The Features of Proto-industry
Before the industrial revolution there existed throughout Europe a myriad of small workshops producing basic consumer goods. They were located mostly in towns where they catered for the demands of the local urban population and the agrarian community of the surrounding countryside, and included the tailors, dressmakers, shoemakers, bakers, butchers, carpenters, braziers and others, who made up a quarter or a third of the working population of pre-industrial towns. Some craftsmen — tanners, blacksmiths and the like — also worked in the countryside where their activities complemented those of local farmers. Here and there, too, were dotted larger-scale units of production in such processes as iron-smelting, corn-milling and paper-making where capital requirements and technical skills extended beyond the resources of cottage workshops [see 19].
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