The move from very traditional craft to a more formal "cottage industry" allows trade and manufacturing to expand significantly.
A "cottage industry" is literally that: one where whole families live and work in their cottages at the same craft. Once the whole community is engaged in the same trade, the output can be relatively substantial but limited by the skills of the workers. There is some division of labour involved: family women tend to be the yarn producers, while men operate the manual looms. From dusk to dawn, the machines have to work in order for families to survive; they are paid piecework rates, so must work quickly.
Historically, weaving was a substantial industry but entirely cottage-based before the rise of water and steam-powered mills in Yorkshire, England. Cloth and "piece" halls in market towns allowed the consolidation of bulk shipments from many small suppliers. The system, however, was incapable of producing goods of a consistent quality (as each weaver worked to his own standards), and could not be scaled to match demand. Artisans took years to master their trades, not the weeks it took to install a new machine in a powered mill.
- Level 1
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- 2000 Coin