But that very growth indicates that the
medium size of the factories and shops was very general, and the kind of
production as well. As in 1850, what stands out above all in Madrid industry at
beginnings of the century, is the production of articles of common and immediate
use: food products, clothing, furniture, and footwear.
If one considers the growth of sectors such
as chemical and metallurgical production, it would seem that leading edge
technology industries had indeed come to set up in Madrid, but this is but a
For the moment, what these industries also
produce are articles for consumer immediate use: soap, wax, mechanical parts.
In short, the city has grown in that half
century and with it, at its own pace, industry grows, but the size of the
installations does not change nor does the type of products. Nor, in fact, does
the structure of social classes change that rise to confront this industrial
And as for the production of luxury items,
the pattern is similar to that described by Madoz: porcelain and crystal,
household goods, tapestries, haute couture, jewelry, perfumes, carriages and
It is not really luxury but so it seems for
the city, to have a sector of graphic arts, which employ some six thousand
workers, and which confirms the importance of Madrid as capital of print, the
press and books.
It is not always the same for everyone. The
greater availability of ground and water permits a scattering of some large
factories in the expanded districts.
The footwear factory of José
Soldevilla, which gives work to 500 workers in the decade of the 70's, the
silver works plant which Meneses installs in the street called Don Ramon de la
Cruz, the foundry of Francisco López in the Paseo of Santa Maria de la
Cabeza, where soon are important the rail connections which convert the south
areas and the Arganzuela district in the first metallurgical works in Madrid.
The great Rivadeneyra Press, in the Paseo of
San Vicente; la Deliciosa, a plant for carbonated beverages, established in the
Paseo of Santa Engracia, which with Mahou, who sets up its great plant in the
street called Amaniel, satisfy the deeply-rooted taste of the madrilenians for
beer with lemonade.
Industrial production begins to take off and
on doing so, abandons the old quarter of the city and sometimes even the
township limits, as was the case with the Colonial plant and that of Matías
López, who took their famed chocolate factories to Pinto and to El
Shops and factories, and even high chimneys,
rise everywhere, thus breaking, for the first time, the homogeneous outlines of
the proto-industrial city.
With the new factories, there grow also the
installations of steam-driven machinery, not many yet to be sure, but in this,
as may be understood, the important thing is to begin. Madrid is doing it in
If in 1885 the driving force of its industry
was of some 2,500 steam horsepower, twenty years later, in 1905, it will be
26,000, an insignificant amount, to be sure, for a great capital but soon its
Pacific Electric Plant is installed in l899, and in two years more the Spanish
Hydro-Electric opens its doors.
One of the causes of the industrial
insignificance of Madrid, the lack or scarcity of energy, begins to grow less
severe, and although its effects will be felt strongly until end of the second
decade of the 20th century, there is sufficient energy for electric lighting to
be available in 1883 and so that electric tramways might replace mule-drawn
trams by the last year of the century.
In all, the majority of immigrants did not
come with hopes of finding work in shops or factories.
Those that escaped being taken into the
masses of the poor and the beggars who filled the streets of the city, had every
chance of gaining employment in domestic service or as day-laborers in
Especially at the beginning of the century,
one of every five persons was employed in domestic service, - about
40,000, of whom 32,000 were women - and this, until 1930, will continue
to be the largest "professional" group
for which Madrid offers work.
Abundant, cheap domestic labor, appropriate
to the cities of the Old Regime, still dominated the work panorama of the city
at the beginnings of the 20th century.
The enormous number of domestic servants
that leap to view in all the census records of Madrid, with their very presence
tell a tale of social success of that middle class sector that will finally
identify themselves as the bourgeoisie.
With the rise of commerce, the banking
systems, politics and literacy, the bourgeoisie of Madrid have arrived finally
at their zenith.
Its most representative and fortunate
members, - Manzanedo, de las Rivas, Sevillano, Ceriola, Santamarca -
some of them merchants in the times of Mendizábal, or officers of the
National Militia, merchants, capitalists or it may be, money-lenders or bankers
in times of queen Isabel I, revolutionaries in the '50's, or even one or another
from the September affair in the late 60's.
They have increased their patrimony by the
purchase of lands, and are now nobles of a new stamp, - dukes of Santona,
marquises of Alcañices - and they are proprietors of a part of the
wealth of the nobility, to whom they have granted loans to reorganize their
estates, and at the same time that themselves are rounding off their own,
increasing by real estate their growing patrimony, by their business of
merchandising and lending.
They are the protagonists of the social life
of Madrid, with sections appearing in the press in which they appear, their
names mixing with those of the aristocracy, of the new nobility of bourgeois
origin, and of the great names of business, politics and letters, all showing
the highest capacity of a society capable of incorporating the emerging elite
into their ranks.
Their aim never was to liquidate the
nobility but to plant their bases of power which would permit them to enter the
ranks of the nobility, either by marriage or by securing a title.
A porous society, surely, desirous of
incorporating for all the reasons that can be imagined, into the great fortunes
in the capital.
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