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Electric Power and Village Industries

Nature volume 130, pages 395396 (10 September 1932) | Download Citation



THE ‘Sofina’ (Société Financière de Transports et d'Entreprises Industrielles) controls a large number of industrial undertakings in all parts of the world. In its third annual report, interesting data are given of the rapid increase in the rate of the substitution of small electric motors in place of hand power in certain districts in France. In the St. Etienne district, for example, the small workshops have increased more than fifty times during the last seven years. The number of looms in 1925 was 214, but it has now increased to more than 11,000. In the Koanne district, the number of family weaving workshops has trebled in nine years. Home workshops for machining cycle parts have increased greatly all over France. It is pointed out that this substitution has enabled the family workshop to compete against the large factory. In the Jura department, communal workshops have placed four hundred electric lathes at the disposal of the woodworkers. This utilisation of electric power by cottages has an effect in keeping the country dwellers from drifting to the larger cities, and thus mitigates some of the social problems which many nations are finding so difficult at the present time. In Great Britain, the transmission system—the grid—will soon supply cheap electric power to several country districts. In these districts it will be possible to establish suitable village industries on a commercial basis. In time this should have the effect of easing the economic crisis. Probably training schools for craftsmanship will have to be established. If electric power is sufficiently cheap, small electric motors should enable the weaving industries to nourish in villages.

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