Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Machine-breaking
(758 words)

Machine-breaking refers to the destruction of machines as a form of social protest. The phenomenon is attested going back to the early modern era but was most associated with early industrialization. Machine-breaking is attested in contexts in which the introduction of the new machines was interpreted as squeezing out (often highly skilled) human work, especially in the textile industry, but also in metal-working and agriculture.

Machine-breaking reached its initial high point in England in the second half of the 18th and the early 19th centuries. The Luddi…

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Buchner, Thomas, “Machine-breaking”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 18 November 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_023747>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801



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