Structured by the State – infrastructure and communication in the era of industrialization

Session organizer/s: Björn Hasselgren and Jan Ottosson

Canals and the iron-industry during the early industrialisation era - state-supported growth policies in the making

Session: 3

Authors: Björn Hasselgren

Co-authors: NA

Abstract: Transportation systems evolve slowly over time. As new transportation and infrastructure technologies become available earlier slower and less capacity strong modes of transport are subsequently out-competed. Early stages of implementation of new transport technologies are generally characterised by high initial investment costs and risks, but also offer more efficient transportation flows, which can reduce transport costs and shorten transport times.

While being closely connected to national interests and state-intervention new transportation technologies are as a rule connected to private sector interests and entrepreneurial initiatives. Canals is one of the transportation and infrastructure technologies that exemplify the balance between such private sector initiatives and structuring measures taken by the state.

Canal project during the early stages of industrialisation in Sweden were in varying degree connected to specific business interests. In some cases, iron-industry interests were active in promoting a specific canal, in other iron-industry products were among the most transported as canal traffic was opened. The state often had the role of supporting private sector initiatives, but also strived to structuring the initiatives in a way that would support other policy initiatives and regulation e.g., in the iron industry. The paper will discuss how these structuring and supporting actions by the state were interrelated to the transportation systems and infrastructure.

The economy of freight transport on road: Interaction between bans and technical improvements of vehicles and road construction.

Session: 3

Authors: Jørgen Burchardt

Co-authors: NA

Abstract: The economic principle for hauliers is simple: put as much load on a vehicle as possible. This formula was easy to understand when road transportation was based on horse-driven transport. Using one or two horses inherently limited the load’s weight. This situation changed with the motorised vehicle. Engineers could build engines with considerable power, and factories could deliver heavy lorries. Since the early 1900s, vehicle regulations have sought to strike a balance. On the one hand, hauliers desire to drive larger and, therefore, more profitable vehicles. On the other, authorities must protect roads from the heaviest and, therefore, most damaging traffic. Caught between these two forces, politicians must promote development prudently, such that they follow the industry’s wishes somewhat but also withstand the pressure to dedicate vast sums to increasing the carrying capacity of roads. The desire for larger vehicles, likely never to be satisfied, will continue to be met by technical improvements in both the carrying capacity of roads and the suspension system of vehicles, together with complex regulations adopted to manage this new technology. Historically, authorities’ politics were based on both knowledge and experiments. For the first many years of road regulation, practical engineers gained experience from their daily life. A scientific understanding of the effect and degradation of different road constructions grew slowly, and only after some costly experiments. This paper shows the interaction between road and vehicle technology, the scientific perception of road damage and the political attitudes toward laws and regulations. Taking examples from Danish legislation, the paper overviews the international research on road damage and the political discussion in international forums, including the EU administration. After World War II, it quickly became apparent that international road traffic would increase sharply. In response, the United Nations established an international standard for road traffic, including standards for width and axle load rules. Other common European standards were developed as well. In 1984, EEC adopted a directive on the load and dimensions of heavy goods vehicles. The most significant change was a decision that the countries would allow an axle weight of 11.5 tonnes beginning in 1992. However, there were also calls for further increases in weight limits, and work began on allowing vehicles of unique roadworthy construction to have their limits raised. Air-suspended vehicles were known to be relatively gentle on the roads, and the availability of other gentle suspension systems was investigated as well. To put these conditions into relief, this paper shows concrete transport prices from the first slow two-tonne trucks to today’s fast-moving 56-tonne vehicles. Implications for the transportation network organisation are discussed, including the former need for large warehouses and the present need for just-in-time distribution centres.

The Formation of a New Republic: Steel Industry and Society 1871-1914

Session: 3

Authors: Stylianos Panagiotidis

Co-authors: -

Abstract: Economic nationalism has been a crucial aspect of the European economy during late 19th- mid 20th century, especially after the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian war in 1871, and the formation of the French Third Republic and the German Empire, since across the European continent, states are reinforcing their respective economies in order to bolster defense via tariffs, against the world market. The raison d’etre of this paper is to show light into the industrial components and social fabric of France after the Franco-Prussian War, and the subsequent Belle Epoque. The industrial factors being discussed are locomotives of the economy, such as steelworks, mines, and commercial (fleet) sectors. Regarding the socioeconomic fabric of the nation, broad factors, such as GDP growth, governmental spending, and infrastructure will be discussed. Secondly, social oriented factors, such as population growth, education access, disease mortality rates, and employment sectors will be presented, in order to identify the shifts and trends that formed in-between the Second Industrial Revolution and the Great War. Apart from the national developments, European and global data and indexes of the time are available, allowing for multi-leveled comparisons. On the European scale, the abrupt end of a prosperous era will be discussed, whilst on the global scale, the emerging balance between the New and the Old World could be presented.

Finally, the proposed paper is part of my PhD thesis (1st chapter). The first chapter focuses on the steel industry and social developments in France and Germany during the aforementioned period. The first half of the chapter (regarding Germany) will be presented as a paper in ESSHC 2023, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Public policies, electrification and electric vehicle adoption: A comparative case study of Chicago

Session: 4

Authors: Josef Taalbi

Co-authors: Alexandra López Cermeño

Abstract: This paper explores how policy changes affected the resilience of automobile manufacturers clusters in the early 20th century US. Although we know that the electric vehicle lost its share of the market by the 1910s, more successful electric vehicle clusters survived longer in specific areas, for example in Chicago. This research paper delves into what made Chicago stand out in terms of electric vehicle adoption as compared to similar cities. While electricity grids appear to have mattered greatly in promoting electric vehicle adoption, preliminary results suggest that infrastructural preconditions alone cannot explain the differences. Using quantitative and qualitative evidence we build a narrative of the key factors that explain Chicago’s long run electric vehicle adoption. We discuss potential lessons for policy, industrial organization, and infrastructure planning.

SAS and the Cold War

Session: 4

Authors: Jan Ottosson

Co-authors: Lars Fälting

Abstract: During the Cold War, the interaction between the civil aviation industry and the state was transformed in Western Europe. Contrary to many other countries, the SAS, had three states, Denmark, Norway, and Norway as owners, together with representatives from private interests as well. In this paper we investigate how two NATO-states and neutral Sweden, developed the interaction between the different national states and the civil aviaton company. We will trace the origins of the SAS company and the Cold War. We will especially discuss the interaction between the three states, and the role of the SAS. The interaction between the economic defense in Sweden and the SAS will be analyzed further.

The State as Gardener – the State as Structure

Session: 4

Authors: Anna Lindgren

Co-authors: NA

Abstract: The railway is one of the innovations that has influenced modern social development the most. When the first main lines began to be built in Sweden during the mid-19th century, cultivation was an integral component of the railway system, comprising aesthetic gardens, protective cultivation, and kitchen gardens. Despite the large areas and resources this cultivation demanded, our current knowledge about why gardens were established, and when attitudes towards them began to change, is surprisingly limited.

The aim of this paper is to discuss the results from my PhD-thesis “The State as Gardener: Railway Cultivation from the Art of Improving Nature to Bequest” (2022), with the purpose to analyse and discuss the events and ideals that characterised the rise and fall of the gardening organisation of the Swedish State Railways. Chronologically the study includes two key periods: the construction phase of 1855–1875 and the decline phase of 1955–1975. Archive material has been located by using the railway’s organisational system as a starting point. The method used to analyse archive material and published sources has consisted of text analysis, inspired by discourse perspectives and the theory of path dependence. With the concepts of modernity and place as points of departure, this paper discusses how the transition, from gardens being fundamental to the railway system to their being phased out from the organisation, can be understood and explained.

Gardens were among the perceived benefits of railways, where they played a key role when new places were created alongside the lines. During the construction phase of 1855–1875, railway gardens were characterised by the ideal of “the art of improving nature” (naturförsköningskonsten) and that of nation-building. The organisation and coordination of gardening, including for example plant nurseries and gardeners, was a fundamental railway activity. During the decline phase of 1955–1975, a performance-based realignment led to a focus on rationalisation and economic cutbacks. Post-war ideals of modernisation, a new rail policy, road transport and an increased emphasis on urgency all contributed to the declining role of the railways. Structure, order, aesthetics, progress and education were no longer expressed in the same way through gardens. Many places changed. Arenas where people once spent time now became areas to simply pass through.

How ideals influenced material expression, and the factors considered conducive for modernity, are discussed in the paper. Nineteenth-century industrial modernity provided the impetus for railway gardens. High modernity in the second half of the 20th century led to initial downsizing and eventually, in 1973 to the closure of the nurseries and revised tasks for the gardeners. Prior to the latter changes, “wills” were drawn up: assessments of existing gardens that were used to bequeath responsibility from a central to a local level. These changes in the State organisation and structures are also discussed in the paper.