Factories existed before the industrial revolution, even the manufacturing kind (as opposed to the colonial warehouse kind such as Hudson Bay Company factories), but I'm not sure to what extent. Reading about Catherine the Great's reign, there was Pugachev's Rebellion, which actually included "factory workers" as the rebels, which I thought was really interesting because Russia hadn't even started the First Industrial Revolution and was quite "backwards" for the time.

I also recall reading about textile manufacturing in Flanders in the 1300s (in the context of Black Death populations) and the Republic of Venice building a ship a day in the 1200s but I can't recall the sources.

What kind of manufacturing centers existed before the First Industrial Revolution? What did they look like? How were the constructed, how many people worked in them, what kind of machinery was used? Did they evolve from the blacksmith's workshop? Did guilds work to improve conditions in them or were they pretty hellish places?

Source: reddit post


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