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Järnhanteringens dynamik: Produktion, lokalisering och agglomerationer i Bergslagen
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]


This thesis explores early modern industrial dynamics and especially the long-term performance of iron production and its localisation in Central Sweden during the period 1368-1910. Iron production, iron export and localisation in a national perspective as well as the regional industrial development in Central Sweden during the period 1805-1910 are studied. The production and localisation changes of the industry in the early modern period were investigated by processing easily available but scattered data. The study of the iron industry in the period 1805-1910 was based census data on employment structure in the Central Swedish parishes in four benchmark years, 1805, 1855, 1890 and 1910 and was carried out with the help of statistical cluster analysis.

The first important result is that the Swedish iron export increased rapidly in the 16th the 17th centuries. This had to do with the breakthrough of bar iron which soon replaced the old form of iron called osmund iron. The export continued to increase up to the 1740s. From the 1740s there was stagnation till the 1820s when an expansion commenced and in the rest of the period under study the export grew fourfold. The distribution of iron production showed variations as to geographical patterns over time and there were rather distinct chronological phases as well. An expansion of established ironworks and tilthammers commenced in the end of the 16th century and reached its highest annual average in the 1630s. The localisation of new establishments in the 16th and early 17th centuries was mainly concentrated to the interior of Central Sweden. The localisation became more and more scattered over the country in the early modern period. Thus, the tendency towards diffusion outside the administrative Bergslagen became more and more obvious in the 18th century with new ironworks and tilthammers in Northern and Southern Sweden. In the late 19th century the number of industrial parishes had increased and so had the share of employed in manufacturing industry. Furthermore, the industrial parishes were concentrated to a large cluster which covered the inner parts of Central Sweden. However, the analysis of industrial branches also showed a diversification where the wood, paper and pulp industries and above all the metal industries were fast growers. The metal industries also proved a geographical closeness to the traditional iron and steel industry

The second main outcome of the investigation has to do with the continuity concerning the localisation of the iron industry. The historical continuity and the confinement to a certain area are evident from the analyses of various localisation factors in which a number of logit-models were employed. The status of a parish as industrial at one time point was to a great extent decisive for its status as industrial at a later date. The existence of iron ore mining in the parish and if the parish was situated inside the institutional region of Bergslagen also enhanced the probability for it to be defined as an industrial community also long after the institutional regulation had been abolished in the 1850s. In a long-term perspective, the analysis revealed that there was a marked continuity between the early modern patterns of localisation of the iron industry and the localisation of the engineering industrial firms in the 20th century. However, the early modern localisation did not show a significant connection with the industrial parishes’ localisation in 1855, 1890 and 1910, which means that the results are not unambiguous.

The third main result of the study is that geographical vicinity of communities to others with industrial activities contributes to industrial growth. In this way industrial communities tend to concentrate geographically and thereby to form clusters. For 1855 this was not significant but for 1890 it was evident. For 1910 it was shown that if a parish had more than one neighbouring industrial community, the probability of its being industrial was great. In a long-term perspective it seems that agglomerations of industrial activities form an environment which can cope with episodes of increasing transformation pressure in a better way than isolated units. Geographical concentrations which, historically seen, are characterised by “industry in the air” have a high propensity to adapt to changes in the industrial environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Ekonomisk historia , 2007. , vii, 210s samt appendix 179s p.
Umeå studies in economic history, ISSN 0347-254X ; 35
Keyword [en]
iron industry, agglomerations, clusters, regions, parishes, localisation, early modern, regional industrialisation, employment structure, iron production, bar iron export, Sweden, Bergslagen, Central Sweden
National Category
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1133ISBN: 978-91-7264-330-7OAI: diva2:140326
Public defence
2007-06-01, S205h, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2007-05-11 Created: 2007-05-11 Last updated: 2009-10-01Bibliographically approved

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