to give an overview of the growth of railroads c. 1850 to 1910. According to Brown, why weren’t more English locomotives imported to the United States?

2. Who made locomotives in the United States (the kinds of firms, a couple of names)? When was the Baldwin Company most dominant? Its percentage of the market?

3. What was the biggest challenge facing the manufacturers of locomotives in the 1800s? What does it mean to be a “capital equipment” maker? How are they affected by the business cycle? Their method of surviving a depression? The impact of the cycle on competition from “new entrants”? on marketing strategy?

4. What was the Baldwin Locomotive Works strategy for growth in the late 1800s? Why did its location in Philadelphia help?

5. What is “flexible production” in this context? Why did Baldwin develop it? Who bought Baldwin locomotives?

6. How did Baldwin’s competition survive? What was Baldwin’s preferred market share? Why not try to get a bigger share from its competitors?

7. What was collusion? How successful and frequent was this strategy among locomotive manufacturers?

8. What was Alco? Why, speculates Brown, didn’t Baldwin become a part of Alco in a “horizontal” merger?

9. Why and when did Baldwin go into decline?


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