Dr Chaloner considers economic history to be a branch of what the French call the historical sciences and believes that it is impossible to treat usefully of the rise, decline and metamorphosis of industries and economics without some consideration of the part played by the efforts of individual men and women in these processes. In this collection of essays, first published in 1963, he provides biographies of certain entrepreneurs, inventors and engineers together with historical surveys of some vital industries.
Part 1. People Sir Thomas Lombe (1685-1739) and the British Silk Industry. John Wilkinson, Ironmaster (1728-1808). The Canal Duke: Francis Egerton, Third Duke of Bridgewater (1736-1803). Samuel Crompton (1753-1827), the Inventor of the Spinning Mule. The Cartwright Brothers: Their Contribution to the Woollen Industry. McAdam the Roadmaker (1756-1836). Thomas Telford (1757-1834) and his Bridges. The Stephensons, Father and Son. Sir Henry Bessener (1813-98) and the Coming of Cheap Steel. Ludwig and Alfred Mond (1839-1930). Part 2. Industries The History of Paper. The Canning Industry. The History of Telecommunications. Bricks in the Building of Britain. The History of Cement. The Early History of Gas in Britain. The History of the Rubber Industry.