China kiln fact of the day

At around the time of the Industrial Revolution:

Pottery, for instance, was manufactured in both England and China. The
design of the kilns differed greatly, however. English kilns were cheap
to build but very fuel inefficient; much of the energy from the burning
fuel was lost through the vent hole on the top (Figure 4). The typical
Chinese kiln, on the other hand, was more expensive to construct and,
indeed, required more labour to operate. Figure 5 shows how heat was
drawn into the chamber on the left and then forced out a hole at floor
level into a second chamber. The process continued through many
chambers until the air, by then denuded of most of its heat, finally
exited up a chimney. In England, it was not worth spending a lot of
money to build a thermally efficient kiln since energy was so cheap. In
China, however, where energy was expensive, it was cost effective to
build thermally efficient kilns. The technologies that were used
reflected the relative prices of capital, labour, and energy. Since it
was costly to invent technology, invention also responded to the same

Check out the accompanying sketch, from a short essay by Robert C. Allen, drawn from his new book The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective.  The bottom line seems to be this:

Success in international trade created Britain’s high wage, cheap
energy economy, and it was the spring board for the Industrial

Here is what WolframAlpha gives you for "Industrial Revolution."


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