Catalan Historical Review, No 1 (2008)

The Mechanical Engineering Industry in Catalonia

Santiago Riera i Tuèbols

Abstract


After an introduction in which he gives a broad outline of industrialization in Catalonia and the Valencian Country, the author focuses on the manufacture of heavy machinery in Catalonia. This enables him to present the major factories which brought prestige to Catalonia, including Nuevo Vulcano, Alexander y Hermanos, and La Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima. The account he gives of the locomotives made by La Maquinista (Spain's largest locomotive manufacturer) provides an opportunity to define the modest scale of industrialization in Catalonia in comparison with other parts of Europe. The author considers that the obstacles that hindered the country's modernization were largely associated with excessive variety of output, brought about by deficient and relatively scarce demand, all of which accounts for the continual calls for protectionism made by Catalan industrialists.

Even so, the author concludes that the only parts of Spain where it is possible to refer to industrialization in the 19th and early 20th centuries, are Catalonia and the Basque Country.




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