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MAKING THE MODERN WORLD
Stories about the lives we've made

story:Rational manufacture

scene:Rational manufacture


I have been… preparing to make such Machines of the Men as cannot err.

Josiah Wedgwood, 1769

In the eighteenth century, philosophers displayed a new confidence in the power of reason. In human affairs an understanding of the rational order of the universe, which could now be revealed by experiment and measurement, might produce better ordered societies and more rational behaviour. In industry this philosophy influenced ways of organising work. One result was the creation of new, rationally organised manufacturing systems.


Engraving depicting the theory of pulleys, c.1850-1860. The blocks depicted in this engraving were used in large quantities on every sailing ship. Demand for them led Marc Brunel to develop his ideas for block-making machinery. picture zoom © Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Here we will look at some of the industrialists who had the vision to carry the ‘Enlightenment project’ into reality.

Resource Descriptions

Engraving depicting the theory of pulleys, c.1850-1860. The blocks depicted in this engraving were used in large quantities on every sailing ship. Demand for them led Marc Brunel to develop his ideas for block-making machinery.
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