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Chempark Dormagen - modern industrial plant (May 2007)

The industry looks at as part of the economy with the commercial extraction , processing and further processing of raw materials or intermediates to material goods .


The word industry came as a loan word from Latin ( Latin instruere , "(to) insert, prepare, erect, equip", Latin industrius , "lively, persistent") in France ( French industry ) in 1754 , which is where the meaning of "persistent, busy, hardworking". The Scottish economist Adam Smith took it over in his book The Prosperity of Nations (March 1776) as "industry", whose - poor - German translation by the London-based Johann Friedrich Schiller - a cousin of the poet Friedrich Schiller - to " Large-scale trade ”.


Characteristic features of the industry are the mass production of goods that are almost homogeneous with one another using standardized production processes that are characterized by division of labor , mechanization and automation . In 1876, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon understood industry as “the totality of those works which have the purpose of increasing the value of the raw materials offered by nature ... by means of technical operations; in the narrower sense one understands by this in particular the factory-like business enterprise ... ". In 1951, the business economist Erich Gutenberg came to the conclusion that the industrial production factors do not have to be divided arbitrarily, but rather have to be used in a certain ratio to each other ( production function of type B ). Today, industrial management understands industry to mean "commercial material goods production in the factory system". It thus belongs to the secondary sector in an economy .


In today's parlance, the term is sometimes applied to branches of the economy that do not belong to industry in the strict sense of the word, but rather to the service sector, such as " tourism industry ", " music industry ", " entertainment industry " or even " financial industry ". One reason for this is a mistranslation of the English word industry , which in addition to 'industry' can also mean 'branch' or 'branch of the economy'. There may also be the intention to devalue the relevant industries, e.g. B. in the sense of “now purely industrial mass production instead of individual art”. Conversely, such a reference can also positively highlight a high degree of automation and mechanization in the respective industry, for example in the " software industry ".

The term industry is also extended to sectors in which the classification as "industry" is a matter of opinion, for example in the case of the "mining industry" (rather assigned to the primary sector) or the "construction industry", which is more likely to be assigned to the handicrafts , a significantly lower level of mechanization and above all has a degree of automation and is characterized by a higher personnel intensity than the system intensity .

Industrial agriculture or agricultural industry refers to the use of industrial methods in the agricultural sector, which is controversial for environmental and animal welfare reasons.


The industrial history of different phases of the pre-industrial era (before 1770), the first modern industry (1770 to 1820), early industrialization (1820-1860), late industrialization (1860-1890) and industrialization (since 1890). The era of the digital revolution has existed since 1969 . The main causes of industrialization are important technical inventions and a rationalization of work organization .

The first pre-industrial approaches were already evident in the 16th century in the publishing system , which was characterized by the decentralized production of textiles that were manufactured by the so-called `` laid people '' at home and marketed centrally by the publisher. The publishers acted as merchants who coordinated production , “submitted” the capital ( pre-financing ) and were therefore initially called “Vorleger”, then “Publishers”. The next form of operation was the manufacture, with wage laborers centralized in workshops, mostly manual labor. They mostly produced luxury goods such as silk , porcelain , tapestries , leather goods and watches . The first factories were probably established in France after King Henry IV instructed every municipality in 1602 to set up a mulberry tree plantation and a silkworm farm . With the invention of the coking process in England by Abraham Darby II in 1735, it was possible to replace charcoal in the previous pig iron production and to intensify mining and the iron and steel industry . Benjamin Huntsman 1740 developed a process, the former cement steel in a crucible furnace remelt crucible ( cast steel ) and so freeing it from its slag residues. Both processes made a significant contribution to industrial development, initially in England.

Finally, after 1769, the factory emerged , in which the workers mainly used mechanical equipment . This was particularly true of the first Waterframe spinning machine , which in 1771 led to the founding of the world's first industrial cotton mill by its inventor Richard Arkwright in Cromford . England was considered a leading country in industrial development, and from 1775 it belonged to the wealthiest nations in Europe alongside France, Belgium and Holland .

Another invention sparked the emergence of the first modern industry. James Watt received a patent for his invention of the steam engine in January 1769 , which the textile industry initially used to drive textile machines . Their versatility ensured they were used in steamships ( Claude François Jouffroy d'Abbans ) in June 1783 , in mining for the first time in August 1785 in Hettstedt ( Carl Friedrich Bückling ) and in February 1804 in rail-bound steam locomotives ( Richard Trevithick ). As a result, shipbuilding , railway construction , the mining industry and the steel industry became industrialized . This development is considered to be the beginning of the age of the first industrial revolution , which transformed many agricultural states into industrial states through increasing industrialization . In England there were already 1500 steam engines for industrial production in 1821, which strengthened the country's status as the first and most important industrial state in Europe.

The main reasons for the early industrialization of Germany were, among other things, the establishment of the "Preußisch-Rheinische Dampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft" (forerunner of the Cologne-Düsseldorf Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt ) in October 1825, followed by the Rheinische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft in June 1837 and the Cologne-Mindener Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft in October 1843 . Ship and railroad construction benefited from this . At the forefront of railway construction was undisputedly the Borsig company , which produced its first locomotive in 1841 and its thousandth in 1858 and with 1,100 employees rose to become the third largest locomotive factory in the world. Johann von Zimmermann founded Germany's first machine tool factory in Chemnitz in 1848 . The most important branch of industry in Germany in 1850, with 45.5% of employees, was still the textile industry, whose share in 1959 was only 15.2%. In contrast, the metal industry grew from 10.8% (1850) to 33.4% (1959).

In the USA , the industrial revolution began relatively late, swiftly since 1850 and clearly recognizable after the Civil War from 1865. Here, too, the railways and the basic industries proved to be the pacemakers . Railways provided the industrial infrastructure , and energy provided industry with the basis of production. The 3,069-kilometer transcontinental railroad connection between New York City and San Francisco was completed on May 10, 1869, and frozen carriages have been bringing fresh meat from Chicago to New York since 1887 . John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870 to meet the enormous demand for oil. The incandescent lamp invented by Thomas Alva Edison in 1879 also made it possible to illuminate factories .

Werner von Siemens invented a powerful dynamo for generating electricity in 1866 , Nicolaus Otto invented the internal combustion engine in 1862, and in 1876 electric motors were available as drive units. The first usable steam turbines were developed by the Swede Carl Gustav Patrik de Laval (1883; principle of action ) and the Englishman Charles Parsons (1884; principle of reaction ). In 1891, Oskar von Miller succeeded in connecting industrial operations to remote power sources through the remote transmission of three-phase current, so that the choice for industrial locations could be made more independent of existing energy sources.

After Carl Benz in 1885, the automobile invented, intensified the industrialization significantly by 1897 starting in the US automotive industry , the 1913 Henry Ford's company's first permanent assembly line ( English moving assembly line ) began. As a result, Ford increased production eight times, so that he was able to reduce the price of his model Tin Lizzy enormously and increase wages at the same time . Frederick Winslow Taylor's research into the division of labor from 1911 onwards brought essential organizational insights into modern industrial operations. As early as October 1912, Friedrich Krupp AG had its employee Benno Strauss patented as the inventor of stainless steel , even though Harry Brearley was not celebrated as the inventor of stainless steel in Sheffield until August 1913 .

Assembly line production of computers at Cromemco , Mountain View , California (1983)

During the Second World War , many industrial companies - as far as it was technically possible - had to make their capacities available as an armaments industry ; this made them strategic targets for Allied air raids from May 1940. The German industrial plants , which were completely destroyed as a result , experienced rapid reconstruction in accordance with the latest technical standards from 1946 onwards . The increased competitiveness and the “ Made in Germanyproduct quality were the main reasons for the export growth supported by industry during the economic miracle . However, this was done at a flat level, because if real industrial production in 1936 is assumed to be 100%, it was 34% in the post-war year 1946, 40% in 1947 and 60% in 1948. Germany continued on its way as an industrialized state, because in 1950 industry achieved a turnover of 80 billion DM, followed at a long distance with 27 billion DM in handicrafts and 9.4 billion DM in agriculture.

The digital revolution is the period that has existed since 1969 and is characterized by the invention of digital technologies and the establishment of new industries . The development of the Internet since October 1969 promoted digitization , which Intel intensified in November 1971 with the first commercial microprocessor . Their microprocessor was also built into the Micral N microcomputer from February 1973, which is considered the forerunner of today's personal computer . This was followed, among other things, by the founding of Microsoft in April 1975, which concentrated on software production. The Apple II came on the market in April 1977 and had the basic features of a PC today. IBM , which had underestimated the development of medium-sized data technology , only brought out its first PC in August 1981. New cutting-edge technologies spread worldwide through the CD player and the compact disc (September 1981). In addition to digital sound carriers , digitization also captured image carriers ( photography , film ) with the help of the DVD released in November 1996 . The rapid IT industrialization brought by Motorola International 3200 in September 1991 the first digital GSM-enabled mobile phone indicates that the digital media added. It triggered a real mobile phone boom in Germany from 2000 onwards .

Business aspects

The growing importance of industry created a separate branch of science within business administration , industrial management . Co-founders are Max Haushofer Jr. ( Der Industriebetrieb , 1874; Grundzüge der Industrie- und Fabrik-Betriebslehre , 1879), Albert Calmes ( The Factory , 1906), Frederick Winslow Taylor ( The Basics of Scientific Management , 1911/1912), Enno Heidebroek ( Industriebetriebslehre , 1923), Max Rudolf Lehmann ( The industrial company , 1923) or Alfred Isaac ( The industrial company , 1930). Wilhelm Kalveram published the same-armed book in 1948, in which he describes, among other things, the characteristic features of the industrial company.

Industrial management works out the typical characteristics of industry, which tends to grow in size with high capital requirements due to high plant intensity ( large-scale industry ). Large-scale industry has some special features compared to small and medium-sized companies . This includes in particular questions of organization , cost reductions through the law of mass production , economies of scale and technology orientation . The business size effect is explained by the fact that large-scale industry is potentially able to produce more cost-effectively overall than small and medium-sized enterprises. According to the law of mass production, the proportion of fixed costs decreases with increasing capacity utilization per unit, resulting in economies of scale . If the increase in capacity leads to a reduction in costs, one speaks of economies of scale ( static economies of scale ). The storage risk can be reduced through just-in-time production , which can be supported by nearby industrial parks . High fixed costs require production in large quantities , which is more likely in big industry. Big industry often attracts larger market shares and more market power so that it can take the price leadership in some markets . At high technology orientation is also the technology leadership industry typical.

In Germany in particular, numerous medium-sized hidden champions and family businesses have established themselves in industrial market niches , which they serve successfully, particularly in the course of globalization and the associated supply chains, as well as high specialization and innovative strength. Over 63 percent of the 1,000 largest German family businesses can be attributed to industry.

Economic aspects

After the division of the Federal Statistical Office, there are the sectors agriculture / forestry / fishing , Manufacturing , Trade / Hospitality / Transportation and Services . Industry is part of the manufacturing industry and consists of the subsectors mining , processing industry , energy and water supply and the construction industry . The manufacturing industry in turn consists of the sub-sectors intermediate goods , capital goods , durable goods and consumer goods industries .

In 1979, the Federal Statistical Office defined industry as all institutions “whose economic activity consists primarily of generating or extracting electricity, gas, district heating and goods, or of treating or processing them in various ways, with the aim of producing other goods ". The arisen around 1980 concept of financial industry - which is actually the tertiary sector belongs - makes it clear that the Finance through standardization ( commoditisation ) its product differentiation in favor of relatively homogeneous financial products abandoned and industrial-type forms adopted.


Industrial production takes place worldwide in various branches of industry. Important classification systems for the division into the various industries are the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) of the UN and the Nomenclature générale des activités économiques (NACE) of the EU . Major industries include mining industry / heavy industry , metal industry (including iron and steel industry , hardware industry , machinery and equipment , automotive / vehicle construction , air - and space industry , shipbuilding industry , electrical industry , office equipment , radio - and television sets as well as precision engineering -, spectacles, watch industry ) Chemical industry (including mineral oil industry , cement industry , glass industry , plastics industry , paper industry , pharmaceutical industry ), recycling and waste industry , wood and cork articles , consumer goods / light industry (including food industry , tobacco industry , textile industry , clothing industry including fur and leather goods , furniture industry , toy industry , Printing industry and computer industry ).

International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC)

Industrial companies with the same or similar production directions are classified according to ISIC criteria in branches of production with the numbers 10 for food , 11 for beverages , 12 for tobacco products , 13 for textiles , 14 for clothing , 15 for leather and leather goods, 16 for wood and cork articles , 17 for paper goods , 18 for printed matter , 19 for coal , oil and nuclear fuel , 20 for chemical products , 21 for basic pharmaceutical materials and pharmaceutical preparations, 22 for rubber and plastic , 23 for non-metal , 24 for metals , 25 for metal goods , 26 for data processing equipment, electronic and optical products, 27 for electrical devices , 28 for machines and equipment , 29 for vehicles , 30 for other transport equipment , 31 for furniture , 32 for other goods and 33 for the repair and installation of machines and equipment (ISIC Rev . 4).

See also

Web links

Commons : Industry  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Industry  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikisource: Industry  - Sources and Full Texts

Individual evidence

  1. Gerhard Köbler , Etymological Legal Dictionary , 1995, p. 198.
  2. ^ Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations , 1776, p. 109.
  3. Adam Smith understood "utmost industry" as the greatest possible diligence of a worker.
  4. ^ Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 1876, p. 271.
  5. Erich Gutenberg, Fundamentals of Business Administration , Volume 1: Die Produktion , 1951, p. 318 f.
  6. Marcell Schweitzer, Industriebetriebslehre , 1994, p. 19.
  7. Peter Buxmann / Heiner Diefenbach / Thomas Hess, Die Softwareindustrie: Economic principles, strategies, perspectives , 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-71828-4 .
  8. Reinhold Sellien (Ed.), Dr. Gabler's Wirtschafts-Lexikon , Vol. 2, 1977, Col. 2110 .
  9. Karl-Werner Hansmann, Industrial Management , 2006, p. 17 .
  10. Wolfgang Kilger, Industriebetriebslehre , Volume 1, 1986, p. 11 .
  11. Reinhold Sellien / Helmut Sellien (eds.), Gablers Wirtschafts-Lexikon , 1980, Sp. 2061 f. .
  12. Gabriele Oepen-Domschky, Cologne economic citizen in the German Empire , 2003, p. 150.
  13. Walther G. Hoffmann , The growth of the German economy since the middle of the 19th century , 1965, p. 68 f.
  14. Peter Lösche (Ed.), Country Report USA , 2004, p. 81 f.
  15. Willi Paul Adams, The USA before 1900 , 2009, p. 100 ff.
  16. Wolfgang Kilger , Industriebetriebslehre , Volume 1, 1986, p. 12.
  17. ^ Henry Ford, Success in Life , 1952, pp. 94 ff.
  18. Werner Abelshauser, Economy in West Germany 1945-1948 , 1975, p. 35.
  19. Werner Abelshauser, Economy in West Germany 1945-1948 , 1975, p. 47 f.
  20. ^ Wilhelm Kalveram, Industriebetriebslehre , 1972, p. 19 f.
  21. Werner Pepels, Product and Price Management in Corporate Banking , 2006, p. 194 .
  22. Michael Kutschker / Stefan Schmid, Internationales Management , 2010, p. 435 .
  23. Birga Döring / Tim Döring / Wolfgang Harmgardt / Axel Lange / Kai Michaelsen, Allgemeine BWL , 2007, p. 13 .
  24. Die deutsche Wirtschaft, list of the 1000 largest family-owned industrial companies , accessed on October 24, 2018
  25. Federal Statistical Office, Systematics of Economic Branches , 1979, p. 39.