Pronunciation key

( faktə-ri )
( faktri )
( faktər·ē )



[plural. factories (-riz, -triz)] [Fr. factorie < facteur see FACTOR]

  1. Trading post where resident brokers trade.
  2. (after Port. feitoria), a trading settlement maintained by factors.
  3. An establishment in charge of factors or agents in a foreign nation.
  4. Building in which things are manufactured.
  5. A manufacturing plant, includes buildings and machinery. A manufactory.

Factory is derived from the word factor which means "one who makes," hence, a place where goods are produced. The term "factory" has came to being applied to establishments which manufacture various products intended for commerce. In this sense it includes machinery and buildings which are necessary for their manufacture.

The establishment of large factories is comparatively recent. It resulted from the invention of machinery and extensive subdivision of labor and construction of great avenues for commerce that facilitate transportation over long distance to consumers.

Advantages have came from the modern factory system including increased productivity due to division of labor, mechanical accuracy and overall reduced cost of production.

The systems commonly found in both Canada and the U.S. made it a necessity to regulate by law, the manner of operation in mines, workshops and factories. Legislation was enacted to improve working conditions where large numbers of workers are employed, through regular inspections and rigid rules for management. Among the primary goals of the legislation are the protection of life and health of the worker, and preventing the spread of infectious disease, including vermin through the manufactured product and the operators against strikes, disorders, and general disorganization.

Legislation has been concerned with the number of hours laborers may be legally employed daily or per weekly basis. Other objects have been to limit the labor of women and minors. Statutory provisions in some states forbid the employment of minors under certain ages.

See Eight Hour Day; Fair Labor Standards Act and Labor


  • Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (College Edition) ©1955
  • The New World Family Encyclopedia, ©1955
  • Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary, Comprehensive International Edition, ©1976
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary & Thesaurus, ©2004
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