Chapter 1: 1900 and Before 1:4. Hand tools vs power tools
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under construction 2-02-09
Tradesmen in the American colonies (that is, the Thirteen States still under British rule, before the Revolution), thought of themselves -- and were considered to be -- part of a rigid hierarchy composed of the same three grades of experience: Master Craftsmen, Journeymen, and Apprentices, the guild system, developed over many generations in Europe.
Dating back to ancient times, guilds originated in Europe. Guilds -- economic and trade associations of persons engaging in the same business or plying the same craft -- functioned to create control over that profession or trade, to set standards of workmanship and price, to protect the business from competition and to establish status in society for members of the guild.
The guild reflected the Medieval desire for an ordered society, aiming toward social stability. Each guild set the terms of its craft, forms of labor, standard of product, and methods of sale. All these matters were, nonetheless, subject to royal and national regulation, especially as these countries evolved into nations increasingly governed by laws. Ideally, relationships between the feudal ruler and the guilds was cooperative.
George Sturt The Wheelwright's Shop 1923 (reprinted many times), pages 56-61:Anyone interested in exploring further woodworking and the guild system in eras preceding the Renaissance has several accessible sources:
As a document of period craftsmanship, George Sturt's The Wheelwright's Shop is hard to beat. Although the book was first published in 1923, Sturt's shop itself was built in 1795 and then purchased in 1810 by his grandfather. Sturt himself assumed control of the business upon the death of his father in 1884, after only a month of training, and steered the shop into the Machine Age. Fortunately for us, Sturt has described its transformation with the eye of an informed but sensitive participant.
Descriptions of early woodcraft are often tinged with romanticism, and The Wheelwright's Shop is no exception. But Sturt's attachment to the waning craft era is mitigated by his frank portrait of its harsh realities.
Working days were long -12 to 14 hours was not uncommon -and conditions were often difficult. There was no machinery in the shop when Sturt took over apart from the great-wheel lathe, which buried the floor of the "lathe house" under a foot of chips. The grindstone stood outside beneath a walnut tree, and in the absence of a bandsaw or circular saw, the felloes were shaped with an ax and adz or were clamped to a bench and sawed with a frame saw. As in the Linnell shop, there was a sawpit on site for preparing lumber.
Within five years, Sturt introduced power to the shop in an effort to save his business. Years later, he noted wistfully that "...there in my old-fashioned shop the new machinery had almost forced its way in -- the thin end of the wedge of scientific engineering. And from the first day the machines began running, the use of axes and adzes disappeared from the well-known place, the saws and saw-pit became obsolete. We forgot what chips were like. There, in that one little spot, the ancient provincial life of England was put into a back seat.... `The Men,' though still my friends, as I fancied, became machine `hands."
The windows of Sturt's shop were merely shuttered openings, bolted at night and wide open to the elements during the day. "With so much chopping to do one could keep fairly warm," he writes, "but I have stood all aglow yet resenting the open windows, feeling my feet cold as ice though covered with chips. To supply some glass shutters for day-time was one of the first changes I made in the shop." Once the machinery had assumed the heavy work, he notes, "men would not and probably could not work at all in such a place; yet it must have sufficed for several generations. My grandfather and my father had put up with it, and so did I until the winter came round again......
Source: 1998: Scott Landis. The Workshop Book Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 1998. page 10
Learning The Craft Before the Woodwork Profession's First "Textbooks"
As is seen in Chapter_1-4_hand_vs_power_tools.htm, under the old guild system of woodworking, apprentices, as recruits to the woodworking profession, learned the craft by first working for several years under the tutelage of "masters". Under this system, textbooks are not needed. Step-by-step, woodworking skills are acquired slowly under the scrutiny a stern "master". Until a mastry of a particlur step was acquired, the apprentice would not move up to the next part of the craft. Textbooks as we know then today didn't need to exist. Why? Because the master is the "textbook", the vessel of all-knowledge. Apprentices acquire their skill in woodworking slowly by mastering, one by one, the different skills they needed to become competent journeymen.What happens when the Master disappears?
George Sturt Tells How a Master and the Apprentices Build a Wagon
Publisher's blurb for Google online book: This engaging study addresses the continuing controversy over industrialization, examining different perceptions of factories and factory work. Using varied such primary documents as sermons, medical treatises, fictional and visual representations, Robert Gray investigates the role of language in shaping the debate on factory reform, and relates conflicts over factory legislation to specific towns. The combination of regional, cultural and textual analysis makes this book an original contribution to the study of industrial Britain in the nineteenth century.
Source:Robert Gray Art, Ideology and PoliticsThe Factory Question and Industrial England, 1830-1860 Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2002
Decline of Guild System in America
As Europeans sailed across the Atlantic to make their fortunes in the New World -- the 1600s and 1700s -- the guild system followed. But the guild system found uninviting circumstances in colonial America. Unlike the tight system prevailing in European countries, with long histories, the undeveloped nation offered too many distractions, making it difficult for the guild system to gain the respect that it enjoyed in Europe.
The Evolving WorkplaceAmerica's passage in the nineteenth-century saw a rapid shift from what historians label "the household system" to "the factory system", a shift that became more rapid after the Civil War, and which lasted until 1920, when electrification and legislation under Progressivism made other major changes possible.
Following the economic downturns of 1819-21 and 1837-43, handicraft workshops grew larger, and by 1850, when some twenty to thirty men worked together, their guild or artisanal traditions were broken. With the introduction of production lines and power machinery, the need for a rigid training period declined. Instead, industries began employing children, and conditions of labor were not yet under rigid control.
Beginning in the 1820s, argues Bruce Laurie (page 42), economic forces -- inside and outside the building trades -- devalued skilled craftsmanship in urban housing construction. Prefabricated windows, doors, and other parts came first, but soon building contractors began constructing single homes or rows of tract housing and reduced the roles of craftsmen even further.
Master craftsmen became specialized framers or installers of precut parts. They moved from project to project. But, in the 1830s, their futures were jeopardized when balloon framing began.
The Sweating SystemTo increase profits, masters introduced the "sweating system," demanding greater productivity from skilled workers. By resorting to cheaper, labor the apprentice system broke down, as employers placed decreasing reliance on skill.
Cabinetmakers fell victim to the sweating system. Cabinetmakers could still be found in the 1850s – as described below -- similar to the building tradesmen, but their numbers were shrinking.
Anatomy of Craft Guilds
Guilds were composed of stages of skill: master craftsmen, journeymen craftsmen, and apprentices.
Masters, as proprietors of a business, did everything from waiting on customers to ordering supplies and raw materials and keeping the books, such as they were. Masters earned their rank by ?
They also laid out the work, supervised apprentices and other hirelings, and worked along with their employees.
Under a master's stewardship, as teenagers, apprentices ordinarily began their indentureship, expecting to spend three to seven years learning the "art and mystery" of their callings.
Apprenticeship is essentially a combination of education and industry. A process of learning by doing -- under which a minor is taught the art of a trade by one who is at the moment engaged in it -- the minor paying either in whole or in part for this instruction, by the work done on objects destined for either the master's personal use, or, to sell as part of his business.
Apprentices were bound to the masters they were accepted for, they paid a stipulated sum to the masters for training. Apprentices, journeymen-in-the-making, in turn, were for the first time entitled to a wage, even though they were paid only modest sums and did not expect to be permanent wage earners. In return, apprentices were given a bare living for a set number of years. (The amount paid and the length of time varied from craft to craft and one place to another.)
While the apprentices were strictly under the control of the masters, the conditions of control were set by custom and by guild regulation.
Given their age, 18 to 21, when insubordinate, they could expect to be reprimanded by their masters, but, in turn, be protected from external authority at all times.
These groupings were organized around family households, usually the master craftsman's home, a two-storied building, shops on ground floor -- on the street -- living quarters on second floor.
These youths possessed the invigorating promise that, in the future, they themselves would become proprietors. Between the ages of 18 and 21, apprentices expected promotion to journeymen rank, when, as a symbol of achieving manhood, they were given a suit of clothes, and -- most important --in recognition of their formal entry into the fraternity of the trade, a set of woodworking tools.
Selection from Bennett:
...In the days when the old apprenticeship system was most effective it was under the strict regulation of the guilds which were composed of master craftsmen, no journeyman or apprentice being admitted. In this respect they differed from the modern trade unions. When these guilds were gradually broken down by the development of the factory system, as they were in England, the regulating body of the apprenticeship system passed out also, for the British government was not prepared immediately to take their place in the way the Colonial governments had always done in America.
The decline of the old apprenticeship system was most marked during the last quarter of the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth century when labor-saving machinery developed rapidly, especially in the textile industries. But before the machinery era began there was a transition period when weaving began to be taken from the homes and housed in "manufactories." In New England, for example, a "manufactory" was merely a room or rooms "where several looms were gathered and where a place of business could be maintained." These looms, however, were not of the modern type and required no motive power other than that of the hands and feet of the weavers. The spinning of the yarn was still done by women in their homes and was delivered by them to the "manufactories."...
Selection from Monroe Cyclopedia of Education
... United States. - Since the term "apprentice" is loosely used to designate almost any shop learner or employee below the journeyman, it is important to point out that fundamental to true apprenticeship is the indenture, a legal instrument, in the terms of the laws of New York, " whereby a minor is bound out to serve as a clerk or servant in any trade, profession, or employment, or is apprenticed to learn the art or mystery of any trade or craft." An indenture implies mutual obligation of service in preparation for a definite occupation, and apprenticeship is therefore a sharply defined and strictly limited type of vocational education. The variations in the type are many; yet they may reasonably be classified into two main groups: the old apprenticeship, in which there were close personal and even domestic relations between master and apprentice, with little, if any, provision for definite education; and the new apprenticeship, in which the personal element has practically disappeared, but in which there is a continually growing emphasis upon both intensive and extensive training.
At no time has apprenticeship failed to have some footing in the United States. The old form, reaching its maximum in the early nineteenth century, steadily waned as the factory system grew, and, while still existent, has been of little importance since the Civil War. The new form, having its rise in the exigencies of certain industries, has been steadily making way, during the last fifty years, against indifference and prejudice, until to-day it finds itself one of the major means through which the fast growing demand for adequate vocational education seems likely to be metText with strong emphasis.
... The apprenticeship of colonial days and of the earlier years of the national existence was that of the Old World, and exhibited like advantages and evils. Among the advantages was the direct association of the inexperienced youth with the skilled master versed in his special trade and imparting all its practical details to the apprentice. Where the master was not only efficient, but conscientious, the apprentice doubtless secured the best possible acquaintance with the ramifications of the trade. Domestic intercourse with such a type of master was also of high educational value.
On the other hand, the length of the indenture - usually seven years, or until the apprentice came of age - was then, as it would be to-day, altogether too great. Consequently, a large part of the time of the apprentice was necessarily given to matters in no way connected with the industry itself. He was employed in sweeping out the shop, taking care of the horses and wagons, doing household chores, and running errands for all the members of the master's family. ...
Sources: Charles Alpheus Bennett, "The Development of School Substitutes for Apprenticeship" is the title of chapter viii, volume 1, in , History of Manual and Industrial Education Up to 1870 Peoria, IL: The Manual Arts Press, 1926. Almost forty pages explore such topics as "Apprenticeshop and Schooling" and "The Factory System and Its Effect upon Apprenticeship". In subsequent sections, Bennett looks at "The Land Grant Act of 1862", and "Art Education in Relation to Industry". While dated, its generous coverage of "Apprenticeship and Education" makes the article in Paul Monroe's Cyclopedia of Education New York: Macmillan, 1911, volume 2, pages 149-161, ideal for a "quick" overview.
Journeymen: Movement Through the Three Ranks Was Not a GivenThe third class of the guild, journeymen -- men who had finished their training as apprentices, but who had not attained the status of masters. The stumbling block: the number of masters was limited.
Ideally, journeymen were masters-in-the-making, busily accumulating the skills, the resources, needed to set up their own shops.
Once under a master, journeymen could expect room, board, and other necessities. Journeymen shared workbenches with other journeymen, and perhaps an apprentice.
Before electric tools were introduced -- after the Civil War -- journeymen used an array of hand tools that had evolved over several generations of woodworking in the guilds.
Journeymen prided themselves in their masterly of most -- if not all -- skills needed to create an object in in their specialty, like a Windsor chair, or a wagon wheel.
Anchor contentThe Era of the Factory System Begins: The Shift From "The Household System" To "The Factory System"
America's passage in the nineteenth century saw a shift from what historians label "the household system" to "the factory system", a shift that became more rapid after the Civil War, and lasting until 1920, when electrification and legislation under Progressivism made other major changes possible.
The definition -- given above of apprenticeship as an institution -- served was the chief means of trade education until the advent of the machine era.
Apprenticeship ceased when child labor degenerated from education to routine. Since now the shop no longer trains the child worker, other agencies must be created to assume the responsibility.
However, as early as the 1780s -- even as they continued to provide them with food and shelter -- masters fudged on their traditional guild obligations to apprentices.
As they enlisted young trainee apprentices into their operations, by design, according to Bruce Laurie ( page 36 – Laurie citation in Sources section, at bottom of this page), masters deliberately employed evasive self-serving strategies; rather than beginning to impart to newly recruited apprentices the multi-layered craft skills of woodworking, masters, basically, masters treated apprentices as sources of cheap labor.
Not unexpectedly, such stratagems by the master class were not exclusively one-directional. Even among youthful, untrained apprentices, the notion of "freedom" prevailed, and they departed for what they considered more fruitful opportunities.
For their part, apprentices were unafraid to depart the confines of their apprenticeship, even with a bare, rudimentary, knowledge of the craft.
The impact of this flight of apprentices upset the ratio of journeymen to masters, to the point where, by the end of the 1790s -- that is, the post-Revolutionary era -- there were three to six times as many journeymen as masters in Boston and perhaps even a greater proportion in Middle Atlantic cities. [need more documentation]
This Chart -- With the Hour-Glass -- Captures the Idea of an Evolving Workplace
Conditions and traditions in this workplace setting were evolving. According to the American social historian, Bruce Laurie, concentrated in two fifteen-year-long eras, each following the downturns of 1819-21 and 1837-43, handicraft workshops necessarily accommodated to changing traditions: Shops grew larger, and by 1850, when some twenty to thirty men worked together, their guild or artisanal traditions were broken.
With production lines and power machinery, the need for a rigid training period declined.
Instead, industries began employing children, and conditions of labor were not yet under rigid control.
(Remember, the apprentice differs from the ordinary child laborer in that he, the apprentice, not only works for his master but receives instruction in his trade.)
Balloon Framing and Other Innovations in Building Construction Devalues Role of Craftsmen
Beginning in the 1820s, Bruce Laurie argues (page 42), economic forces -- inside and outside the building trades -- devalued skilled craftsmanship in urban housing construction. Prefabricated windows, doors, and other parts -- traditionally made and fitted by skilled carpenters on construction sites -- came first.
Not long afterwards, "on speculation", building contractors, began constructing single homes or rows of tract housing, helped reduce even further the roles of craftsmen.
According to Laurie, contractors "let out contracts to the lowest bidders in the various crafts, which triggered a competitive war and search for cheaper labor among master craftsmen.
Impact of Woodworth PlanerThe Woodworth Planer Even today, carpentry remains relatively unmechanized technology. (Relatively unmechanized, if you don't count air nailers and cordless tools, includidng onsite contractors saws.) At building sites, carpenters dimension components of houses and other structures -- already manufactured at uniform sizes -- to fit the particular project, sawing and nailing sheets and/or boards into places created by ballon framing.
But, before the planers of the early nineteenth century, carpenters themselves prepared the boards for walls and floors, by hand planing them. also, In particular they had to plane floorboards to a uniform thickness if they were to lie evenly on the joists of a house. To strenthen floors and walls, carpenters "tongued and grooved" the edges of boards, so that boards interlocked. These operations were achieved Jack and Trying planes, for dimensioning and smoothing the boards, and Rabbetting planes for tonguing and grooving. Click here for more.
For these operations, master carpenters were assisted by his journeymen and apprentices.
With a hand plane, a really energetic journeyman carpenter working flat out was estimated in 1833 to be able to plane, tongue, and groove twenty-five boards a day, each, say, 12 1/2 feet long and 9 inches wide. At that rate, to prepare the floorboards for a small, one-and-a-half-story house, only one room deep, would take him seven days at ten hours a day constant and vigorous labor.
Source: Gregory Clancey, "The Cylinder Planning Machine and the Mechanization of Carpentry in New England, 1828-1856" (master's thesis, Boston University, 1987), page 209; Carolyn Cooper 1994. To save precious good-weather summer time for on-site construction, a carpenter able to spare the storage space and investment might attempt to stock up on planed, tongued, and grooved floorboards in advance, by preparing them during the winter, the slack season for construction.
In the 1830s in Philadelphia, two men running a Woodworth planing machine would be able to do that same job in 1/4 hours. Since carpenters no longer needed to prepare their own floorboards long in advance for a job, but could take them from a lumberyard to a planing mill and get them back to the house site the same day. [Cooper notes that these figures are adapted from Gregory Clancey, who compared "planing machine output time for 1830s and for a later, faster machine in "Cylinder Planing Machine".] In other words, a planer-matcher did in fifteen minutes what a man with hand planes could do in a day. Furthermore, incremental improvement in the construction of Woodworth planers soon more than doubled their output from an advertised 625 - 1,250 board feet per hour in 1839 to 3,000 feet per hour by 1849. Such dramatic technological change in the ease and speed of constructing wooden floors was sure to have far-reaching effects not only on carpenters but on nearly everyone, for nearly everyone wanted a house with wooden floors. After twenty years' experience, Woodworth's planer was hailed in Congress in 185o as "next to Whitney's cotton gin.. . the greatest labor-saving invention which has been produced in this country." Source: As cited by Carolyn C Cooper: Advertisements by Samuel B. Schenck and John Gibson in Warshaw Collection, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.; Committee 0n Patents and the Patent Office, 31st Congress, 1st Session., House Reports Report 150, on House Resolution 168 to extend the Woodworth patent for 14 years, Mar. i2, 1850, Legislative Records, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
The upshotNot unlike conditions today, Master craftsmen became specialized framers or installers of precut parts. On a given project, when their tasks were done, they yielded to other specialists. They moved from project to project. Their skill and judgment were still demanded, framers had to cut, notch, and join huge timbers.
But, in the 1830s, their futures were jeopardized when balloon framing began.
A method for making building construction more efficient, balloon framing is a method introduced by George Snow – for a warehouse in Chicago -- in 1832.
Sources:See Paul E. Sprague, "The Origin of Balloon Framing,"Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 40 No 4 December 1981, pages 311-19. (After some confusion – dating back to the 1940s -- Sprague verified that the inventor was George Snow, and not Augustine Taylor.) The most comprehensive discussion of the history and technology of ballon frame construction is Fred W. Peterson, Homes in the Heartland: Balloon Frame Farmhouses of the Upper (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1992) Briefly, as shown on the left, balloon framing -- a method of constructing supporting walls in buildings -- features long framing components (i.e., studs -- 2 X 4s, 2 X 6s), running from the foundation to the rafter plate. [ Willis Wagner, Modern CarpentrySouth Holland, IL: Goodheart-Willcox, 1976,pages 144-115; Wagner is not online, but see this 1917 framing manual.]
Journeymen Cabinetmakers Also Drawn Into the "Sweating System"Throughout the Northeast, guild handicraft production was in decline. Cabinetmakers -- all-around journeymen, famously capable of turning rough-cut timber into elegant furniture – had fallen victim to the sweating system. To increase profits, masters had introduced the "sweating system," where they demanded greater productivity from skilled workers.
Under the sweating system, employers placed decreasing reliance on skill. Employers instead turned to cheaper labor -- prisoners, women, children, the unskilled. This action fractured the apprentice system beyond repair.
More and more, furniture makers worked in garret-like shops on single lines of goods for wholesalers, in a process best described as a non-mechanized assembly line. Some cut out the parts, usually by hand, but increasingly on steam-powered saws, and then these parts were assembled by another team, and later, finished by still another.
Emergence of the "New Factory" System Marks Sharp Decline of Apprenticeships, a Further Decline a Need for Craft SkillsIn the half-century following the Civil War, the number and the percentage of Americans involved in nonagricultural pursuits expanded rapidly. The greatest shift occurred transportation, manufacturing, and trade and distribution.
With the expansion of railroad and telegraph systems, the speed, the volume, and the regularity of shipments and communications increased significantly, in effect, transforming the production and distribution of goods. In agriculture, this transformation included the emergence of the grain elevators, the cotton presses, the warehouses, and the commodity exchanges. The "new factory system" transformed manufacturing. Plants became larger, more complex, and more systematically organized and managed.
And in distribution, the transformation was marked by the emergence of the jobber, the wholesaler, and the mass retailer. Overall, between 1870 and 1920, as shown by the statistics, the nature of work shifted significantly. American wage earners in manufacturing rose from 2.7 million in 1880, to 4.5 million in 1900, to 8.4 million in 1920. The numbers of huge plants -- like the Baldwin Locomotive works in Philadelphia or the McCormick Reaper works in Chicago -- burgeoned.
The numbers of employees of these manufacturers increased steadily: the Baldwin works had 600 employees in 1855, 3,000 in 1875, and 8,000 in 1900; the McCormick works had 150 employees in 1850, 4,000 in 1900, and 15,000 in 1916.
Charles Cist's 1851 Sketches and Survey of Cincinnati
One of the most commodious, as well as extensive factories in Cincinnati, is that of George W. Coddington, on Vine, between Front and Second streets. Having been built for the express purpose of carrying on the business, nothing can surpass the convenience and efficacy of its machinery and arrangements. The factory is forty-six by ninety feet on the ground, and six stories in height.
The machinery of this establishment is propelled by two steamengines, each of twenty horse power.
These drive four ripping, and seven circular saws, twenty-five cutters, two mortising, three boring, three planing, and twelve turning machines.
One of these saws, which is concave, is a Cincinnati invention, of great ingenuity, and singularly well adapted to its purpose; which is to cut out the chair tops in circular form and equal thickness.
This factory has made as many as one hundred and eighty thousand chairs, yearly.
These are principally low and medium-priced articles, although cane-seat and rocking-chairs, are made to a considerable extent. The prices range from four dollars twenty-five cents, to twenty-two dollars, and average eight dollars per dozen; just such chairs may be bought here, at five dollars per dozen, as were bought, twelve or fifteen years ago, at sixteen dollars. Such is the economy and power of machinery.
All the painting and gilding to the chairs, is done on the premises. The gilding of the finer qualities, is of the highest style of finish and ornament.
The principal market for these chairs, is in the south and southwest, although they find customers throughout the west and the north-west. In the south they have entirely driven out the eastern article, their quality and price rendering them more acceptable.
There are at times as high as one hundred and eighty hands employed in the factory; and its annual product, in value, one hundred and twenty thousand dollars. In other articles, reference has been made to the benefit of machinery to the interests of the working-man, in taking the roughest and hardest of the ripping and planing out of his hands, and leaving to him only those delicate operations, which give play to the exercise of skill and judgment.
It may be added, on the same subject, that the low prices at which machinery permits articles to be sold, so increases the quantity made, that more hands are now needed in these factories, than found employment under the old order of things, and at an average of better wages than heretofore.
Sources: Cist, Charles, Sketches and statistics of Cincinnati in 1851 Cincinnati W. H. Moore & co., 1851, page 206. (reprint of Cist's book);Donald C. Peirce, "Mitchell and Rammelsberg: Cincinnati Furniture Manufacturers 1847-1881", Winterthur Portfolio, Volume 13, 1979 page 209, note 1.
Charles Cist, editor, born in Philadelphia, PA., 24 April, 1793; died in Cincinnati, Ohio, 8 Sept., 1868, was educated in Philadelphia, and during the war of 1812 was engaged in garrison duty in the eastern forts. After the war he settled in Pittsburg, Pa., and a few years later removed to Harmony. Pa., where he opened a store, and was for a time postmaster.
During the winter of 1827-8 he removed to Cincinnati, where he opened and superintended the first Sunday-school in Cincinnati, and continued it until it grew beyond his control, when it was divided among the churches.
Mr. Cist was also one of the most earnest workers for the success of the free-school system.
In 1843 he established The Western Weekly Advertiser a family journal devoted to the early Indian history of the west, and to statistics relating to Cincinnati and the state of Ohio. A few years later the name became " Cist's Weekly Advertiser" and it was continued until 1853. He prepared and published Cincinnati in 1841, Cincinnati in 1851 and "Cincinnati in 1859 and " The Cincinnati Miscellany, (2 vols., 1846), the latter composed largely of incidents in the early settlements, with many of his own writings. link to bio
Below, in the words of ASME member, Harry Gimp, we get a glimpse of the impact of the industrialization of classical furniture making:
Modern methods of manufacturing classical furniture eliminate nearly all hand operations. They are simplified by the use of the "rod" drawn on basswood to full size, from which measurements are taken by workmen for the construction of each piece of as suit. In this paper the author describes a process for preparing and drying lumber through various machine operations from the start to the completed furniture, preparatory to shipment: Classical furniture is a high-grade type decorated to conform with the various style names such as Chippendale, Queen Anne, William and Mary, etc. It is, therefore, cannot be dimensioned on drawings conveniently, it is the practice to draw the designs to full scale on thin basswood. These sheets are called rods and usually include three compact diagrams to show the piece in plan, side elevation, and end views. The rod is thus a long narrow board with the design drawn in pencil, after which it is shellacked. The designs are sketched to full scale by designers and draftsmen to determine the relative proportions sad intricate details of the design. They include turnings, carved ornamentation, profiles of moldings, etc. Drawings of this type also include the complete interior assembly or construction of the entire individual design. ... In New York City, there are more plants of this kind than in any other section. In the old days beautiful furniture was hand made, but now mass production has changed matters, and use of modern mechanical equipment eliminates hand work, excepting some hand carving, sending, and assembly operations.
The personnel of a modern classical-furniture manufacturing plant now includes artisans in design, chemists for wood preparation and finishing, machine mechanics, cabinet makers, hand carvers, veneer laminators, competent production engineers for systemizing the highly developed productive machinery, and others.
As many of the designs include ornamentation that the cutting department by means of stock sheets. These have a complete listing of material and aim as obtained from the rod. The stock sheet accompanies cut stock through the machine debdepartments; in some instances the information is transferred to Stock tags, blue prints, or similar forms....
Source: Harry Kimp, "Modern Method of Manufacturing Classical Furniture", Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 52 1930, pages 5-9 ( Harry Kimp was a Designer at the Chesterfield Furniture Company, New York, and his paper was given to the Wood Industries Division, at the Annual Meeting, New York N. Y., Dec. 2 to 6, 1929, of The American Society or Mechanical Engineers.)
By 1920, in America's northeast -- where most of the nation's manufacturing wage earners were concentrated -- three-quarters of the wage earners worked in factories with over 100 employees, 30 percent in factories with over 1,000 employees.
Of course, small shops continued to exist, where skilled craftsmen created many products, from newspapers to furniture and cabinets to plumbing fixtures.
Sadly, too, sweatshops existed, primarily in city tenements in household settings -- where, on a piecework economy, men, women, and children assembled commodities, like clothing or cigars.
And there were factories in fields such as metalwork where individual contractors and subcontractors presided over what were essentially handicraft proprietorships that co- existed within a single building.
Within this rapid industrialization, changes that occurred in the apprenticeship system since the 1840's and 1850's accelerated.
In some of the traditional trades that had been only moderately affected by the new technology -- printing, for example, or plumbing, or bricklaying, or carpentry -- apprenticeship, backed by strong craft unions, remained the leading threshold into the work.
But the apprenticeships tended to be informal -- only a small percentage involved formal indentureship – nor was teaching systematic, the result being that statistics on apprenticeship was hardly ever reported.
In other industries, such as textiles industry, operatives in the mills could learn the few simple skills they needed to operate and tend the machines on the job in a matter of days, since the 1840s and 1850s no formal apprenticeships existed.
In other domains like shoemaking factories -- a craft now mechanized -- workers no longer needed the complex skills associated with the craft; instead, they easily acquired the necessary, but simpler, skills associated with machine tending.
After 1870, for at least a half century, in the main, two forces -- (1) a combination of coal and electric power, technological innovation, and (2) the rationalization of production and management -- rendered traditional craft skills obsolete.
The transformation occurred first in textiles and shoemaking, next in liquor distilling, cigarette making, watchmaking, glassmaking, flour milling, and automobile manufacture.
In these industries, in effect, machines replaced the need for worker's craft skills, that is, the ability of the workers to perform highly specialized tasks in production.
By the turn of the century a widespread perception existed that apprenticeship as traditionally conceived and practiced was in its life's last throes.
This perception recognized that, in comparison with the rapid increase in the overall number of persons involved in manufacturing, the number of apprenticeships had climbed only modestly.
The growing specialization of labor sharply reduced the proportion of factory operatives who needed to have overall knowledge of the productive process.
Apprenticeship, increasingly, was viewed by most as unprofitable, by the employers who paid for it, the workers who did the teaching, the parents of the youngsters who served as apprentices, and the young recruits themselves.
On top of the call for an end to apprenticeship, proponents of vocational schools argued that apprenticeship was inefficient, exploitative, that no longer was it possible to justify vocational education in the workplace.11 [online also on drive F 11. Paul H. Douglas, American Apprenticeship and Industrial Education (New York: privately published, 1921), p. 74; and Historical Statistics of the United States, I, 138, 143.]
Particularly after the organization of the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education in 1906, the vocational school gained increasing support in the education community as the ideal agency to prepare young people for work.
But there were those who continued to point to the strengths of properly conducted apprenticeships.
one such individual was Carroll D. Wright, president of Clark College at Worcester. Wright readily conceded the inadequacies of what he called "the old apprenticeship system": it was exploitative, in that it held young people at substandard wages long after they had learned what they needed to know to do a journeyman's job; and it was inefficient, in that it trained young people for specific skills but conveyed none of the theory underlying those skills and hence left them unprepared to find meaning in their work or to cope with technological change.
But Wright was equally ready to argue the ineffectiveness of the vocational school: it conveyed some of the theory needed by young workers and it made a respectable beginning at teaching some of the required skills; but under no circumstances could it prepare full-fledged workers prepared to take up a trade.
What was needed, Wright claimed, was "an enlightened, coordinated system that shall secure all that can be gained from the apprenticeship system and all that can be gained from modern schools for trades and industrial education generally."12 [12. Carroll D. Wright, "The Apprenticeship System as a Means of Promoting Industrial Efficiency," in National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education, Bulletin No. 5 (New York: National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education, 1908), p. 31.]
Revisionist View of Woodworking Industry in Factory System
We are indebted to Polly Anne Earl and other material culture scholars for pointing out that numerous myths exist about the woodworking industry in the so-called factory system. The system was not as fully electrified as many claimed; foot-powered tools were used quite widely. Many of our images of the craftsman in wood in the nineteenth century, are, according Earl, overly romanticized. (Source: Polly Anne Earl, "Craftsmen And Machines: The Nineteenth-Century Furniture Industry" in Ian M G Quimby, and Polly Anne Earl, eds., STRONG>Technological Innovation and the Decorative Arts , Charlottesville, University of Virginia Press, 1973, pages 307-329
Earl argues that much of the woodworking machinery which Americans used was not as capital intensive as has been commonly presumed.
Often machines were hand-powered, simple and inexpensive, if not completely jerry-rigged. Today, our notion of the craftsman of old -- that is, before the ruination in the popular mind of the of power woodworking tools that came with the Industrial Revolution -- might resemble this: he worked with his hands to fashion works of art. But, this concept of the craftsman evidently is not true. Calling this image a "romantic-filter", a lens through which we visualize the artisans and treasured objects created before the era of power woodworking machines, the material culture scholar, Polly Anne Earls argues that this picture of the craftsman is rooted in a nostalgia that recalls a seemingly simpler time, before the impact(s) of the industrial revolution, such as air pollution caused by smoke from coal spewing out of factories, before railroads, steam power, intimidating machines, and -- most significant -- the social, economic problems that emanated out of these technological innovations.
Instead, she argues the we need to look more critically at the past and discover that many of the "truths" of craftsmanship are not what as true as they may seem, just as many of our truisms about the industrial revolution are suspect. As proof, Earls points to historical records that show the transition from hand to machine is complex.
Part of our definition of craft work is derived from generalizations about the economic characteristics of early American businesses. Following this sense, far from being individualistic proprietors of simple firms, we discover that in general master craftsmen, especially in cities, needed a command not just their "craft", but business operations as well. Earl's examples: To survive in early American commerce trade and finance, the likes of Duncan Phyfe depended not on their woodworking skills, but their business skills. Producing furniture by hand in this era meant an necessary acumen for organizing and promoting their products, managing supplies and contracts, meeting delivery dates and insurance.
Sources: (Using Google Scholar -- and the search string that includes these terms: "polly anne earl", "furniture industry" and "history" -- yields over 20 "hits" i.e., articles and books, altogether two pages of citations. The key: every citation located by Google Scholar cites the base study, Polly Anne Earl, "Craftsmen And Machines: The Nineteenth-Century Furniture Industry" in Ian M G Quimby, and Polly Anne Earl, eds., Technological Innovation and the Decorative Arts Charlottesville, University of Virginia Press, 1973, pages 307-329, meaning that the scholarship is based on the tradition that Earl created in 1973.
In 1973, Earl herself cites the following studies exploring the entrereneurship of master craftsamen in the furniture industry between 1850 and 1920: Nancy McClelland, Duncan Phyfe and the English Regency New York: William R. Scott, 1939; Charles Cornelius, Furniture Masterpieces of Duncan Phyfe New York: Doubleday, Page Co., 1922; information on late eighteenth-century furniture trade between the North and the South is in Katherine W. Gross's thesis,The Sources of Furniture Sold in Savannah: 1789-1815 Newark: University of Delaware, 1967; for cabinetmaker problems with wholesalers and for the large amount of subcontracting between craftsmen, see Kathleen M. Catalano's thesis, Cabinetmaking in Philadelphia: 1820-1840 Newark: University of Delaware, 1972); and Nancy A. Goyne, "Francis Trumbull of Philadelphia: Windsor Chair and Cabinetmaker", Winterthur Portfolio 1 (1964): 221-41.
Defining "Craftsmanship"Even if the craftsman is accepted as an entrepreneur, craftsmanship is still viewed as the mastery of hand skills and hand processes. According to this approach, craftsmanship ended abruptly with the introduction of machinery.
A revisionist view is offered by David Pye, an English historian of design. Pye proposes a somewhat different viewpoint. Pye defines craftsmanship as "workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgement, dexterity, and care which the maker exercises as he works."This definition liberates the idea of craftsmanship from the strictures of historical time and economic organization and focuses on the central problem of process. To Pye, craftsmanship, whether hand or machine processes are involved, is the "workmanship of risk" and its antithesis, automation, is the "workmanship of certainty." Yet from the beginning of productive work, men have sought to introduce elements of certainty in their techniques. For instance, printing, as Pye has pointed out, is a process whose results are at least partially predetermined. In a similar manner the adze is a hand tool that is "partly self-jigging" because each stroke follows the plane of the previous stroke. Any die or jig or pattern used in a process is an example of development toward a workmanship of certainty, and dies, jigs, and patterns were used from very early times in all kinds of decorative arts processes.
Sources: David Pye, The Nature and Art of Workmanship (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1968), page 4.
From this point of view the distinction between hand and machine labor in craftsmanship, while it may have social implications, is not a rigid line in a technical sense.[ David Pye, The Nature and Art of Workmanship(Cambridge: At the University Press, 1968), pages 4, 6, 18, 1C.
To determine the parameters of craftsmanship in the nineteenth century, we need an investigation of the relationship between the craftsman and the machine. We need information on the kinds of machines used, when they were introduced, and how they were employed. Only this view of technology from the inside out will yield an understanding of the relationships between process and product, between new capabilities and new designs and forms. Too often this kind of specific information about processes is unavailable. Chauvinistic boosters of America wrote at great length in the nineteenth century about the glories of mass production achieved through the introduction of machinery, but usually they had limited practical knowledge of how this machinery operated.
Sources: For an example of the patriotic approach to technologic innovation, see Horace Greeley et al., Great Industries of the United States Hartford: J. B. Burr Hyde Co., 1872; Eighty Years Progress of the United States . . . by Eminent Literary Men New York: New National Publishing House, 1864/ A modern, popular example of the same genre is The Editors of Life, America's Arts and Skills New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1957.
And since mechanics and artisans only rarely recorded their work experiences, we are left with few reliable sources as to how work was actually organized, how the subdivision of labor evolved, and how new machinery was actually integrated into productive processes. Some general information is available in technical dictionaries and artisans' handbooks that can be combined with the manuscript returns for the census of industry after 1850, which do provide listings of machinery and power used. Several foreign observers singled out woodworking as an area of the American superiority in the application of new machines. The early furniture industry, in particular, gives us an excellent vantage point for assessing the impact of the introduction of power woodworking machinery. According to furniture historians, by 1840, with a rapidly expanding market, a definite change had occurred: from individual assembly of furniture to the mass production of parts, where in many instances. these parts were cut and shaped with lathes and scroll saws powered by steam-driven machines. For example, Thomas H. Ormsbee, Early American Furniture Makers: A Social and Biographical StudyNew York: Tudor, 1930, page 89 dates the end of the era of handwork at 1850.
Sources : As Earl notes, between 1850 and 1870 information was listed in the Census of Industry by these categories: name, occupation, capital, power (and machinery in 1870), number of employees, wages, quantities types, and values of raw materials, and quantities, types, and values of products. Nathan Rosenberg, ed., The American System of Manufactures: The Report of the Committee on the Machinery of the United States 1855, and the Special Reports of Press, 1969), pages 27, 58, 167, 169-71, 344, 346; the Metropolitan Museum of Art'sNineteenth-Century America: Furniture and Other Decorative Arts New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1971), page xiv; Usually the introduction of power-mechanized processes is associated by furniture historians with the popularity in the 1830s and 1840s of the pillar and scroll style. And often the pillar and scroll style is linked with the adoption of the band saw, which Robert Bishop says was in common use by 1840.
Sources : Celia Jackson Otto, "Pillar and Scroll: Greek Revival Furniture of the 1830s," Antiques 81, no. 5 May 1962, page 507; Robert Bishop, Centuries and Styles of the American Chair 1640-1970 New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1972, pages 313, 315. The American source for pillar and scroll designs was John Hall, The Cabinetmaker's Assistant Baltimore: by the author, 1840.
Woodworking as Cottage IndustrySources: [under construction] Edwin T. Freedley's Leading Pursuits and Leading Men 1854 drop this citation -- contains nothing on woodworking as cottage industry
[material below is adapted from Allen Henderson Eaton Handicrafts of New England New York: Harper, 1949, pages 10 - 12; Polly Anne Earl, "Craftsmen and Machines: The Nineteenth- Century Furniture Industry", in Ian M G Quimby and Polly Anne Earl, eds., Technological Innovation and the Decorative Arts, Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1973, pages 307-329.)
In the 19th century, common sense tells you, woodworking done outside the realm of the master-journeyman-apprentice level, outlined above, was driven by necessity, especially in rural and village settings.
Economics -- coupled with geography and limited transportation -- for one, limited vast numbers of the basically-rural American populations to the creation of furniture and other similar objects they needed for day-to-day living. These operations were carried on mainly in farm and village homes -- the "back country" -- a culture that is captured for the popular mind by Eric Sloane's A Museum of Early American Tools New York: Ballantine Books, 1964, and Edwin R Tunis' Frontier Living 2000 [Polly Anne Earl, "CRAFTSMEN AND MACHINES: THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY FURNITURE INDUSTRY", in Ian M G Quimby and Polly Anne Earl, eds., Technological Innovation and the Decorative Arts, Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1973, pages 307-329:
The notion of craftsmanship is a kind of romantic filter through which the artisans and material remains of our past are often viewed. The craftsman is usually seen as an independent, quasi-artist using hand skills to produce objects that combine a useful function with artistic merit. The handicrafts and other small industries organized by the original colonists -- and sustained by the generations that followed -- formed the economic base created the conditions necessary for survival, but, as we now know, became an economic engine that flourished. After the victory of 1776, when commerce was cut off from England, the newly independent colonies -- except through their handicrafts -- had no way of supplying most of their needs or "household manufactures," as they were accurately called. To encourage these activities associated with handicrafts, the colonists passed ordinances and laws, imposed fines and punishments, and provided rewards to prevent waste and to induce thrift and production.
[checking Ronald Schultz "The Small Producer Tradition..." 1990; -- ordered schultz book, 3-29-08. w j rorabaugh, the craft apprentince: from franklin to the machine age in america, new york, 1986; Bruce Laurie, Artisans into Workers: labor in 19th century America, 1989; see pages 36+] significance of "George Washington's Suit":
The variety of industries carried on in the home ranged from the making of many types of textiles to the making of iron nails. The household manufactures enumerated in Hamilton's famous Report on Manufactures in 1791 was to the people of his time a prosaic list of handicrafts made at home; to us it is an eloquent explanation of why and how the colonists were able to achieve and maintain their freedom. It is not to be understood that New England was alone in this; indeed, other colonies met the problems in the same way. [wikipedia entry ]
Allen Henderson Eaton on Hamilton Report
As the noted chronicler of American handicrafts, Allen Henderson Eaton, argues, the restoration of George Washington's home in Mount Vernon [date] gives a vivid and reminiscent picture of how nearly everything needful for the support of life was produced in his day around the great estate. (for details about restoration of Mount Vernon, see chapter xxi.) Here were all the facilities for making fabrics of cotton, linen, or wool, and until after the American Revolution the cloth for much of the clothing for Washington and his family and all of it for his workers was made on the home place. Broadly speaking, this was true of the Virginia colony and the other colonies as well.
But it was a proud day for industrial America, says Ella Shannon Bowles (1886 - 1975) in Homespun Handicrafts, when, on delivering his first address to Congress in 1790, President Washington wore a suit made of broadcloth from the woolen factory of Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth of Hartford, Connecticut, where all the processes had been performed in the factory except the spinning. Spinning was done in the homes on single wheels. Soon even spinning was done in mills. New England was the leader in the movement that resulted first in factory-made cloth being supplied to people to be made up at home, later in its being converted into factory. made clothing and other marketable articles. Ultimately New England became one of the most highly industrialized sectins of our country.
In the collections of old tools and machinery in which New England is rich one may see much evidence of inventiveness. From the earliest settlements everything that could be changed into a better tool or machine was worked on. In scores of instances the hand product of some countryman or villager was of such worth that a small business was built around it and in time, through Yankee ingenuity and organization, this handicraft beginning developed into a great industry. In the early days of the United States Patent Office, in proportion to population, more patents were issued to inventors in New England than in any other part of our country. Source: Allen Henderson Eaton, Handicrafts of New England New York: Harper, 1949, page 11
Following the War for Independence, the shift of manufacture from farm to factory emerged, eroding slowly a two-century tradition.
From 1620 to 1820, New England was in what is now called the "handicraft" stage. Around 1820, along rivers and streams capable of developing water power, small factories sprang up. These enterprises included weaving and spinning mills, tanneries, forges, grist- and sawmills.
The decline of rural handicrafts, corresponding to the rise of industrialized society, was perceived as a cause for concern by many designers and social reformers who feared the loss of traditional skills and creativity.
The increase in factory-made goods became especially marked at the turn of the nineteenth century, and after the Civil War the corresponding decline in handicrafts was pronounced. The "back country," however, was an exception for here many thrifty New Englanders have always made, and still make, tools, implements, and farming and fishing equipment in order to save a little or to get something better than they can afford to buy. Changes from water power to steam, and toward the end of the century to electric power, and the invention of many new machines, together with abundant labor, much of it from Europe, brought on a period of great industrial expansion, accompanied by the appearance on the market of many poorly designed and cheaply made goods. At this point, a reaction set in against these often inferior articles of mass production.
It was in the closing years of the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century that a new voice was heard, at first in tones of inquiry and then of protest, coming across the sea from England?a voice which ushered in what was known there, and later here, as the Arts and Crafts Movement. This was the first effective challenge to mechanized and mass production in our country. It raised the question with which this book is primarily concerned: Is mechanized and mass production to be accepted as the sole method of meeting man's wants and needs; or is there to be a place in our economy and in our culture for hand production or handicrafts? The beginning of the answer to this question will be found in the following chapter.
Source: Allen Henderson Eaton Handicrafts of New England New York: Harper, 1949. (Allen Henderson Eaton is a legend in supporting and chronicling the handicraft movement in America. Only recently, though, did I discover Eaton, something for which I blame my personal "myopia". I shall try to rectify this neglect of such an important source of background on the handicraft movement.)
Eric Sloane The Museum of Early American Tools 1964
Finding an ancient tool in a stone fence or in a dark corner of some decaying barn is receiving a symbol from another world, for it gives you a particular and interesting contact with the past. Men used to build and create as much for future generations as for their own needs, so their tools have a special message for us and our time. When you hold an early implement, when you close your hand over the worn wooden handle, you know exactly how it felt to the craftsman whose hand had smoothed it to its rich patina. In that instant you are as close to that craftsman as you can be even closer than if you live in the house that he built or sit in the chair that he made. In that moment you are near to another being in another life, and you are that much richer.
Why an ancient tool should be closer to the early craftsman than a modern tool is to a modern workman is not readily understood by most people. Even the ardent collector is sometimes unaware of the reason an ancient tool meant so much to its user. But reason there is. Henry Ward Beecher said it nicely when he explained that "a tool is but the extension of a man's hand". Whereas today's implements are designed with the idea of "getting a job done quickly," there was an added quality to the early implements and an added quality to early workmanship too. For, like the nails on a beast's paws, the old tools were so much an extension of a man's hand or an added appendage to his arm, that the resulting workmanship seemed to flow directly from the body of the maker and to carry something of himself into the work. True, by looking at an old house or an old piece of furniture, you can imagine the maker much more clearly than you can by beholding anything made today.
An Early Hand Tool Was as Much a Work of Art as the Work it Fashioned. The Early American worker designed his tools too. The ironworker forged only the cutting blade, and thought little about the design either of the wooden handle or the rest of the finished tool. Likewise, a plane's irons, or even knife-blades, hand-forged, were sold like axe heads, leaving the craftsman to fashion his own wooden body, to hold the "iron", or blade. Decoration on these early tools, according to Eric Sloane, sprang out of the pride of the a tool's maker, rather than from prescribed custom.
Did Early Hand-Crafted Tools Have Their Own "Souls"?The belief that certain tools had souls of their own was not unusual. Often the maker of a tool thought of it as a companion, worthy of its own name: axes, for example, were often marked "Tom" or "Jack". Maybe, today, all this sounds strangely superstitious, says the noted illustrator of early hand tools, Eric Sloane. Yet today, he reminds us, eighteen-wheelers can be named "Sally" or "Babe"; boats, likewise, almost always have names; even large machine tools, such as bulldozers, are labeled with names.
For the religious, gracing tools with sacred initials or scripture from the Bible was said to have an effect upon that tool?s quality of work. As proof, Sloane notes, woodworkers, "mindful that the carpenter Jesus once worked with such tools", carved crosses on them. One of the finer pieces in a recent showing of modern art was a piece of steel that curved like a bird's wing. It was set into a square block of wood and its title in the catalogue was "Number 1760." The artist had an even more honest sense of beauty than a sense of humor, for if you looked closely and with an informed eye, you could recognize the piece as the head of an Early American "goose wing" broad axe. In the back of the blade, the year 1760 had been marked, which, of course, explained the title. To many it was, at first, the most bea ....?
So what can we conclude from this complex picture of historical developments in woodworking?
Truth: The class structures created by the guild system were foreign to the manner in which the crafts advanced in America. In demonstrating the evidence for the limited progress of the guild system in America, the social historian, Bruce Laurie notes that while the craft guilds existed since they emerged in the shrouds of human history -- and reached an apogee Medieval/feudal Europe -- when transplanted to America, these guilds shrugged off the restrictive shackle-like nature of the guild system.
Historiography: Thomas J Schlereth, "Artisans and Craftsmen: An Historical Perspective", in Ian J Quimby, editor, The Craftsman in Early America New York: Norton, 1984, pages 34-60.
Sources: Paul H Douglas, American Apprenticeship and Industrial Education New York: privately published, 1921, page 11. This is Douglas' doctoral dissertation. Douglas went on to become a distinguished economist. Carl Bridenbaugh, The Colonial Craftsman, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1950; See also Lawrence Cremin American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 1876 - 1980 New York: Harper and Row, 1988 [online?] and Bruce Laurie, Artisans Into Workers: Labor In Nineteenth Century America New York: Noonday Press, 1989; Ronald Schultz The Republic of Labor: Philadelphia Artisans and the Politics of Class, 1720 New York: Oxford University Press, 1993 and this webpage on history of the crafts guilds (On the Wikipedia server, this entry looks pretty solid for the early back ground of guild development, including the European side, but lacks any attention to the introduction in the eighteenth century of the European guild system.