Child work in calico factories: Barcelona, 1768-1800

Authors

  • Martín Iturralde Valls Universitat de Barcelona

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1344/rhi.v26i68.21299

Keywords:

Child labor, calico, Barcelona, family economies, Early Modern Period

Abstract

Although the predominant literature usually places the origins of child exploitation on a large scale in the Industrial Revolution, the study of some forms of child labor in pre-industrial societies opens up new perspectives. This article analyses child labor in Barcelona calico factories during the eighteenth century and shows how some of the changing trends attributed to the Industrial Revolution, in fact, had already begun much earlier in this area of manufacturing. The article draws upon wages books, manufacturing correspondence, technical treaties, industrial statistics and the press as sources, and the results show that the great flexibility of child labor was the main attraction for factory owners, whose needs were changing and diverse. Other aspects, like high expectations of professional training and the contribution to households were other major causes of child labor exploitation in calico factories.

Published

2018-01-25

Issue

Section

Articles