The British Machine Tool Industry, 1850–1914

Machine tools are vital to our industrial, metal-using society. This book is the first history of the British machine-tool industry during an important period of its development, a time when it played a crucial part in the transformation of the British economy. The author discusses the structure of the industry, its performance in international trade, and, through an analysis of the voluminous records of one firm, its efficiency and productivity. This discussion is placed within the wider context of current controversies about the behaviour of the British economy during the 'Great Depression' of the later nineteenth century, and its conclusions do not support pessimistic views of the performance of British industry. The book is also intended as a contribution to the explanation of the process of technological change, a problem of increasing interest to economists and economic historians.