Download A Great Undertaking: Mechanization and Social Change in a by Jeff Hornibrook PDF

By Jeff Hornibrook

Jeff Hornibrook offers a different, microcosmic examine the method of industrialization in a single chinese language neighborhood on the flip of the 20th century. Industrialization got here overdue to China, yet was once finally embraced and hastened to assist the state's strategic and armed forces pursuits. In Pingxiang County within the highlands of Jiangxi Province, coalmining was once seasonal paintings; peasants rented mines from lineage leaders to paintings after the harvest. those traditions replaced in 1896 whilst the courtroom made up our minds that the county's mines have been crucial for industrialization. international engineers and chinese language officers arrived to set up the recent social and financial order required for mechanized mining, person who might switch issues for individuals from all degrees of society. The outsiders built a Westernized manufacturing facility city that sat uneasily in the current group. Mistreatment of the neighborhood inhabitants, together with the pressured buy of gentry-held houses and the mixing of peasants into factory-style hard work schemes, sparked a sequence of rebellions that wounded the empire and tore on the cloth of the group. utilizing tales present in memoirs of elite chinese language and international engineers, correspondence among gentry and robust officers, travelogues of yankee missionaries and engineers, in addition to different assets, Hornibrook deals a desirable background of the social and political results of industrialization in Pingxiang County.

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Sample text

The handheld crank could require eight to ten men to operate in order to bring the heavy mineral to the surface. In some cases, in fact, the windlass was also used as a crude elevator for workers who stood in the basket on their way into the mine. 47 For instance, in places where vertical shafts had to be excavated so deep as to hinder output, some miners excavated horizontal adits instead. These mines cut into the mountain from the face and directly exposed a single seam. Not only did this method at times improve the chances of extracting lower and more lucrative seams, but it allowed the workers to walk in and out of the adit without the use of ladders or windlasses.

66 And to this end, tea merchants frequently used this route to sell their product in the Xiang River valley markets. 67 While tea farmers had some success selling their product in Hunan and Hubei provinces, coal miners did not. 68 Many potters in China consumed coal rather than wood to fuel their kilns because the heat provided was as high as and attained more quickly than wood. For this reason, the availability of Pingxiang County’s bituminous provided a potential alternative to felling the forests for porcelain manufacture.

However, trade in high-grade bituminous coal did not take off as a regional commodity. Indigenous development of coal sellers and buyers did not lead to new strategies for trade or transportation or to avenues of investment or mass marketing. Rather, even in the nearby lucrative markets of Hunan Province and in the international market city of Shanghai, the demand for 30 A Great Undertaking coal did not reach the mines of Pingxiang County. Rather, both markets remained content with less costly items that employed labor-intensive rather than capital-intensive production.

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