Articolo premiato con “The Abbot Payson Usher Prize” 2007 della Society for The History of Technology “awarded to the author of the best scholarly work published during the preceding three years under the auspices of the Society for the History of Technology” This article aims at offering a contribution to understanding the institutional context and the economic conditions which determined the mobility of the craftsmen, trying to identify some of the potential factors of attraction and repulsion that regulated the movement of the skilled workforce in Northern Italy between the 16th and the 18th centuries, where there were neither relevant migrations of craftsmen caused by religious persecution nor institutionalised forms of mobility for journeymen. It also explores how the interaction between the urban craft guilds and the legislation regarding patents created an institutional structure, which favoured the spread of technical knowledge through the mobility of human resources in the production sector of consumer goods. However, such an institutional context was not sufficient to ensure that the transfer of technical knowledge was successful: the existence of an often semi-clandestine network, which allowed emigrant craftsmen to renew their supplies of raw materials, semi-finished goods and equipment, was equally a determining factor in the consolidation of manufacture based on a technique imported from outside. Finally, it discusses the changes that came about in the course of the 18th century when the objective of the competition between production centers was no longer that of acquiring secrets relative to the production process but, instead, the adoption of product innovations subject to strong market demand. The choices of the consumers were in fact ever more conditioned by the caprices of fashion which had become the arbiter of good taste in many sectors, from cloth to clothing, from earthenware to furniture.

Guilds, Patents and the Circulation of technical Knowledge. Northern Italy during the Early Modern Age

BELFANTI, Carlo
2004-01-01

Abstract

Articolo premiato con “The Abbot Payson Usher Prize” 2007 della Society for The History of Technology “awarded to the author of the best scholarly work published during the preceding three years under the auspices of the Society for the History of Technology” This article aims at offering a contribution to understanding the institutional context and the economic conditions which determined the mobility of the craftsmen, trying to identify some of the potential factors of attraction and repulsion that regulated the movement of the skilled workforce in Northern Italy between the 16th and the 18th centuries, where there were neither relevant migrations of craftsmen caused by religious persecution nor institutionalised forms of mobility for journeymen. It also explores how the interaction between the urban craft guilds and the legislation regarding patents created an institutional structure, which favoured the spread of technical knowledge through the mobility of human resources in the production sector of consumer goods. However, such an institutional context was not sufficient to ensure that the transfer of technical knowledge was successful: the existence of an often semi-clandestine network, which allowed emigrant craftsmen to renew their supplies of raw materials, semi-finished goods and equipment, was equally a determining factor in the consolidation of manufacture based on a technique imported from outside. Finally, it discusses the changes that came about in the course of the 18th century when the objective of the competition between production centers was no longer that of acquiring secrets relative to the production process but, instead, the adoption of product innovations subject to strong market demand. The choices of the consumers were in fact ever more conditioned by the caprices of fashion which had become the arbiter of good taste in many sectors, from cloth to clothing, from earthenware to furniture.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11379/24823
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