Abstract: Fashionable Productions: Cotton and the Industrialization of Milan

Monika Poettinger


In the last decades of the eighteenth century, as a fashionable production, cotton was subsidized by the Austrian as well as the French government in their respective rule over Lombardy. Mule Jennies and roller printers made their appearance in the first factories of Milan. Governments were appeased, but the much-desired cotton sector never really developed above the minimum size necessary to render mechanization profitable. What legacy did the fashionable cotton production leave at the eve of Restoration? Milan's first cotton manufactures served to insert the city in the European-wide circulation of human and entrepreneurial capital necessary to trigger the subsequent industrialization of the region.