The first government request for an account of manufacturers was made official by congress in 1810.  However, the attention and detail given to the Federal Manufacturers Schedules grew over time as the industrial revolution progressed.

What began as an inquiry into a small number of operations eventually became a highly categorized account of manufacturers and their goods produced.

1810 Manufacturers Schedule

The original act of congress regarding manufactures asked for an accounting of the “several” manufacturers in the country.  Because there were no further instructions about what information to collect or how to present the data, the information is recorded as short comments within the regular 1810 census schedules.

Examples included a manufactures name and how many sheep and spinning wheels he owned.

1820-1860 Manufacturers Schedule

During the period of 1820-1860, smaller operations which produced less than $500 worth of goods were no longer included.  However, the manufacturers schedule was not taken with every census.

Manufacturing information was collected in 1820, 1850, and 1860.  The increase in the significance of industry is apparent in the detail of information collected:

  • name of the manufacturer
  •  type of business or product
  • amount of capital invested
  • quantities, kinds, and value of raw materials used
  • quantities, kinds, and value of product produced annually
  • kind of power or machinery used
  • number of men and women employed
  • average monthly cost of male and female labor.

1870-1880 Manufacturers Schedule

As industry became a more dominant part of the economy, the amount of detail gathered in each census increased. While the 1870 census brought a slight increase of information the 1880 census introduced supplemental schedules for specific industries.

Title Changes

The title of the manufacturers schedule will be different depending on the year.  From 1850 to 1870, the manufacturers schedule was called the “industry schedule.”

The purpose was to collect information about manufacturing, mining, fisheries, and mercantile, commercial, and trading businesses with an annual gross product of $500 or more.  However, in 1880, the title was changed again to “manufacturers schedule.”

Where to Find Manufacturers Schedules

The original schedules, deposited in the National Archives (Record Group 29), have been microfilmed with an index on each roll (M279, twenty-seven rolls).

The Southeast, New England, Central Plains, and Mid-Atlantic regional archives of the National Archives have copies of the series.

The schedules have been arranged alphabetically by county within each state to make research easier.