Monday, December 27, 2010


I was very lucky in my early life to visit lots of factories; where they actually made things.  I saw cars, bottles, cookies, perfumes, vacuums, drugs, and TV tubes; the list goes on and on.  With every establishment there were hundreds of people bent to their tasks in every kind of environment.  I saw red matches being made in a factory that was built in the 1800's.  It was constructed as a match factory and was very, very safe.  There were no mistakes with such flammable material.

Recently, there has been a TV ad where a man wanders around a modern factory.  There are no people, only robots.  An incredible idea.  And I'm sure it's true.  After a few years I changed my direction and spent all my time in computer rooms and data entry areas.  It didn't matter where one went the basics were always the same.  Perhaps it was a harbinger of things to come, but of course, I didn't realize it at the time.  Incidentally the cleanest factory I ever went into, was the one in Havant, Hampshire where they made Tampax.  The noisiest factory I visited was the Rizla cigarette paper facility along the North Circular Road in London.  Low ceilings and machines that actually screamed.  It was dreadful.   I'm glad I saw the way things were made, but I imagine it's a lot nicer now.

The picture here shows the condition in which most of my early factories are now surely in.  Sad in a way.  The end of an era, but better for the workers to just supervise robots and lasers.

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