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The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution to the European Continent

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
You, In Sun
Research Paper, AP European History Class, Fall 2011

            This paper mostly deals with the influence that British entrepreneurs had on the spread of Industrial Revolution in continental Europe. The paper first started with articulating the characteristics of some British entrepreneurs who expanded into several different countries. Then, analyses of the motives of those British entrepreneurs and the consequences of those differences in motives have been dealt in this paper. Therefore, this paper tried to explain the reason why proximity to Britain was related to the start of Industrial Revolution and came to the conclusion that motives for immigration was one of the reasons why proximity to Britain was important in the order of the start of revolution.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Definition
III. Background
III.1 Industrial Revolution in Britain
III.2 Spread of Industrial Revolution on the European Continent
IV. Spread of Industrial Revolution in Continental Europe ? Entrepreneurs
IV.1 France
IV.1.1 John Kay, John Holker
IV.1.2 Aaron Manby
IV.1.3 Others
IV.1.4 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution in France
IV.2 Low Countries
IV.2.1 Cockerill Family
IV.2.2 Others
IV.2.3 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution in Low Countries
IV.3 Germany
IV.3.1 Cockerill Family
IV.3.2 William Thomas Mulvany
IV.3.3 Others
IV.3.4 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution in Germany
IV.4 Northern Europe
IV.4.1 James Finlayson
IV.4.2 Others
IV.4.3 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution in Northern Europe
IV.5 Central Europe
IV.5.1 John Thornton
IV.5.2 John Heywood, James Longworth
IV.5.3 Others
IV.5.4 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution in Central Europe
V. Analysis of British Entrepreneurs
V.1 Motives for British Entrepreneurs
V.1.1 Internal Motives
V.1.2 External Motives
V.2 Classification of British Entrepreneurs

I. Introduction
            The exact reasons why Great Britain was the first country to experience the Industrial Revolution in Europe are not clearly defined, but it is indisputable that the 18th century was a period of industrialization for Great Britain. (1) However, Great Britain was not the only country to experience it; several other countries in Continental Europe also went through industrialization slightly after the Great Britain did.
            One of the significant reasons for the spread of Industrial Revolution in Continental Europe is several active British entrepreneurs that transferred the necessary technology and system required for Industrial Revolution. (2) Relatively few studies on the contribution of British entrepreneurs to the progress of the Industrial Revolution on the European continent have been published.
            This paper focuses on how the British entrepreneurs have influenced the spread of industrialization and analyze the consequences that the British entrepreneurs have brought to the European continent. Extra attention is given to entrepreneurs¡¯ motives for immigration. In the end, by analyzing different motives, this paper explains the reason why in some countries industrialization occurred faster than in other countries.

II. Definition
            Basic terms which must be defined are Industrial Revolution and entrepreneurs. First, in this paper Industrial Revolution would be defined as a period from the 18th to 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of the times. It began in Great Britain and then subsequently spread throughout Europe, North America, and eventually the world. (2a) Also while entrepreneurs are defined as people who have possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and are accountable for the inherent risks and outcome of a product, in this paper, it must also be noted that several engineers also had a significant role and must not be overlooked. (3)
            The areas that would be discussed in this paper include France, Germany, the Low Countries, Central Europe (Austria-Hungary and Switzerland) and Northern Europe (Norway, Sweden, and Finland). These areas are chosen in terms of the extent of industrialization, in other words, how fast and how much Industrial Revolution had taken place.

III. Background

III.1 The Industrial Revolution in Britain
            It is well known that the development of modern large-scale industrial capitalism took place in Britain at an earlier period than on the continent. A number of factors contributed to the rapid expansion of British manufactures in the second half of the 18th century.
            For industrialization to happen, adequate supplies of capital, raw materials and labor as well as access to suitable home and overseas markets were necessary. Britain complied with all of these conditions. Also, Great Britain was home for great amount of entrepreneurs who were eager to develop and transfer new technologies and expand their business. (4)

III.2 Spread of Industrial Revolution on the European Continent
            Industrialization in continental Europe was slower compared to Britain. Among the reasons given in academic literature on this issue, some scholars attribute this to wars and civil disturbance which led to shortage of capital in continental Europe. (4a) Others also assert that there existed different reasons for several countries. According to them, the existence of large number of virtually sovereign states was to blame for Germany. While in France, shortage of coal and other raw materials and rigid bureaucracy were to blame. (5)
            However, it was not long until new technologies and systems crossed the sea and reached continental Europe. There were various ways that technical knowledge spread from Britain to the continent. Those ways include government policies, industrial espionage, and so on. This paper would discuss one of those particular ways which is through British entrepreneurs who immigrated to the continent.

IV. Spread of Industrial Revolution in Continental Europe - Entrepreneurs

IV.1 France

IV.1.1 John Kay, John Holker
            John Kay, the inventor of the fly shuttle, was an entrepreneur who settled in France in 1749 and contributed to the spread of industrialization in France. John Kay apprenticed with a hand-loom reed maker, but returned and started to design machines which were vital in the development of textile industry. In 1733, John Kay got a patent for flying shuttle. This invention was vital for the development of textile industry in and out of Great Britain. (6)
            The main reason which made him settle in France was his dissatisfaction with the British government which did not let him maintain his patent rights on his fly shuttle. (7) Therefore, in 1749, John Kay had a contract with the French government and agreed to spread techniques, especially the flying shuttle, in Normandy. His job was essential in establishing the mechanized textile industry in France.
            John Holker reached France in 1750 due to religious problems. The Jacobite rising in 1745 has affected him because he was a Catholic and a Jacobite. Holker settled in Rouen and developed the mechanized textile industry there. He was not only an entrepreneur but also one of the world¡¯s first industrial espionage agents. (8) His knowledge helped the French mechanized textile industry as he supplied the French with the newest techniques.

IV.1.2 Aaron Manby
            Aaron Manby was a British entrepreneur who spread the iron industry to France during 1820s. In order to expand his business, he founded an important ironworks and engineering establishment near Paris. His firm not only undertook re-melting, puddling and rolling of iron but also the manufacture of machinery, iron ships and steam engines. After he established the iron industry in France, he returned to Britain and lived there until his death. (9)

IV.1.3 Others
            Apart from the entrepreneurs mentioned above, there existed several British entrepreneurs who contributed to the spread of Industrial Revolution in France. These entrepreneurs include Issac Townsend, a woolcomber who settled in District Calais, Elias Barnes who introduced improved wheel for spinning cotton, Job Dixon, an English engineer who was one of the earliest machine builders in Alsace, and so on. (10)

IV.1.4 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the IR in France
            The development of the French textile industries, particularly in Normandy, owed much to British machinery and technical knowledge. (11) France is among the first countries on the continent, along with the Low Countries, to industrialize. This is due to the active advance of British entrepreneurs.
            The similarities of British entrepreneurs who spread industrialization in France is that they all were active when it comes to spreading industrialization. Although the French government was eager to adapt British technologies on their nation, British entrepreneurs were the ones who wanted to go to France. The reasons for leaving Britain include fleeing from religious persecution, frustration about government policy, and so on.

IV.2 The Low Countries

IV.2.1 The Cockerill Family
            Few English families can have played a greater part than the Cockerills in introducing machinery into Belgium. (12) The elder William Cockerill, his sons and his son-in-laws were all responsible for organizing modern lines of carding and spinning of wool and weaving of woolen cloth in Belgium.
           ' Contrary to what one may think, William Cockerill's first destination was not Belgium. Due to unemployment distress, he left Britain in 1797. He first settled in Russia and then in Sweden, but faced failure. He then moved to Verviers, Belgium in 1799 where he established the foundation for the textile industry. (13)
            His sons, especially John Cockerill was essential in iron industry of Belgium. He showed great potential as an entrepreneur even in his early age and his father William gave him more and more responsibility between 1809 and 1814; he was trying to expand his company to Liege. Afterwards, Liege became the center of iron industry in Belgium. (14)
            The Cockerillls played an essential role in industrializing Belgium, especially Verviers and Liege.

IV.2.2 Others
            If one consider the proximity that Belgium has to Britain, it is not surprising that a lot of British entrepreneurs entered Belgian market. For example, Irishman named O¡¯Kelly introduced a pumping machine into Liege in 1720 and Thomas Murray opened a factory to produce sulfuric acid in 1760. (15)
            James Hodson is another noticeable entrepreneur who was significant in the modernization of Belgium. James Hodson was born in Nottingham and married William Cockerill¡¯s daughter. Following his father-in-law, Hodson contributed to the industrialization of Belgium. He had a machine-building business of his own and lent capital to other entrepreneurs. Hodson and Cockerills are known to have increased the quality of life in Verviers. (16)

IV.2.3 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution in Low Countries
            Although the Low Countries have smaller area compared to other regions of continental Europe, their significance in industrialization was maximized by many British entrepreneurs who came to the area. Many entrepreneurs chose the Low Countries, especially Belgium, because of the proximity and abundant supplies of ore and coal mines. Therefore, most of them were active when it comes to spreading industrialization in the area.

IV.3 Germany

IV.3.1 The Cockerill Family
            John Cockerill who is mostly known for his contribution in Belgium also contributed to the modernization of the German woolen and linen industry. Although the textile industry had been long established in Germany, especially in Hanover and Silesia, it declined after 1815 due to its technical backwardness. (17) Therefore, the Prussian government encouraged the modernization of the industry. John Cockerill saw the opportunity and expanded his business to Germany. (18)

IV.3.2 William Thomas Mulvany
            William Thomas Mulvany was an Irish (including an Irish entrepreneur to English entrepreneurs was done for the purpose of convenience) engineer who went to Ruhr area in Prussia, Germany in 1854. He first started out as a chairman of a mining company but soon founded the Prussian Mining and Ironworks Company in 1866. The company flourished, taking over three mines in Hansa, Zollern and Erin. Mulvany was a pioneer of mining industry in Germany. (19)

IV.3.3 Others
            A comparatively small number of British entrepreneurs played a significant role in the early stages of industrialization in Germany. Those entrepreneurs include John Baildon, a Scot who succeeded in erecting an engine in a porcelain factory in 1822 or Barlow and Manby who founded Imperial Continental Gas Association in 1825. (20)

IV.3.4 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution in Germany
            Germany secured only a relatively small proportion of the British entrepreneurss who went to the continent. Also, those who did come to Germany came relatively later than to France or to the Low Countries.
            Most of the entrepreneurs in Germany were not British, but German who learned British techniques. However, those who were British were pioneers of their fields but were late compared to those who went to France or the Low Countries.

IV.4 Northern Europe

IV.4.1 James Finlayson
            James Finlayson, a Scottish engineer, is one of the entrepreneurs who spread the Industrial Revolution to Northern Europe, especially Tampere, Finland. He moved to Finland in 1820 and got permission from Finnish government to build a factory in Tampere. Finlayson hired many engineers from Britain and manufactured machines used in textile industry. Later on, instead of just producing machines for the sale to cotton mills, he established and ran his own cotton mills. (21)

IV.4.2 Others
            Northern Europe is one of the areas where there is relatively small number of British entrepreneurs. Apart from Finlayson, there seems not to have been no significant British entrepreneurs who were mentioned in the sources. Most of the entrepreneurs in Northern Europe are native.

IV.4.3 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution in Northern Europe
            Industrial Revolution in Northern Europe was slightly slower than in France or the Low Countries. This was due to limited supply of British entrepreneurs in Northern Europe. In the earlier stage of Industrial Revolution only Finlayson is known as British entrepreneur who had significant influence.

IV.5 Central Europe

IV.5.1 John Thornton
            In 1800, John Thornton started to influence the development of the Industrial Revolution in the Habsburg dominions by supplying machines for spinning cotton, wool and flax. The weaving industry had drastically developed under Thornton in early 19th century. Owing to Thornton, Bohemia was significantly more developed in spinning and weaving of cotton than in other parts of the Habsburg Dominions. (22)

IV.5.2 John Heywood, James Longworth
            The Swiss government persuaded two English entrepreneurs, John Heywood and James Longworth to settle in Switzerland. They assisted in setting up Machine Spinning Cotton Company in 1801. Although Switzerland was late in industrializing, due to the two entrepreneurs, they did succeed in spinning and weaving on their own. (23)

IV.5.3 Others
            Other British entrepreneurs in the Austrian dominions in the 1830¡¯s who deserve mention are L. Thomas at Graslitz, R. Holmes at Neudeck, David Evans and Joseph Lee at Prague, and so on. In Switzerland, several other entrepreneurs existed. One of them, Richard Hilles was known as "the first Anglo-Swiss trader". (24)

IV.5.4 The Contribution of British Entrepreneurs and Engineers to the Spread of the Industrial Revolution in Central Europe
            British entrepreneurs in Central Europe greatly influenced industrialization in terms of textiles, iron, and transportation. The spread of Industrial Revolution in Central Europe was comparatively slower than other countries. However, government policies in Central Europe have fostered the industrialization.

V. Analysis
            This chapter would focus on influences that British entrepreneurs have exerted on Industrial Revolution in Continental Europe. The result of the influences, especially on the difference in the date of start of Industrial Revolution in several countries, would be discussed in this chapter.

V.1 Motives for British Entrepreneurs
            There exist several motives which prompted the immigration of several British entrepreneurs. Those motives include economic hardships, religious persecution, foreign governments¡¯ offers, and so on. These motives could be divided into two categories. First category is internal motives which are motives caused by entrepreneurs themselves or the situation in Britain. The second group is external motives which are motives which come from outside the entrepreneurs.
            Those two different kinds of motives are important criteria in separating entrepreneurs who immigrated to Continental Europe.

V.1.1 Internal Motives
            Internal motives are what initially made British entrepreneurs emigrate to Continental Europe. There are several different kinds of internal motives for British entrepreneurs such as maturity of industrialization in Britain, search for profit, and so on.
            When Great Britain¡¯s industrialization was reaching maturity, there was not as much job opportunity for entrepreneurs. Although some entrepreneurs were eager to start their business, there were too much competition and could not enter the market. That was why several entrepreneurs searched for a market that was not crowded: Continental Europe.
            Less competition and more profit was another motive which made the entrepreneurs move. Although the entrepreneurs in Britain did manage to get a lot of profit, some were eager for more and were intrigued by the opportunities Continental Europe had. They were especially interested how there was little amount of competition in Continental Europe compared to Britain.
            Conflicts with the domestic government were another important factor which made British entrepreneurs flee to Continental Europe. Several tax systems along with problems regarding patents have consistently caused British entrepreneurs to be disappointed with the government and thus consider starting off their business in Continental Europe where better conditions were offered by the foreign government and lesser competition existed.

V.1.2 External Motives
            External motives are those which are not caused by entrepreneurs themselves but by others such as foreign governments. Those motives were caused later compared to internal motives.
            Offers from foreign governments¡¯ were the main external reason which prompted the immigration of British entrepreneurs. Wanting the economic prosperity that Britain was experiencing after industrialization, several foreign countries offered better environment and better market for British entrepreneurs. Some of them succeeded in doing so, attracting several entrepreneurs and starting off their own industry. Some of those industries even went as far as to threaten the original in Britain.

V.2 Classification of British Entrepreneurs
            In the previous chapter, a criterion for dividing British entrepreneurs: type of motives, have been discussed. If one classifies British entrepreneurs based on this criterion, one can see that there exists uniformity in the result.

Chart.1. Classification of Entrepreneurs based on motives and dates (25)
Entrepreneur Date of Emigration Motive
Low Countries O'Kelly 1720 Internal (Discrimination against the Irish)
Low Countries Cockerill Family 1797 Internal (Unemployment)
France John Kay 1749 Internal (Patent problems)
France John Holker 1750 Internal (Religious Persecution)
France Aaron Manby 1820es External
Central Europe John Thornton 1800 External
Central Europe John Hayward / John Longworth 1801 External
Northern Europe James Finlayson 1820 External
Germany John Cockerill 1820s External
Germany Thomas Mulvaney 1854 External

If we change the focus to dates and countries,

Chart.2. Relationship between motives and the date of immigration (26)
Internal Motives External Motives
France John Kay (1749) Germany John Cockerill (1820s)
John Holker (1750) Thomas Mulvaney (1854)
France Aaron Manby (1820s)
Low Countries O'Kelly (1720) Central Europe John Thornton (1800)
Cockerill Family (1797) John Haywood / John Longworth (1801)
Northern Europe James Finlayson (1823)

            One could see that the entrepreneurs who had internal motives rather than external motives were relatively faster when it comes to the date for immigration.

VI. Conclusion
            Seeing Great Britain¡¯s prosperity after Industrial Revolution, several countries in Continental Europe wanted to emulate Great Britain. However, those countries lacked necessary technique and infrastructure. Therefore the need for British entrepreneurs got higher and higher.
            Thus, several countries started to lure British entrepreneurs by applying higher tariffs and offering better conditions for the entrepreneurs. However, even though several countries have offered similar conditions, industrialization did not happen simultaneously in Continental Europe.
            Two conclusions could be drawn:
            1) Countries which were relatively closer to Britain were faster when it comes to Industrial Revolution
            2) Difference in the motives for immigration was related to the difference in the date of start of Industrial Revolution
            - At first, internal motives were the primary reason why British entrepreneurs immigrated to Continental Europe
            Entrepreneurs, obviously, started going to countries that were relatively closer to Britain
            Industrialization started faster for those countries which were closer to Britain
            - The countries which were relatively far had to offer better conditions if they were to have English entrepreneurs work in their countries.
            External motives were main reasons for entrepreneurs who immigrated to relatively far countries

(1)      Teich 1996 pp.13-36.
(2)      Henderson 1972 pp.1-10
(2a)      Henderson 1972 pp.1-10
(3)      "Entrepreneur." Wikipedia
(4)      "Industrial Revolution." Wikipedia
(4a)      Henderson 1972 pp.1-10
(5)      Henderson 1961
(6)      Henderson 1972 pp.11-13
(7)      "John Kay (Flying Shuttle)." Wikipedia
(8)      Henderson 1972 pp.14-16
(9)      Henderson 1972 pp.37-76
(10)      Henderson 1972 pp.10-76
(11)      Henderson 1972 pp.10-37
(12)      Henderson 1972 pp.102-138
(13)      de Prados 2004
(14)      Henderson 1972 pp.102-138
(15)      Henderson 1972 pp.102-138
(16)      Henderson 1972 pp.102-138
(17)      Veblen 1990, Kocka 1999
(18)      Teich 1996 pp.95-126.
(19)      Henderson 1972 pp.179-193
(20)      Henderson 1972 pp.139-166
(21)      Singleton 1998, "James Finlayson (Industrialist)." Wikipedia
(22)      Henderson 1972 pp.194-210
(23)      Henderson 1972 pp.194-210
(24)      Teich 1996 pp.226-246, Henderson 1972 pp.194-210

Bibliography The following websites were visited in June 2010

1.      Henderson, W. O. Britain and Industrial Europe 1750-1870: Studies in British Influence on the Industrial Revolution in Western Europe.. Leicester: University, 1972. Print
2.      Teich, Mikulas, The Industrial Revolution in National Context Europe and the USA. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 1996. Print.
3.      Henderson, W. O. The Industrial Revolution on the Continent: Germany, France, Russia, 1800-1914. [London]: F. Cass, 1961. Web. .
4.      Veblen, Thorstein. Imperial Germany and the Industrial Revolution. New Brunswick (U.S.A.): Transaction, 1990. Web. .
5.      Kocka, Jürgen. Industrial Culture and Bourgeois Society: Business, Labor, and Bureaucracy in Modern Germany. New York: Berghahn, 1999. Web. .
6.      Singleton, Frederick Bernard., and Anthony F. Upton. A Short History of Finland. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 1998.
7.      Falkus, Malcolm E. The Industrialisation of Russia, 1700-1914,. [London]: Macmillan, 1972. Print.
8.      Camijn, Aart J. Een eeuw vol bedrijvigheid: de industrialisatie van Nederland, 1814 - 1914. Utrecht U.a.: Veen, 1987. Print.
9.      Prados, Leandro de, and Patrick Karl. O'Brien. Exceptionalism and Industrialisation: Britain and Its European Rivals, 1688-1815. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge, 2004.
10.      "Entrepreneur." Wikipedia. Web. 28 July. 2011. .
11.      "Industrial Revolution." Wikipedia. Web. 30 July. 2011. .
12.      "John Kay (Flying Shuttle)." Wikipedia. Web. 30 July. 2011. .
13.      "James Finlayson (Industrialist)." Wikipedia. Web. 30 July. 2011. .

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