Hugo Charlemont: Part of the ‘Emperor Franz Joseph’ archducal ironworks at Trzyniec near Teschen, drawing from the 'Kronprinzenwerk', 1897

The Production of Progress

The Industrialization of the Habsburg Monarchy


The nineteenth century: the age of inventions, industrialization and progress – but actual development did not take place in quite such a straight line.

In the course of the century machines, engines and factories made their appearance in the  Habsburg Monarchy and thus changed the methods of production, the type of products and the structure of the economy. There were considerable differences in the level of industrialization in individual regions, with the result that the Habsburg monarchy was often seen as backward. Emulating the industrialized states of Europe as much as possible was thus the aim of the emperor and his advisers, and they introduced a number of measures to promote economic and technological development. These ranged from importing foreign know-how to holding industrial exhibitions and founding museums. The last mentioned shows clearly that in the nineteenth century there was a close connection between the presentation of technological successes and the prestige of the ruling dynasty.

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