Illustration of the English machine wreckers of 1812 Source: Penny Magazine, 1844

A historic factory building, lovingly preserved workers' houses and factory owners' villas or carefully restored steam engines - all this is included in the term industrial heritage. What all these things have in common is their stasis. Seemingly unalterable, they convey architectural pleasure, romantic insights and technical fascination. But the topic of "technology and machines" in the industrial context is about something absolutely dynamic, about an unprecedented transformation process. It means nothing less than the transition from an agricultural to an industrial mode of production.


Streikposten 1910 Source: Dornbirn town archive

You are required to go and do some research in you local area/community and see which traditional sectors and industries declined because of the introduction of machines and innovations. An example could be tailors who used to sew by hand may have been impacted due to the popularity of sewing machines.


You are to read the essay titled 'Technology, Machines and the Transformation of the world' included in the resources section and research into some of the examples shown in the essay to do your own example of how technology has transformed communities heritage.



We can enjoy our industrial heritage as wonderful monuments. But we can also tell other stories. Narratives about technical innovations, about people and about transformation. By doing so, we change the perception of our world.


Learning Outcomes

  • Reading “Technology and Machines. The transformation of the world” invites the reader to discover, explore and understand his/her own history and offers impulses for further reflections on current developments in our society.

Knowledge Acquired

  • After having followed the text, the trainees should have an idea of how to interpret industrial heritage and industrial histories.

Skills Acquired

  • The learner will develop analytical skills to interpret technical monuments and industrial heritage

Competences Acquired

  • The participant will be able to ask questions to see the transformation of society behind the static buildings.