The Industrial Revolution in the broadest sense is considered to have occurred between the late 18th and early 20th centuries. This was a period of rapid advancement in manufacturing techniques and the system under which they were practiced. Machines began to replace hands for production work. Innovations in power, tools, metallurgy, and chemicals led to improvements and increased production in textiles—wool, cotton, and silk; steel—cheaper production and steel-framed buildings; and chemical products—fertilizers and synthetic materials. This production now took place under the factory system, where there was a division of labor among the workforce, and where manufacturing took place at a centralized location, as a large mill building or complex of such buildings.

Many, if not most, Industrial Revolution era factories ultimately met their demise because of further technological changes, product obsolescence, competition, or the Great Depression. Some of these structures were razed. Many have been repurposed into housing, professional offices, or unrelated commercial space. A declining number sit idle—weathered, decaying, and generally untouched by the helping hand of renovation. These structures are the ghosts of the revolution.

Ghosts of the Revolution

cyanotype, pigment ink
3½x3½ inches

pinhole camera