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Growth and Transition in the Cleveland Iron and Steel Industry, 1850 to 1914.

JAMES, STEPHEN (2013) Growth and Transition in the Cleveland Iron and Steel Industry, 1850 to 1914. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The dramatic expansion of the iron industry in Cleveland from 1850 propelled the district briefly to the position of the world’s largest iron-producing centre and brought about the formation of a major industrial cluster in a previously unindustrialised area. By the end of the 1870s, however, its prosperity was threatened by developments in steel-production technology and the growth of iron and steel output in the US and Germany. The first part of this thesis examines the initial development and early expansion of the industry. Using a data set of firms that entered the iron and related sectors between 1850 and 1880, the study assesses the contribution of business networks to growth. It is suggested that an important part was played by an existing network of Darlington-based Quaker business interests, and that development may have taken a different form without the presence of the network. The second part investigates the transition of the industry from the 1870s to 1914 to determine how effectively the district’s firms responded to significant changes in technology, international competition, corporate legislation and financial markets. The study finds that some firms did adapt and grow, and the district made the transition to steel successfully. Steel technology was adopted when technical and commercial circumstances allowed, and in particular the basic open hearth process was actively investigated from an early stage. Flexible use was made of the free availability of incorporation and of access to securities markets. An extended case study of one company, Dorman Long, illustrates the beginnings of the development of corporate enterprise in the industry.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Apr 2013 10:37

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