From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification

  title={From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification},
  author={Warren D. Devine},
  journal={The Journal of Economic History},
  pages={347 - 372}
  • W. Devine
  • Published 1 June 1983
  • Engineering
  • The Journal of Economic History
The shift from steam to electric power in manufacturing is recounted. Between 1880 and 1930 the production and distribution of mechanical power rapidly evolved from water and steam prime movers with shaft and belt drive systems to electric motors that drove individual machines. The use of electricity reduced the energy required to drive machinery, but more important, enabled industry to obtain greater output per unit of capital and labor input.Reduced energy needs and increased productivity in… 

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