Deb­o­rah Co­hen

Be­he­moth: A His­tory of the Fac­tory and the Mak­ing of the Mod­ern World by Joshua B. Free­man. Nor­ton, 427 pp., $27.95

The New York Review of Books - - Contents - Deb­o­rah Co­hen

Be­he­moth: A His­tory of the Fac­tory and the Mak­ing of the Mod­ern World by Joshua B. Free­man

Prac­ti­cally from the start of in­dus­trial man­u­fac­tur­ing, gawk­ers ap­peared to marvel at the sight. The cot­ton mills of sooty Manch­ester were an oblig­a­tory stop for ev­ery clued-in vis­i­tor to that city. In the sum­mer of 1915, Henry Ford’s Highland Park fac­tory in Michi­gan, the first with a con­tin­u­ous assem­bly line, drew three to four hun­dred vis­i­tors a day. So prom­i­nent a fea­ture of the in­dus­trial land­scape were fac­tory tourists that Diego Rivera painted them into his mu­ral se­quence Detroit In­dus­try (1932–1933). In one panel, the throngs at Ford’s River Rouge plant (young, old, women, men, Dick Tracy among them) look on, their mouths down­turned, as the line of chas­sis— pierced by steer­ing wheels and min­is­tered to by bent-over, jump­suited work­ers—rolls by. In 1971, 243,000 peo­ple vis­ited River Rouge. Later that decade, the Com­merce De­part­ment’s USA Plant Vis­its, 1977–78, a com­pen­dium of fac­to­ries that of­fered tours, ran to 153 pages.

Al­though Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing out­put to­day is near a his­toric high, the per­cent­age of man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs drifted steadily down­ward in the decades af­ter World War II, and then in 2000 plunged sharply. Fac­to­ries cur­rently em­ploy less than 8 per­cent of the Amer­i­can work­force, a con­se­quence of off­shoring as well as au­toma­tion. Per­haps be­cause there is not much ro­mance in watch­ing robots go about their day, the fac­tory tour pick­ings are now more mea­ger. In the Chicago area in the 1960s, you could have seen how steel, fur­ni­ture, news­pa­pers, pot­tery, au­to­mo­bile parts, hosiery, and, yes, sausages were made. To­day, the only fac­tory tours left in the city are epi­curean: craft dis­til­leries, ar­ti­sanal choco­la­ter­ies, and a pop­corn fac­tory. If you want to have a look at man­u­fac­tur­ing of the Make-Amer­ica-Great-Again va­ri­ety in Illi­nois, you will need to drive nearly two and a half hours to Mo­line, where the John Deere com­pany, head­quar­tered there since 1848, still pro­vides free tours of the har­vester works. With nos­tal­gia for man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs now thor­oughly weaponized in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, Joshua Free­man’s Be­he­moth: A His­tory of the Fac­tory and the Mak­ing of the Mod­ern World is timely. Free­man, a his­to­rian of Amer­i­can la­bor and the au­thor of Amer­i­can Em­pire, the Pen­guin his­tory of the post–World War II United States, takes as his sub­ject huge fac­to­ries, the be­he­moths of his ti­tle: River Rouge; the Soviet steel com­plex Mag­ni­to­gorsk, east of the Urals; and China’s Fox­conn City, with its hun­dreds of thou­sands of work­ers, ar­guably the largest fac­tory ever in op­er­a­tion. Fo­cus­ing on these gi­ants, Free­man sug­gests, re­veals what hap­pens when con­cen­trated pro­duc­tion and economies of scale are taken to the showiest ex­treme. It also helps to ex­plain the hold that fac­to­ries have had on the imag­i­na­tion over the past 250 years: the prom­ise (largely de­liv­ered

on) that in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion would lift bil­lions out of poverty, com­pet­ing with the fears (also re­al­ized) that it would wreck the en­vi­ron­ment and sharpen so­cial con­flicts.

The schol­arly lit­er­a­ture on in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion is vast and thick­eted with con­tro­versy, but Be­he­moth is not one of those doorstop his­to­ries of the around-the-world-in-eight-hun­dred­pages va­ri­ety. Rather, the book is episodic, as­sess­ing the turn­ing points that take the reader from late-eigh­teen­th­cen­tury Bri­tain—where mod­ern fac­to­ries emerged—to early twen­ty­first-cen­tury China, with most of its pages devoted to the United States and the Soviet Union.

Free­man’s ac­count is evoca­tive and fair-minded, a hu­mane treat­ment of the sub­ject writ­ten with flair. It is also a fresh ap­proach to a well-es­tab­lished genre: the bi­og­ra­phy of an ob­ject, which tells a story of global trans­fer and con­nec­tions. Thus far, com­modi­ties such as tea, cof­fee, cod, cot­ton, porce­lain, and gold have soaked up most of the at­ten­tion. Un­like cod or cot­ton or any of the other ob­jects that have been nom­i­nated for world-his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, fac­to­ries did lit­er­ally make the mod­ern world. Un­less you’re read­ing this re­view in an old-growth for­est, nearly ev­ery­thing you’re look­ing at now was fac­tory-made. But as Free­man charts the rise of the fac­tory across the world, his book also poses the ques­tion, Is the fac­tory a “thing,” and did it have a global his­tory?

The rise of the fac­tory was the con­se­quence of three in­ter­re­lated de­vel­op­ments: ma­chin­ery that was so large or ex­pen­sive that pro­duc­tion could not be car­ried out at home, tech­no­log­i­cal ex­per­tise that sim­i­larly ex­ceeded the ca­pac­ity of the in­di­vid­ual house­hold, and

en­trepreneurs who wished to di­rectly su­per­vise their work­ers. By the time fac­to­ries ap­peared in Lan­cashire and the East Mid­lands, the tran­si­tion to an in­dus­trial econ­omy was al­ready un­der­way, and the task of mak­ing sense of this new sys­tem of man­u­fac­tures fell first to the Bri­tish. The per­ils were ap­par­ent: the ex­ploita­tion of child la­bor and the thick for­est of chim­neys pump­ing out smoke and gasses, the filth of the over­crowded cities and the sub­ju­ga­tion of work­ers to new forms of dis­ci­pline that crit­ics likened to slav­ery.

But just as ob­vi­ous was the won­der. It was not sim­ply about the goods pro­duced—a quan­tity of tex­tiles mea­sured in miles rather than yards—but the fac­to­ries them­selves, of which Joseph Wright’s 1783 paint­ing of Richard Ark­wright’s cot­ton mills at night pro­vides a glimpse. Out­shin­ing the moon in Wright’s pic­ture is the fac­tory, each one of its rec­tan­gu­lar, sym­met­ri­cal win­dows ablaze, a scene of har­mo­nious, heav­enly cre­ation in the Der­went Val­ley. To de­scribe what they were see­ing, writ­ers pressed far-fetched metaphors into ser­vice: Robert Southey thought the new fac­to­ries looked like con­vents, Alexis de Toc­queville called them “huge palaces,” while Charles Dick­ens, de­scrib­ing the steam en­gine, likened its pis­tons to “the head of an ele­phant in a state of melan­choly mad­ness” and the smoke it pro­duced to “mon­strous ser­pents.”

If the Bri­tish fig­ure in Free­man’s ac­count as am­biva­lent in­dus­tri­al­iz­ers alarmed by “dark Sa­tanic mills,” the Amer­i­cans were gung ho. Much of the early in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion of the US was pow­ered by wa­ter, not coal, so early mill towns, such as the tex­tile cap­i­tal of Low­ell, Mas­sachusetts, its streets lined with tidy flower gar­dens, bore lit­tle re­sem­blance to Bri­tain’s smog-choked in­dus­trial cities. Low­ell’s mill girls were

by leg­end sturdy, ap­ple-cheeked farm­ers’ daugh­ters sup­ple­ment­ing their dowries by su­per­in­tend­ing looms for a few years. In an­te­bel­lum Amer­ica it was pos­si­ble, Free­man ob­serves, to imag­ine that “in­dus­try and repub­li­can com­mu­nity could co­ex­ist.” Over time, work­ing con­di­tions de­te­ri­o­rated: Low­ell’s women work­ers were forced to mind more looms and speed up pro­duc­tion; strikes over longer work­ing hours and low pay idled the sprawl­ing Amoskeag cot­ton mills in New Hamp­shire. Nev­er­the­less, Amer­i­cans con­tin­ued to be en­tranced by the ma­chine, cel­e­brat­ing the blast fur­naces and foundries of iron and steel as the en­gines of mod­ern life, and the fac­tory as the prov­ing ground for Fred­er­ick Winslow Tay­lor’s the­o­ries of sci­en­tific man­age­ment. At the heart of the global his­tory that Free­man tells is Fordism, which com­bined in­ter­change­able parts, a con­tin­u­ous-flow assem­bly line (adapted from the meat-pack­ing in­dus­try), and the con­veyor belt to turn the fac­tory it­self into a vast, uni­fied ma­chine. Not only did Ford’s method re­duce la­bor time—a car could now be made in ninety-three min­utes rather than twelve and a half hours—but it promised higher wages (Ford’s Five Dol­lar Day was dou­ble what the av­er­age auto worker had earned), which would al­low assem­bly-line work­ers to pur­chase the Model T’s they made. At its peak in 1929, River Rouge em­ployed 102,811 work­ers and was the big­gest sin­gle fac­tory com­plex in the United States. Mass pro­duc­tion fed mass con­sump­tion. Fordism it­self be­came an Amer­i­can ex­port: Ford’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, My Life and Work, sold more than 200,000 copies in Ger­many and was sim­i­larly a best seller in Rus­sia, where it came pref­aced by the state­ment: “Fordism is a sys­tem the prin­ci­ples of which have been known for long, [hav­ing been] laid down by Marx.”

In the 1910s, the Amer­i­can left thrilled to Ford, just as the Sovi­ets would in the next decade, de­terred nei­ther by the rigid dis­ci­pline of Ford’s plants nor by the mind-numb­ing na­ture of assem­bly-line work. When the rad­i­cal jour­nal­ist John Reed in­ter­viewed Ford in 1916, he de­liv­ered an en­comium that could have come straight from the au­tomaker’s own pub­lic­ity de­part­ment: “Here is a pow­er­ful in­dus­trial baron who is in­ter­ested in hu­man be­ings in­stead of stocks and bonds.” For their part, the Sovi­ets needed to in­dus­tri­al­ize at break­neck speed, to make up (as Stalin fa­mously said) a hun­dred years of de­vel­op­ment in ten. Dur­ing the more mar­ket-ori­ented years of the New Eco­nomic Pol­icy, the Sovi­ets sought, un­avail­ingly, to per­suade the Ford Mo­tor Com­pany to build them a trac­tor plant. Af­ter it de­murred, they in­stead hired Ford’s ar­chi­tect, Al­bert Kahn, to build the coun­try’s largest fac­tory, Stal­in­grad’s Dz­erzhin­sky trac­tor plant. Dur­ing the De­pres­sion,

Ford did agree to help equip an au­to­mo­tive plant at Nizhny Nov­gorod, a ma­neu­ver that al­lowed the com­pany to sell the Sovi­ets its ob­so­lete tools and dies. In com­par­ing the gi­gan­tic fac­to­ries of the Soviet Union and the United States amid the mus­cu­lar pushes for greater out­put from the 1930s through the 1950s, Free­man em­pha­sizes their sim­i­lar­i­ties.

The fac­tory, he writes, “proved re­mark­ably im­per­vi­ous to its sur­round­ings.” In state so­cial­ism as in cap­i­tal­ism, so­cial re­la­tions within the fac­tory were hi­er­ar­chi­cal, of­ten con­flict-rid­den; in both sys­tems, man­age­ment sought to craft a new sort of per­son: prov­i­dent, mod­ern, and well-dis­ci­plined. It was the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the Moscow tex­tile mill and Amoskeag that caught the eye of the pho­tog­ra­pher Mar­garet Bourke-White. For mid­cen­tury the­o­rists rang­ing from C. Wright Mills to Tal­cott Par­sons to Clark Kerr, such a con­ver­gence was a re­sult of the process of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion it­self, which was mak­ing so­ci­eties more alike.

Free­man’s most il­lu­mi­nat­ing chapter, though, cen­ters on a dif­fer­ence in the life­span of the gi­ant fac­tory in the US and Soviet Union. Even as so­cial sci­en­tists and econ­o­mists spec­u­lated about con­ver­gence, Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ers had al­ready be­gun to de­cen­tral­ize pro­duc­tion. By the late 1940s, the era of the show­case fac­tory was over in the United States. The strength of union­iza­tion, par­tic­u­larly demon­strated by the for­mi­da­ble strike wave of 1945–1946, made clear to in­dus­tri­al­ists the dan­ger of con­cen­trat­ing work­ers in a few plants.

More than sim­ply a means of con­trol­ling costs or ra­tio­nal­iz­ing dis­tri­bu­tion, the drive to open smaller and de­cen­tral­ized plants, es­pe­cially in the lowwage, nonunion­ized South, was also a strat­egy to en­sure that a com­pany’s en­tire op­er­a­tion couldn’t be ham­strung by a strike. At the same time, by con­trast, in­dus­trial gi­gan­tism con­tin­ued apace across the East­ern Bloc. The East Ger­mans built the steel town of Stal­in­stadt (now Eisen­hüt­ten­stadt); in Poland, there rose Nowa Huta, with a work­force of nearly 30,000 by 1967. Crip­pling la­bor un­rest wasn’t a prob­lem that par­tic­u­larly wor­ried lead­ers in the East­ern Bloc, who could count on a net­work of spies as well as a cadre of fac­tory work­ers who were fer­vent be­liev­ers in so­cial­ism.

How to tell this epic story of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion around the world? Free­man in ef­fect fol­lows the lead of com­mod­ity his­tory. That genre has be­come a sta­ple of the new global his­tory, thriv­ing on ev­i­dence of net­works that re­gion­ally or na­tion­ally bounded stud­ies of­ten neglected. The forces of global in­te­gra­tion, too, can be il­lu­mi­nated by the his­tory of a prod­uct, as re­cent stud­ies of cot­ton by Gior­gio Riello and Sven Beck­ert have demon­strated.1 The rage for cal­ico, for ex­am­ple, drew Bri­tish en­trepreneurs into com­pe­ti­tion with In­dian tex­tile mak­ers; Lan­cashire cot­ton mills helped to pro­pel the slave economies of the Amer­i­can South, which were in turn fi­nanced by the Lon­don money mar­ket.

But to track the phe­nom­e­non of the fac­tory across bor­ders is to try to cap­ture a much broader set of pro­cesses—the many vari­ants of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion—in a thing. By com­par­i­son, com­mod­ity his­to­ries, even those that tackle man­u­fac­ture, have an eas­ier task: telling the story of trade, adop­tion (or adap­ta­tion or rejection), and the re­ori­en­ta­tion of sec­tors of economies, with a tan­gi­ble ob­ject, usu­ally a con­sumer good, at its core. The project Free­man sets him­self is more like writ­ing in a genre that doesn’t re­ally ex­ist: the global his­tory of the school­house or the farm or the in­sane asy­lum or even the par­lia­ment. The ques­tion, then, is what telling this his­tory from the van­tage point of an in­sti­tu­tion can add to what we al­ready know about the spread of lit­er­acy, the trans­fer of agri­cul­tural tech­niques, the man­age­ment of mad­ness, or comparative de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion, re­spec­tively. Or in Free­man’s case, the com­ing of in­dus­trial so­ci­ety.

Take the is­sue of fac­tory size, the be­he­moths on which Free­man fo­cuses. He makes a per­sua­sive case that the largest fac­to­ries served as bea­cons of moder­nity, con­jur­ing up ei­ther the hor­rors or the de­lights to come. But whether size mat­tered oth­er­wise—in the pro­duc­tiv­ity of a coun­try’s in­dus­trial sec­tor, its ca­pac­ity for in­no­va­tion, or its work­ing con­di­tions—is doubt­ful. In 1871, when Bri­tain pro­duced one fifth of all man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts in the world, the av­er­age Bri­tish man­u­fac­turer had fewer than twenty work­ers; by the early twen­ti­eth cen­tury, the num­ber had risen only to sixty-four. Amer­i­can fac­to­ries on av­er­age were slightly larger, but, no­tably, most of the in­crease in the work­force took place in the late nine­teenth cen­tury, well be­fore Fordism. France had rel­a­tively few big fac­to­ries, chiefly be­cause a lack of coal re­serves put a steam econ­omy out of reach, while Ger­many, with am­ple coal, had sub­stan­tially larger con­cerns, in­clud­ing the Krupp fac­tory in Essen that em­ployed more than 36,000 work­ers in 1914, even as medium-sized and small plants formed the bedrock of the econ­omy. And yet, not­with­stand­ing their dif­fer­ently sized fac­to­ries, by 1914 per capita in­come and la­bor pro­duc­tiv­ity were con­verg­ing in the ma­jor Western Euro­pean coun­tries.

Through the 1970s, the his­tory of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion was told as a tale of mod­ern­iza­tion, with the Bri­tish model—a tran­si­tion to steam and heavy in­dus­try— cel­e­brated as the stan­dard and na­tions such as France branded as lag­gards. What has since been demon­strated, con­trary to mod­ern­iza­tion the­ory, is how re­mark­ably di­ver­gent in­dus­trial tran­si­tions have been around the world, shaped by the avail­abil­ity of skilled la­bor, the scale of do­mes­tic mar­kets for goods, the types of nat­u­ral re­sources at hand, the strength of unions, and the char­ac­ter of the state. Mass man­u­fac­ture de­pended upon small firms’ ca­pac­ity for flex­i­ble pro­duc­tion, just as mass mar­kets (say for the Model T, which was pro­duced in only one color, black) co­ex­isted with highly seg­mented and dif­fer­en­ti­ated mar­kets (Gen­eral Mo­tors’ “car for ev­ery purse and pur­pose”). From this so­phis­ti­cated schol­ar­ship have come many sur­prises. In eigh­teenth-cen­tury Bri­tain, Asian im­ports such as Chi­nese porce­lain and In­dian cal­i­cos, as Max­ine Berg has ar­gued, pro­vided stim­u­lus to new pro­duc­tion pro­cesses; the global trade in com­modi­ties not only pre­ceded mech­a­niza­tion but helped to pro­pel it.2 An­a­lyz­ing Ja­pan, Tessa Mor­ris-Suzuki has demon­strated that small-scale, indige­nous man­u­fac­tur­ing flour­ished along­side im­ported Western tech­nolo­gies to pro­duce the net­work of sub­con­tract­ing firms so char­ac­ter­is­tic of twen­ti­eth­cen­tury Ja­panese in­dus­try.3

In mak­ing the gi­ant fac­tory stand in for in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, Free­man loses much of this rich diver­sity, and as is of­ten the case with a bird’s-eye view, ev­ery­thing ap­pears much the same. A case in point is his treat­ment of Soviet fac­to­ries such as Mag­ni­to­gorsk in the 1930s: “Did so­cial­ism, or state own­er­ship, change in­ter­nal re­la­tion­ships within the fac­tory? A bit, but not much.” Tyran­ni­cal as Ford’s regime was at River Rouge, though, this is sim­ply not a plau­si­ble ar­gu­ment. Free­man him­self notes the Sovi­ets’ use of forced la­bor, the deaths from freez­ing cold in im­pro­vised set­tle­ments, the purges that re­moved the up­per layer of man­age­ment, as well as the zeal­ous corps of shock work­ers will­ing to la­bor twelve­hour days and with­out pay on Satur­days in pur­suit of the so­cial­ist utopia. Why should sim­i­lar­i­ties be the salient point?4 It is even more puz­zling when Free­man de­picts the fac­tory as an au­ton­o­mous, globe-trot­ting agent that de­ter­mined the course of de­vel­op­ment. “The gi­ant fac­tory shaped the path along which the Soviet Union de­vel­oped,” he con­tends. But this is surely to get the causal ar­gu­ment back­wards. The fac­tory didn’t re­make so­cial­ism in its own im­age. Rather, the form that in­dus­trial gi­gan­tism took in the Soviet Union was due to the judg­ment of Stalin and his al­lies that in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion was a pre­em­i­nent tool of class war­fare, en­sur­ing the tri­umph of the op­pressed against the old ex­ploit­ing classes. At times in Free­man’s ac­count, the fac­tory seems to come loose from its moor­ings in both the in­dus­trial econ­omy and the wider his­tory of glob­al­iza­tion—the steamships, rail­roads, tele­graph, air­planes, mo­bil­ity of cap­i­tal, and transna­tional mass mi­gra­tion—to resur­face as a zom­bie of mod­ern­iza­tion the­ory re­born.

There is a ma­jor point to be made about the im­por­tance of the fac­tory sys­tem in chang­ing the na­ture of work. But to see the story whole re­quires com­par­ing fac­tory la­bor to work done in other places. While novel tech­niques of dis­ci­pline, time man­age­ment, and ra­tio­nal­iza­tion be­gan in fac­to­ries, they didn’t stay there. From 1850 to 1914, as Joel Mokyr has sug­gested, the in­no­va­tions of the fac­tory spread to the ser­vice sec­tor, where de­part­ment stores pre­vailed over corner shops; hos­pi­tals, not homes, be­came the places for treat­ing the sick; and com­mut­ing turned into a nearly univer­sal ex­pe­ri­ence.5 Tak­ing or­ders, pool­ing knowl­edge, the rep­e­ti­tion of seg­mented, ra­tio­nal­ized tasks, leav­ing your home to work—by the early twen­ti­eth cen­tury, what had started within the fac­tory’s gates had trans­formed work out­side them.

With the rise of the dig­i­tal econ­omy and au­toma­tion, the ques­tion of what work is—or will be—is more un­set­tled now than it has been for the last cen­tury. Per­haps, Free­man sug­gests, we are wit­ness to the end of the enor­mous fac­tory, made ob­so­lete more by ro­bot­ics than the hec­tic scurry of man­u­fac­tur­ing

around the world. He ends his book in con­tem­po­rary China, with a look at the Shen­zhen mega­plant, Fox­conn City, a con­tract man­u­fac­turer for Ap­ple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard. At its peak in the last decade, Fox­conn City em­ployed more than 300,000, pro­vid­ing a mam­moth on-de­mand work­force for Ap­ple’s just-in-time pro­duc­tion sched­ule. The plant’s work­force has re­cently shrunk as the com­pany has au­to­mated and moved fac­to­ries to cheaper parts of China. Dif­fi­cult as it is to find a fac­tory tour in Chicago, it is harder still in China. Fox­conn is no­to­ri­ously se­cre­tive, a pol­icy that un­doubt­edly sat­is­fies Ap­ple; hav­ing largely di­vested it­self of fac­tory work­ers, it is in no hurry to show off the con­di­tions at its con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ers. Fox­conn City, as Free­man notes, is not a sweat­shop: the plants are mod­ern and clean, with dor­mi­tory-style hous­ing on site and ameni­ties such as swim­ming pools, a sta­dium, a wed­ding-dress shop, and pork for lunch. Fox­conn pays bet­ter than the lo­cally owned al­ter­na­tives, and thou­sands clamor to work there. But a visit to the Shen­zhen com­plex—wrapped in yel­low net­ting to pre­vent sui­ci­dal work­ers from jump­ing off the build­ings—would hardly bol­ster Ap­ple’s prom­ise through tech­nol­ogy of un­teth­ered free­dom. The dis­ci­pline is mil­i­taris­tic, the work­days stretch to twelve hours, and the sur­veil­lance is con­stant. Robots, by con­trast, don’t re­quire sleep or need wed­ding gowns. Al­though the techno-op­ti­mists won out the first time around, even those at the heart of the rev­o­lu­tion ul­ti­mately had their re­grets. In the mid1920s, Henry Ford bought 260 acres of mead­ow­land a mile away from his River Rouge plant. There he recre­ated the ide­al­ized small town of his child­hood, which he named Green­field Vil­lage, af­ter his wife’s birth­place. Ford spent more than $10 mil­lion on this en­deavor (as much as $1 bil­lion in to­day’s money), pur­chas­ing a black­smith shop, a coun­try store, the one-room school­house he’d at­tended as a boy, a sawmill, a weav­ing shed, an 1890s Detroit lunch wagon, the Wright Brothers’ cy­cle shop, rows upon rows of farm­ing equip­ment, and a cot­tage and flock of sheep im­ported from the Cotswolds, in ad­di­tion to a replica of Thomas Edi­son’s Menlo Park lab­o­ra­tory. Dur­ing Ford’s life­time, no au­to­mo­biles were per­mit­ted in Green­field; vis­i­tors came in horse-drawn car­riages or, later, on foot. The point was to sum­mon up the prein­dus­trial age that Ford, as much as any­one, had de­stroyed. At night­time, when the crowds had gone home, the old in­ven­tor haunted the vil­lage to tin­ker in the black­smith’s shop.

Ed­ward Bur­tyn­sky: Man­u­fac­tur­ing #11, Youn­gor Tex­tiles, Ningbo, Zhe­jiang Prov­ince, China, 2005

Franz Wil­helm Sei­w­ert: Fac­to­ries, 1926

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