Machines That Made History: Landmarks in Mechanical Engineering
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At the heart of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions lay an exponential growth in manufacturing thanks largely to the development of machines and methods for mass production. Before 1700, manufacturing largely consisted of cottage industries and artisanal production: skilled craftsmen working out of their own homes and shops. Hand-made goods varied in quality and a lack of standardized machine parts meant that replacements had to be custom manufactured, making both purchase and repair expensive. As the landmarks in this chapter demonstrate, mechanical engineering would provide many of the techniques, machines, and processes that revolutionized manufacturing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.