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“Red-hot iron, white-hot iron, cold-black iron; an iron taste and iron smell, and a Babel of iron sounds.”

-Charles Dickens

Introduction to industrialization

Industrialization is the key to the Victorian economic system. Though it’s possible to survive on an agrarian economic system, your country will go nowhere. All players seeking to achieve or keep Great Power status must industrialize.

There are three aspects to successful industrialization.

Factory construction


The first aspect is the construction of factories. As mentioned previously (see section “The Map”), this is done at the state, not provincial level. To construct a factory, open the particular state’s information screen. At the bottom, there will be a button allowing you to build a new factory. Factories cost a certain amount of raw material to build. Many nations start out with a certain amount of these raw materials—lumber, cement, and steel—and with a small stockpile of machine parts. Use them wisely, especially the machine parts. Many nations do not begin the game with machine parts.

When choosing what factories you wish to build, try to keep in mind the various prices and uses of the products you are considering making. For example, in the early game, steel is a well-priced commodity considering how cheap it is to produce. Keeping this process in mind can help you quickly amass enough cash to continue industrialization.

Also keep in mind the system of vertical production. By this I mean the way that one factory uses the products produced by another. For example, let’s say you take timber and turn it into lumber in a Lumber Mill. You can then take that lumber and use it in a Furniture Factory to make furniture, a generally highly-priced good. That furniture can then be used to manufacture luxury furniture in a Luxury Furniture Factory. Luxury furniture, situated as it is at the top of a long vertical production chain, tends to be very highly priced and thus very valuable to sell. As a rule, remember that the longer the production chain, the higher-priced the goods towards the top tend to be.

Most factories are able to be built once the technology Freedom of Trade has been discovered, although there are some that cannot be built until later (Telephone and Automobile factories, for instance) and some that can be built before (Liquor Distilleries, Wineries, and Glass Factories). Note that most uncivilized nations start the game without having discovered Freedom of Trade.

POPs and how they affect production


Once you have built your factories, you want to ensure that they actually produce things that you can sell. This brings us to the second aspect of successful industrialization — POPs.

You need POPs to run your factories for you. They are the labor that runs the machines, the strength behind your economy. There are two kinds of POPs that work in factories—Craftsmen and Clerks. Craftsmen do not need Clerks with them in a factory; they can run it on their own. Clerks, on the other hand, cannot run a factory on their own, and, in fact, there is a limited number of Clerks you can put into a factory. You must have at least one Craftsman for each Clerk in a factory; there cannot be more Clerks than Craftsmen in any particular factory at any time and you cannot have more than two clerks per level of the factory.

Unemployed Clerks and Craftsmen will automatically be placed into newly constructed factories as soon as they are complete, but eventually, you will run out of unemployed workers and will have to convert more. You should take these new workers from the ranks of the Farmers and Laborers of the state. To convert another type of POP into a Craftsman or a Clerk (or, in fact, into most other kinds of POPs), simply click on their specific box and then click the button that says “Convert to [insert POP type of your choice here]”. If you have enough of the required goods in stock, the POP will be converted immediately and will be auto-assigned to a factory at once.

But not all POPs are equal when it comes to factory assignment. As you will recall, all POPs come in sizes between 1 and 100,000. Obviously, a thirteen man POP is not as good in a factory as an eighty-five thousand man POP, but the differences are slightly more esoteric than that. Rather than having a set value increase in proportion to the size of the POP, there is instead a system based around several POP size thresholds.

Before you can understand this concept you must understand the idea of production efficiency. Factories do not start out running at maximum possible capacity. There are, in fact, several discoveries that increase the output of the factories using their efficiency as a modifier. POPs also have efficiencies for production based on their sizes:

POP production efficiency by size
Headcount Efficiency
1 – 499 33% efficiency
500 – 19,999 50% efficiency
20,000 – 49,999 75% efficiency
50,000 – 100,000 100% efficiency

So a fifty-thousand person POP produces exactly as much as a hundred-thousand person POP, which is three times the amount of a three-hundred person POP. Note also that POPs of non-National Cultures are half as efficient than those of your National Culture(s).

POP efficiency is also affected by literacy level. The values listed here assume that all factors, therein literacy, are maxed. At 0% literacy Craftsmen efficiency is half of that. The formula is: Craftsmen efficiency = 50% + (literacy/2). Clerks get an additional 50% efficiency bonus. The formula is: Clerk efficiency = 100% + (literacy/2).

For example, France, which begins the Grand Campaign with a thirty-two percent literacy rate, will, at the outset, have Craftsmen that can operate at a max of sixty-six percent efficiency [50% + (32%/2) = 66%], assuming their efficiency has already been maximized through all other means. Clerks will operate at a max of one hundred sixteen percent efficiency [100% + (32%/2) = 116%].

You can see how efficiently a factory is running when you have it's screen open. You'll see white and grey number under the icons showing the factory's intake and output of goods. The grey number is the default efficiency while the white number is the actual efficiency. For much of the game your white output number will be lower than the grey output number untill you have maximum railroads and large, high literacy, state culture pops working there.

Railroads and infrastructure


Managing POP sizes is not the only way to improve factory efficiency. This brings us to the third aspect of successful industrialization—railroads.

Railroads are the last link to gaining the highest possible factory efficiency because, unlike POPs, their efficiency increases over time with new technologies. There are several levels of railroad in the game, and each successive level further improves the efficiency of your factories. To build a railroad, simply go to the information screen of the province in which you wish to build the railroad and click on the button beneath the picture of the current transportation type (for almost all nations in the start of the game this should be a horse-and-carriage). Assuming you have the requisite materials in stock and researched the required technology, the railroad will immediately begin construction.

In order to receive the benefits of railroads, they must cover one province in the state in which the factory is situated. Otherwise, they will not be effective. The average railroad efficiency of the state is calculated and used for factory purposes; the more railroads you have in the state, the higher the efficiency. Never forget the importance of railroads in improving factory efficiency; it can make all the difference in the world in the later game. Besides, railroads are always a good investment because they also allow your troops to move across your territory much more quickly than they otherwise could.