Until the collapse of the Ottoman State, Istanbul was the largest urban center of the Eastern Mediterranean with a sizable population comprised of members of the central bureaucracy, court, and the military. In order to meet the food, clothing, and sheltering needs of this population, resources in various regions of the country were tapped, while within the borders of the city important industrial activities were carried out by guilds, manufacturing workshops, and, beginning in the nineteenth century, factories.

In this chapter, the development of industry in Ottoman Istanbul will be discussed; first the industrial capacity of the city after the conquest will be considered, along with the industrial revival during reconstruction of the city that was led by sectors such as construction, food, and textiles, in parallel with the growth of the population. In addition to this development, Istanbul became a market for both essential manufactured goods and raw materials for other regions of the country, and with a traditional craft system that gained stability through the guilds, the city became an important industrial production center.

The craft guilds also will be discussed in detail, with special consideration of their key role in Istanbul industry until the nineteenth century. Accordingly, the influence of the ahî community (dervish-related guilds) on the formation of guilds, the general framework of the craftsman organization according to occupation, the internal organization of the guilds and their relations with the state as well as their positions regarding labor force, employment, and vocational training, and the gedik system will be examined. Another focus of the study is the manufacturing workshops, which were established for the military industry and for the textile, food, and construction sectors; during the same period, these workshops achieved full-scale production with high employment.

The fact that industry, which was shaped for years by traditional craft production and manufacturing workshops, could not compete against the European countries’ factory-style production that developed during the Industrial Revolution, was what led to a significant change in this traditional production system. Beginning in the 1800s, opening a large number of factories was regarded as a remedy for economic backwardness and led to an important transformation of Istanbul’s industrial structure. In addition, as a result of private enterprise that was initiated by the state, factories began to rise in various districts of Istanbul. Another important effect of industrialization efforts, outside of factories, was the opening of industrial schools and vocational training schools.

After looking at these nineteenth-century developments in the industry of Istanbul, Istanbul’s industrial legacy, which in the twentieth century passed from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic in the form of small-scale producers and factories, as well as the industrial structure in the last period of Ottoman Istanbul, will be examined in the final part of this article.


About 150 years after the Ottoman Empire was founded at the end of the thirteenth century, the Ottomans took an important step toward establishing an imperial identity by conquering Istanbul in 1453 and appropriating its lands. After being a part of an important civilization, that of Byzantium, Istanbul was introduced to Islam and the Turks and began a long period of being a capital city whose basic dynamics would be restructured. In order to put its stamp on this city and make it a symbol for all civilizations and religions, the Ottoman State, for the first time in this new era, initiated intense construction activity.

1- A view of Üsküdar, Istanbul and the port of Istanbul (Moreno)

After the conquest, Istanbul entered a concentrated process of construction and reconstruction, with the purpose of repairing war damage and also to establish a new Turkish-Islamic identity. This process of construction and reconstruction was characterized in the deed of trust for Sultan Mehmed I’s foundation as the “major jihad” (cihâd-ı ekber), as opposed to the “minor jihad” (cihâd-ı asgar) of the conquest of Istanbul, thus clearly illustrating the objectives and the importance the Ottoman administration gave to the city’s reconstruction.1 Apart from new construction, about 5,000 construction laborers were brought from the regions of Trabzon, Sinop, and Kastamonu to perform work such as repairing existing walls and restoring walls damaged during the conquest. In addition, many professionals were brought in from Kefe, Aksaray, Konya, Karaman, and numerous other regions of the empire. In terms of demographics and architecture, Istanbul had entered an important process of transformation.2

Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror made an important economic investment in this construction process, which was necessary for increasing the city’s population and reviving economic life, by having the Grand Bazaar (the Covered Bazaar) constructed. While the Grand Bazaar was constructed, other trade centers were revitalized. They included the Bedesten, the Bodrum Caravanserai, the old caravanserai at Tahtakale, the new caravanserai near Bedesten, Unkapanı (the Flour Hall), Tuz Ambarı (the Salt Depot), Memlahane (the Salt Works), Sabunhane (the Soap Factory), Cenderehane (the Textile Finishing House), Debbağhane (the Tannery), Sellahhane (the Armory), Boyahane (the Dyeing House), and Muytaban Kârhanesi (the Sackmakers’ Factory). For the city, the construction of all these buildings meant the revival of the construction sector and increased economic activity. Apart from the aforementioned large establishments and structures, the new capital city of Istanbul had acquired small-scale production units, as can be understood from the example of nearly 2,000 shops from the city’s many districts that some were dedicated to the Hagia Sophia alone.3

The main requirement for the development of a region’s economy and industry is the growth of the region’s population. With this understanding, the Ottomans brought in to the new capital a large number of people from the outside Just before the conquest Istanbul was at its lowest population in its history, between 10,000 and 40,000, but within twenty-five years it had doubled its population, and within a century after the conquest it had reached a population of 500,000, making it the largest city in Europe.

2- The tradesmen of lock makers in Istanbul (İntizami)

3- The tinsmiths in Istanbul (İntizami)

In addition to the population increase, and the new neighborhoods built for the settlement of this population, the palaces, mosques, markets, bazaars, etc., constructed to give the city a new look, along with public works activities, had brought about in Istanbul significant economic development.4 This economic development naturally entailed industrial development both in Istanbul and in surrounding regions. In addition to the revival of the construction sector, it is obvious that industrial production in every field, from food and textile to transportation and security, gained momentum in a city whose population had exploded over a short period, and the needs of the people (the basic accelerator of economic activity) also increased along with the fulfilment of those needs.

Although available records for early periods are limited, there are sufficient data to offer a general view of industry in post-conquest Istanbul. According to one of these sources, the Hagia Sophia Foundation Record Book from the year 1489, of the 661 shops operating in the Grand Bazaar, thirty-three were shoemakers, thirty-three were slipper makers, forty-four were cap manufacturers, fifty were felt makers, and seventy-six were jewelers. When we take into consideration the slaughterhouses established around the Golden Horn, the 360 tanneries around Yedikule, and the forty-four tanneries at Kasımpaşa, as well as the numerous leather processing centers in Eyüp, Ayvansaray, and Hasköy districts,5 it is obvious that an industrial production structure focused on the textile and food sectors prevailed in Ottoman Istanbul, as in all pre-modern societies of the fifteenth century. Other areas of production that reflected the industrial character of Istanbul in the early period of Ottoman rule were the military industry and the processing of precious metals such as gold and silver.

Another interesting resource making it possible for us to discern the industrial situation of Istanbul in the early post-conquest period is the names given to neighborhoods established in the conquest era. Accordingly, the city’s new authorities determined the names of many neighborhoods based on various occupations. The fact that we can find many neighborhood names identified with an occupation, such as Bozahaneler (boza shops) neighborhood in Eminönü, Debbâğîn (Tanners) neighborhood in Unkapanı, the Tanner Yunus Mosque neighborhood in Fatih, Demirciler (Blacksmiths) neighborhood, Urgancılar (Rope Makers) neighborhood in Galata, etc., reveals the importance of various occupations in the social and economic life of Istanbul in that period.6 As is seen in the case of Kazlıçeşme, where tanners in the leather trade were settled together after the conquest, the opening of a large number of leather processing centers and increased employment opportunities were what triggered the settlement. As a result, the settlement began to be an industrial production center with mosques, prayer rooms, public baths, fountains, dervish lodges, public fountains, and inns built in the region, which was diversified with religious and social institutions.7  


In the Ottoman Empire, the central state ascribed special importance to the provisioning of the capital city of Istanbul in terms of the achieving social, political, and economic order. One of the empire’s major challenges was to provide an uninterrupted flow of essential foodstuffs that were needed by the enormous population of Istanbul. Its large population was the reason why Istanbul became an important market in this period and what led to more intense interest in the city in terms of private investment and enterprise.

Thus it would be wrong to suppose that major economic places such as covered bazaars and bedestens, etc., were located in Istanbul simply because the state built them there. Having a counterpart in Istanbul on the verge of finding a market for the production and trade originated there stimulated of its own accord the flow of economic enterprises to the region. However, when we consider the limited transportation and communication capabilities before the Industrial Revolution, it is clear that it was impossible to sustain on its own the enormous population of Istanbul, in terms of both resources and economic activities. Not wanting to leave the capital to deal with such a problem on its own, the state took a measure designating Istanbul as the priority location to which surplus production from all other regions would be transferred. In this way Istanbul has always been a vibrant production and trade center, and in the economic sense, serving as a heart that on the one hand drew economic power from a very large part of the country and on the other hand, pumped strength into these regions.8

The central state tried to provide abundant and affordable consumer goods, giving priority and special importance to the smooth operation of Istanbul’s subsistence issue with practices such as allocation, export ban, price controls, and subjecting to approval domestic circulation of basic goods.9 In order to meet the city’s needs for basic consumer goods, industrial producers in places far away from Istanbul could also be directed by the state. For example, the state, wanting to conduct a problem-free transfer of soap needed by Istanbul, intervened in soap production in Izmir, Crete, Lesbos Island, Ayvalık, Edremit, Cunda Adası, Urla, and many other places and ordered the producers in those places to supply soap for Istanbul.10 The inability of the city’s food industry to feed the entire population was why wheat, rice, meat, and other basic foodstuffs were transferred to Istanbul from the Danube region, the Balkans, Western Thrace, the Black Sea, the Aegean coast, and Egypt.11

Regulation of the flow of goods and services to Istanbul had been conducted by merchants in the early days, but over time their efforts were not sufficient, and as a result of the state’s endeavor to create financial resources, in 1793 this task was assigned to the Ministry of Provisions as an autonomous institution. Compared with the industrial enterprises stemming from the Ottoman state’s efforts at industrialization, this institution, which was an economic state enterprise in the modern sense, was a gigantic enterprise, both in its volume of transactions and number of personnel, and it functioned with the objective of efficiently provisioning Istanbul.12

The importance given to the provisioning of Istanbul did not involve just the flow of goods and services from regions outside Istanbul; within Istanbul, government officials oversaw production in a meticulous manner and closely supervised these producers. This meticulousness led to serious consequences for offenders. In 1767, the grand vizier, while walking around incognito one day, had four bakers who had produced underweight bread punished with imprisonment, and in 1797, seven shoemakers who had sold overpriced shoes were exiled from Istanbul to Bozcaada.13


As is known, with the Industrial Revolution factories became the basic unit in the organization of industrial production. In this period, especially in industrialized countries, traditional trades and their organizations did not completely disappear, and although production continued, industrial production began to be identified with factories. When we consider that the importance of factory production began to be established as late as the nineteenth century, we see that before this period traditional craft production and tradesmen played important roles. The importance of their roles was even greater in countries such as the Ottoman Empire, which were not able to cover much ground in achieving industrialization and stability, so that the importance of traditional craft production and tradesmen continued past the nineteenth century.

Considering that these production units, particularly the trade associations, took on other functions outside of industrial production, such as training the labor force and providing vocational training, achieving social and economic stability by creating employment areas and sources of income, it is clear that for the Ottoman Empire, and especially Istanbul, they carried out tasks that were of vital importance. We will discuss in detail the development and functions of these production units in Ottoman Istanbul in terms of the values they adopted from the ahî community, their economic activities, their forms of organization, their workforce training, their employment contributions, and their relation to the state.

The Ahî Community and Its Influence on Istanbul’s Tradesmen Organizations

It is generally accepted that the ahî order and ahî guilds had an important influence on the organization of Seljuk and Ottoman tradesmen. Ahî is derived from the Arabic word ah, meaning “sibling,” and the Turkish word akı, meaning “generous.” The fütüvvet brotherhood had a significant influence on the formation of the ahî, which was directly connected to Islamic understanding with principles based on the Qur’an and the Sunna. In periods of political and military instability, the ahî institution took on important tasks in filling the void of authority, especially in Anatolia. However, with the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, that is, beginning from the second half of the fifteenth century and the Ottoman domination of Istanbul, ahî-ism ceased to be a political power and was identified more with production activities.14

When guilds were formed in Istanbul after the conquest, the guild organization that existed in the Byzantine era was able to take on a new structure that was influenced by ahî traditions and organization. But in comparison to ahî-ism, Ottoman tradesmen’s organizations functioned as institutions that were organized in cities only and were restricted to more narrow areas of expertise.15 We can say that ahî influence within the tradesmen’s organizations was scant during the post-conquest reorganization and reformation of Istanbul industry, but was especially effective in unique occupations, in particular the leather trade. The main reason for the ahî order’s loss of political power during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror was the increasing political, economic, and military might of the central state.16

As previously mentioned, the influence of ahîs in Istanbul’s industrial production was seen in the leather trade, of which profession the founder of this brotherhood, Ahî Evran, was a member, as a tanner. The leather trade in Istanbul was organized principally in the environs of Yedikule and Kazlıçeşme, where by the year 1638 approximately 5,300 shops and 15,000 workers were engaged in leather manufacturing and sales.17 When describing the Yedikule district in his records of the tradesmen of Istanbul, Evliya Çelebi also refers to the 300 Ahî Evran workshops, that is to say, tannery shops. Moreover, another record dated 1726 indicating that the tanners in Yedikule applied to the qadi to have their Ahî Baba, or leader, Imam Musa, dismissed for having violated the officially fixed price and for stirring up trouble, and to request that the Ahî Baba Hacı Abdullah take his place shows that the ahî order maintained its influence in the leather trade during the eighteenth century as well.18 As for tradesmen’s organizations in production areas outside of tanning, no record could be found offering concrete evidence of ahî influence. Thus, the importance and functions of traditional tradesmen production in the industry of Istanbul can be understood with respect to the guilds under which the tradesmen were organized.


Until the collapse of the Ottoman State, Istanbul, the largest urban center of the Eastern Mediterranean, had a substantial population with its central bureaucracy, palace, army, and civilian inhabitants. As previously mentioned, the country relied upon the resources of various regions in order to meet the food, clothing, and housing needs of this population. However, this situation should not cause Istanbul to be perceived as only a consumption center because important industrial activities were carried out within the city’s borders for meeting the needs of this vast population.

4- Balance vendors (İntizami)

Guilds that brought together tradesmen from various occupations were at the center of these manufacturing activities, and in meeting the needs of the central state and the dense Istanbul population in times of both peace and war, these guilds displayed a more important and more orderly structure than guilds in all other regions of the country.19 This orderly and effective operation of the guilds of Istanbul enabled the city to become an important production center instead of remaining as a mere consumption center relying on its large population and its status as a capital city.

One of the most notable areas of production contributing to this vitality was weaving, such as with silk. In the seventeenth century, silk fabric producers alone had 600 shops in Istanbul and provided employment for 2,000 people. When considering the 3,000 tailors and other tradesmen with workshops, who can be accepted as the sub-industry of areas of the textile industry other than silk weaving,20 the magnitude of the image of Istanbul as a center of production becomes more clear.

5- The tradesmen of the scales of the balance (İntizami)

6- Iron mongers (İntizami)

7- Ottoman tradesmen (Vehbi)

In one of the valuable sources reflecting this magnitude, Evliya Çelebi’s travelogue Seyahatname, business in seventeenth-century Istanbul was described in detail according to tradesmen occupations, and important information was presented on subjects such as the numbers of workshops, goods produced, the founder of every tradesmen’s association, and production conditions. Accordingly, for Istanbul, Evliya Çelebi referred to fifty-seven distinct occupations and 1,100 different trades. From the worker and member numbers he gives for each tradesmen group, we encounter a production force of about 150,000 people, even without counting the various tradesmen groups associated with the military, agriculture, and service sectors.21 Although it’s best to consider the figures given by Evliya Çelebi with some caution, from the trade unions that he specified separately by name and area of activity, and considering the conditions of the period before the Industrial Revolution, it’s clear that industrial production and organization in Istanbul reached a noteworthy capability.

Occupational Branches and Organization

Guilds in the Ottoman Empire were engaged in industrial and commercial activities and were organized under a hierarchy in the production process of apprentice, foreman, and master; and yiğitbaşı [enforcer of guild regulations], kethüda [guild warden], and sheikh, in the administrative and supervisory process. The guilds were established and operated in line with the subdivisions of an occupation, with a consideration of territory. For example, in the leather trade there was a separate guild for the stockmen who provided the livestock needed for the raw material; for the butchers who slaughtered the livestock and gave the hides to the tanners; the tanners who processed the hides; and the shoemakers and saddlers who produced the finished leather products. In terms of territory, for the tannery trade there were two separate tradesmen’s associations, one in Kasımpaşa and the other in Tophane, both affiliated with the Galata Qadi.22

In order to establish a guild, there had to be a sufficient number of tradesmen performing that occupation. Tradesmen lacking sufficient numbers to form a separate guild became the “assistant tradesmen” [yamak esnaf] of the most populous trade that was closest to their work or craft. The whip makers and saddle makers of Istanbul were affiliated with the saddlers’ guild, while boot and slipper makers were affiliated with the shoemakers’ guild as assistant tradesmen. These guilds were basically organized for saddlers and shoemakers but the assistant tradesmen also attended their meetings, with equal right to speak and to vote, though they held a separate license to operate [gedik].23

The first officer of a tradesmen’s organization, that is to say, a guild, was the kethüda, who brought together tradesmen whose production was in a certain occupation with apprentices and foremen; kethüdas had the duty and authority to manage relations between tradesmen and the state, to procure raw materials, to impose penalties determined after conferring with experts in conflicts among tradesmen, and to manage affairs related to gediks. Another administrative official was the yiğitbaşı, who was responsible for the internal affairs of the guild. The yiğitbaşıs regulated relations between the tradesmen and the kethüda, apportioned raw materials, handled guild affairs, conducted ritual ceremonies in promotion rites, worked to resolve disagreements among masters, and consulted with the kethüda in unresolved situations.

While the kethüdas and yiğitbaşıs were selected mostly from Muslims in early periods, in time non-Muslims too were brought to these positions, as the natural result of the ethnic and religious richness of the population of Istanbul. Under these circumstances, when in 1663 the Jewish Zaharya v. Abraham became the yiğitbaşı of the raw silk spinners’ guild, the guild’s entire council of elders was chosen from twelve Jewish masters.24 This shows that in the selection of individuals for the trade union’s administrative staff, such as the yiğitbaşı and the elders, the ethnic and religious identity of the guild members was an important element.

In 1726 the selection of kethüdas was made by tradesmen in the guilds of Istanbul’s tobacconists, wheat sellers, and spoon makers, and the selection results were ratified by the qadi. By the eighteenth century, there was a marked increase in the number of kethüdas who were appointed by government officials in addition to those selected by the tradesmen, and state intervention in the guilds increased. 25

The kethüdas, along with the elders of the guild, could punish a tradesman who failed to conform to the quality and standards in the production of goods, or who was involved in corruption, by expelling him from the guild, demoting him from the level of master to that of foreman, or closing his shop. Examples of sentences determined by the kethüdas and the elders of the guilds are the closure in 1726 of the workshop of a bottle maker who was producing underweight bottles; in the same year, the demotion from master to foreman of some nail makers who used old nails to make inferior nails, and in 1772 the sentencing to hard labor of an oil producer named Yorgaki for harming people. Yet when in 1726, Imam el-Hâc, the Ahî Baba, or leader, of the tanners’ guild, as well as the guild’s kethüda, were dismissed in response to the guild’s complaints of their corruption, this indicates that the control mechanism inside the guild operated at both the bottom and the top.26

8- Shoemakers (İntizami)

The yiğitbaşı, just like the kethüda, was chosen by the members of the tradesmen’s organization and was responsible for supervising the organization’s internal affairs. Under normal circumstances, there was a kethüda and a yiğitbaşı for each tradesmen’s group of every occupation. However, because manufacturing in a populous city such as Istanbul had developed in both quality and quantity, many tradesmen groups, such as weavers, pipe bowl makers, fez makers, and leather dealers, established many groups out of one.

To ensure that the general solidarity among the various guilds of the same occupation did not break down, a head kethüda [başkethüda] was chosen who was above the kethüdas of the different tradesmen’s organization. For example, in the middle of the nineteenth century, while the tanners’ guilds in different districts of Istanbul such as Eyüp, Kasımpaşa, Tophane, Üsküdar, and Yedikule, had their own kethüdas, in all of Istanbul there was but one head kethüda, who served above all these kethüdas.27

Apart from these tradesmen’s unions spread throughout Istanbul, there were some craftsmen working in connection with the palace under the names mirî or hassa ehl-i hiref [denoting their imperial ties]. While in 1526 there were approximately 600 palace craftsmen, by 1596 their number had risen to 1,400.28 This increase in the number of craftsmen reveals that the palace was not only a center of governance and administration but also had become one of the centers of Istanbul’s industry. The best source for these producers, selected from among the period’s most talented masters and artisans, was the Covered Bazaar. But when necessary, talented foreign masters brought from outside the country were also included in this select group.

The palace craftsmen, who had mastered production and manufacturing activities of their craft, were engaged not only in manufacturing, but also in offering vocational training. In a 1608 registry of occupations and masters at Topkapı Palace, the numbers of the craftsmen’s apprentices at the imperial art school were included. According to this, for example, there were twenty-five silk masters, including Jews, working with their twelve apprentices; thirty-five bootmaker masters with their thirty-one apprentices, and fifteen knifesmith masters with five apprentices, so that while performing their profession, they were also were providing practical vocational training.29

9- Parchment vendors (İntizami)

With the exception of extraordinary situations such as multiple currency debasements, famines, and long-lasting wars, we can say that especially until the eighteenth century, there were no significant problems in Istanbul’s industrial production, which was led by the traditional craft system. One of the most important factors underlying this orderly structure, which was able to continue in this stable condition until the late eighteenth century, was that tradesmen and workers from different occupations could be organized into a well-ordered system. The fact that cases involving tradesmen’s internal affairs and conflicts among themselves are rarely encountered in Ottoman court records shows that tradesmen’s organizations were successful in self-governance, especially by their able handling of mediation, and to a considerable extent provided internal stability. In addition to this stability in the internal structure of tradesmen’s unions, their positive relations with the state and the public for the stated periods, is another sign of success of the Istanbul tradesmen organization’s stability.30

In addition to their production of goods and services for Istanbul industry and their contribution to economic stability, tradesmen’s unions trained a skilled labor force and provided practical vocational training. Thanks to their training activities, which continually kept the human capital resource vibrant by contributing to the employment of the population, the guilds enabled various occupations to last for centuries. One important result of the guilds’ contribution to this formation of human capital was that until the beginning of the nineteenth century Ottoman craftsmen remained unrivalled in the European markets in various branches of industry, such as yarn weaving and Moroccan leather production.

The process of identifying the people to be employed in production and providing them vocational training, both in theory and in practice, began with a child getting a job as an apprentice to a craftsman. Provided that an apprentice was not younger than ten years of age and had permission from his guardian to work, he was accepted into a profession and was qualified as a foreman after three years of work experience. Those who worked for three years as foreman gained the right to rise to the rank of master. However, in order to become a master and open a workshop of one’s own, extra conditions had to be met, such as having a certain amount of capital, having received no complaints from other foremen, apprentices, or customers, and having engaged in no professional activity that would raise questions of honesty.31 If all of these conditions were met, the training process would be complete for someone who had entered a profession as an apprentice and now was a qualified master with the authority to open a workshop.

Istanbul’s Guilds and Their Relations with the State

The government treated the tradesmen’s associations of Istanbul less severely than those operating in other regions of the country due to the political, administrative, social, economic, and strategic importance of the Ottoman capital. Accordingly, the tradesmen’s organizations of Istanbul were given priority in raw material procurement, compared to other tradesmen’s organizations, while Istanbul differed from other regions not only because it purchased raw materials from nearby sources, but because it held a monopoly on all the raw material sources in the empire. This right, which was abolished by the 1838 Treaty of Balta Liman, had previously provided Istanbul tradesmen with a considerable privilege.

However, in addition to these advantages that were provided to them, the Istanbul tradesmen’s associations felt the influence of the state more keenly, particularly because Istanbul was the capital and, unlike other cities in the country, was governed not by local authority but was directly tied to the central state and the grand vizier. The prerequisite for the provision of social and economic stability in the city was the maintenance of discipline and order in the guilds. Therefore, the Ottoman government attached particular attention to the prevention of instabilities such as inferior manufacturing and production, price gouging, potential shortages of raw materials and of finished goods, speculation, etc.

10- Istanbul water fountain tradesmen (İntizami)

11- Tent tradesmen (İntizami)

One component of state supervision over the tradesmen of Istanbul was the constabulary [ihtisab] an institution overseeing the public’s economic, religious, and legal life. This institution, which previously had been under the leadership of an ihtisab agha (chief), in 1826 became a ministry with the establishment of the İhtisab Ministry. The institution’s mission with regard to industrial production in Istanbul was to determine and supervise the quality and standards of manufactured goods and services. The institution also oversaw the efficient management of the provisioning of Istanbul and, from those too young to join the central army that was formed in 1826 after the Janissaries were abolished, it organized their placement as apprentices to tradesmen of various occupations.32 Another tangible effect of state control over tradesmen was the practice of narh [officially fixed prices], whose main purpose was to protect consumers and ensure stable prices in economic life. Once the narh price of a certain good or service was determined, the ihtisab institution was responsible for checking if the narh price was observed and for auditing quality control and inspecting weights and measures.33

State control of Istanbul tradesmen was especially harsh and prohibitive when it came to tradesmen’s efforts at monopoly. The main reason for this was the tradesmen’s associations’ abuse of the privilege granted to them by the state for the buying and selling of goods, and was a consequence of their self-rule. We see an example of this situation in the reaction to the efforts of various tradesmen’s groups, such as tanners, to use for the purpose of raising market prices the monopoly right granted them in the second half of the eighteenth century. The fact that the tradesmen’s organizations marked up the prices of the goods and services they produced in such a way that made it difficult for the people to meet their consumption needs, at the end of the eighteenth century first drew the attention of Sultan Selim III, who ordered the qadis to intervene. Following this order, a period began of restructuring all of the tradesmen’s organizations, starting first in Istanbul. In this new period, the tradesmen’s monopoly on raw materials for all goods except foodstuffs in 1794 was abolished and the monopoly rights of the tradesmen were increasingly restricted until the 1820s.34

Another important development that had been seen since the seventeenth century and that restricted the autonomy of the tradesmen’s organizations was the central state’s appointment, starting in Istanbul, of soldiers to administrative positions such as kethüda, sheikh, yiğitbaşı, etc. In this process, which can be called the bureaucratization of the economy, the bureaucracy and the increasing personnel needs of the military, as well as the need to meet the salary burden of the growing payrolls, impelled the state to find alternative solutions. One measure taken as part of this quest was the assignment of army officers to positions in the trade organizations on the condition that they give up their wages to the state treasury. Tradesmen’s organizations, which previously had enjoyed a rather extensive autonomy and had chosen their own directors, for a long time were unable to withstand this invasion of military men even though they were displeased by it. Thus a double-headed model emerged in the management of tradesmen’s organizations that would expand in the eighteenth century, in which officers appointed by the state functioned alongside directors chosen by the tradesmen’s organizations themselves.35

Ottoman tradesmen were dependent on a certain order, both in the operation of their own control mechanisms and in their relations to the state. On the other hand, branches of every occupation tried to keep as many masters and workshops as needed, with the aim of not exceeding these numbers. In the case of an uncontrolled increase in the number of masters and workshops, there were concerns that unqualified people, called ham dest [greenhorn], would flood the profession and lower quality standards of production and thereby reduce the income of the masters.

In order to prevent this situation, which was seen as a threat to the manufacturing sector, beginning in the sixteenth century government administrators from time to time conducted a tradesman census. For instance, in a 1564 document, the Imperial Council informed the district of the Istanbul Qadi that owing to the increase in the number of producers of fabrics such as seraser, şahnik, and zerbaft (cloth of gold), the fabric quality had fallen, and therefore, after one hundred competent masters had been identified, the remaining weaving looms would be closed.36

Important data that can be drawn from these Istanbul censuses were in which districts of Istanbul segments of occupations were concentrated. For example, according to a 1726 tradesman census record, tanners were located in the environs of Yedikule, bleachers (who washed and bleached cotton yarn) were in Narlıkapı, linen weavers were in Sûk-ı Cedid, and knitters were occupied in the Mercan Bazaar. Information on the ethnic, religious, and marital status of tradesmen, such as whether they were Muslim or non-Muslim, married or single, could also be found in these census records.

Another practice related to the tradesman census was the keeping of Surety Registers (Kefalet Defterleri), which began to be prepared for tradesmen of Istanbul beginning in the late eighteenth century. In these registers, both the tradesmen and those working with them were recorded and important data were collected, such as their names, ages, titles, from where they had emigrated to Istanbul, and where in Istanbul they resided. Among these, from a register kept in 1792, it is seen that the number of craftsmen and workers in Istanbul was as high as 43,595, although this number seems low for the late eighteenth century.

12a- Peddlers in Istanbul at the beginning of 20<sup>th</sup> century (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

12b- Peddlers in Istanbul at the beginning of 20<sup>th</sup> century (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Atatürk Library)

The records show that for Istanbul among all these craftsmen and workers, 52 percent of all workers were Muslim, 23 percent were Greek, 15 percent were Armenian, and 3 percent were Jewish. (Those whose ethnic identity was unknown accounted for 7 percent). The average number of people employed in workshops was 2.5, which indicates that small production was widespread.37 One of the most important outcomes of examining all the censuses in current research on Ottoman tradesmen was the complete destruction of the view that religious solidarity was the main determinant for division of labor in Ottoman cities in general and in Istanbul in particular. Numerous records concerning Muslims and non-Muslims engaged in the same trade reveal that the division of labor was dependent more on local ties than on religious solidarity.38

It would also be wrong to suggest that the relationship of the state to Istanbul tradesmen only took the form of an effort to supervise and control tradesmen through narh and ihtisab enforcement, the appointment of soldiers and government officials to the directorship of tradesmen’s organizations, and the tradesman censuses conducted at various times. Thus, state control over tradesmen was intended mainly to assure the market’s smooth operation, so that generally state intervention occurred only in periods of instability. Under ordinary circumstances, government support of tradesmen was what lay behind its minimal control in state-tradesmen relations. Such support was seen to be at the highest level of the state as illustrated by Bayezid II giving rather generous gifts to swordsmiths after appreciating their wares, and inviting to Istanbul all the arrow and bow producers from nearly every part of the country because of his passion for hunting; Suleyman the Magnificent giving gifts and purses to bookbinders, and Selim I doing the same for jewelers and goldsmiths.

Events such as the Tradesmen’s Uprising in 1650 show that the tradesmen of Istanbul were not completely under the control of the state and that they could even rebel against the state whenever their economic interests were in jeopardy. In fact, tradesmen revolting against the practices of government officials who wanted to issue light coins and force sales of some goods brought about the dismissal and even the execution of several leading officials such as the Grand Vizier, the commander of the Janissaries, and the state’s finance director, etc.39

The Gedik Right and Gediks40

Gedik is a production system based on monopolies that began in the first half of the seventeenth century as a result of joint efforts of the state and tradesmen’s organizations in order to establish the economic and legal conditions necessary for economic development.41 As a legal term, the “gedik right,” which in the history of Islamic law dates back to the twelfth century and was in force until the beginning of the eighteenth century, meant that craftsmen and tradesmen could have ownership, especially of waqf shops, on the condition of receiving the trustee’s permission and decree. After the introduction of the inhisar [monopoly] system, gedik right took on a new meaning that, besides the right of continuous ownership, included exclusivity, privilege, and a sort of patent in trade. With this new meaning, gedik right prescribed a certain number of craftsmen to perform certain crafts. Due to the increasing economic importance of the gedik system, over time new regulations were introduced to this area. As an example, gediks in early days were given by authorities such as the guild stewards, and later by the guild kethüdas, and then began to be given by the senior accountant of the Ministry of Finance and the religious courts.42

Generally, gediks acquired by inheritance were passed to the most senior foreman providing that if the son was too young to perform the craft when the master died, the gedik would be transferred to him when he learned his craft. If the master had no son, for the foremen of the workshop that was a development that encouraged them to work long periods for the purpose of possessing the gedik. Buying and selling gediks were also possible, and in the 1860s a tobacco gedik on Aksaray Boulevard and a coffee gedik were sold for 35,000 kuruş, a rice gedik in the Rüstem Pasha neighborhood was sold for 40,000 kuruş, and a tobacco gedik in Eminönü was sold for 101,500 kuruş, revealing that for tradesmen the gedik right had become an important source of capital accumulation.43

What made gedik important in Istanbul’s industrial production was that for the craftsmen wanting to get involved in production by opening a workshop, it was a prerequisite that there be an available gedik. It was necessary to find a vacant gedik in order to open a workshop in the profession for which a person had been promoted to the master level by passing through the apprenticeship and foreman stages.44 Therefore, a purpose of the gedik system was organizing and controlling the number of master craftsmen who would manufacture in the guild, as well as the number of workshops.45

The limited number of gediks and accordingly, of the chances to open workshops in order to perform an occupation, blocked entry into a profession from the outside and made it difficult for those within the profession to rise from foreman to master. In 1734 the foremen of the silver wire tradesmen in Istanbul took collective action in response to this. Thus, although intending to regulate production in the tradesmen’s organizations, the gedik right also led to various disputes among the guilds themselves.46

13- Grand Bazaar (Taeschner)

14- Knife tradesmen (İntizami)

However, it should be noted that despite all these attempts to limit the number of gediks and tradesmen, there also existed producers who operated outside the structure of tradesmen’s organizations in the industrial production of Istanbul. We find evidence of the existence of such manufacturing activities in qadi and court records. When the qadi records of the years 1696-97 were examined, it was seen that the kethüdas of Istanbul tradesmen’s guilds such as tanners, beeswax producers, weavers, sailmakers, etc., petitioned the courts and complained to the qadis that people who were not guild members were performing their occupations and manufacturing. The qadis, seeing that these complaints were legitimate, decided that production of those who were not guild members should be prevented.47 However, the fact that similar complaints were frequently encountered in the court records of other periods indicates that restrictions imposed by the gedik right could often be flouted. Losing its meaning of privilege and license with the removal of the monopoly system in trade in 1853, the gedik was again reduced to its former meaning as the right of disposition, and after being subject to various restrictions over time, was completely abolished in 1913.48


Istanbul was a very important city in that not only was it the center of the state, the army, and the navy, as well as being the capital of the country, but also because it was, based on its geopolitical position, a center of commerce and industry. Because of this strategic position, since early days the state had used public investment to establish and operate large industrial facilities called imalathane, which, along with the industrial production of tradesmen’s guilds, would meet the needs of the army. Since the fifteenth century, industrial facilities such as gunpowder factories, weapons workshops, military sewing workshops, armories, shipyards, etc., as the embodiments of these public investments, played an important role in meeting the industrial needs of the state.49 In the periods before the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of mass industrial production led by factories, while small workplaces operating in the guild system met Istanbul’s local needs, and large plants performed production for the military or for export, manufacturing workshops outside of the guild system were owned by the state.50

15- The branch of tradesmen that processed the rifle stocks (İntizami)

16- Azadlu gunpowder factory (Mahmud Raif)

Intense efforts to establish manufacturing workshops (imalathaneler) in Istanbul industry were underway immediately after the conquest, in particular for the purpose of responding to military needs. To that end, industrial enterprises, for manufacturing in various fields such as gunpowder production, shipbuilding, rifle and cannon production, were put into operation. Established enterprises for the production of construction materials, paper, and textiles also led to the diversification and enrichment of the industrial output produced within the scope of the manufacturing workshops.

Commenting on the production units of the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century such as the Arsenal Gunpowder Factory, the Imperial Arsenal, and the Imperial Shipyard, Gabor Agoston remarked that in the early modern period the largest military-industrial complex in Europe was in Istanbul, and that its only rival was the Venice Shipyard.51 We will consider below Istanbul’s industrial enterprises doing large-scale production according to the areas in which they operate. However, it should be noted that for the Ottomans these enterprises were meant to be more than just manufacturing. In fact, some of these enterprises allowed for the use of new Ottoman patented inventions for industrial production. For example, in the midst of the nineteenth century the Armenian Armory master Bağdasar was awarded a monopoly in Istanbul to produce a steam-operated wheel; and the Shipyard master Karabet was awarded with a 500-kuruş salary for his invention of a new wheel that could pulverize marble. Such examples illustrate that the manufacturing workshops provided important benefits as well as their own production, such as advances in industrial technology.52

Gunpowder Factories

Although in comparison to Europe the Ottomans were late to use firearms in war, by the middle of the fifteenth century they began to use this new technology to great effect. The conquest of Istanbul, or Constantinople, as it was known in that period, is an obvious demonstration of this effectiveness. Immediately after the conquest of Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire began producing gunpowder in their new capital so that they might produce materials necessary for war.

Accordingly, the first gunpowder factory to begin operation in Istanbul was the gunpowder factory at Atmeydanı, also known as the Hippodrome, that was taken over from the Byzantines. The Atmeydanı Gunpowder Factory ceased production in 1490 after a lightning strike in a storm started a fire that destroyed the factory and four surrounding neighborhoods.

Kağıthane Gunpowder Factory began operations the same year, employing about 200 workers in military production until 1648. Okmeydanı Gunpowder Factory (1578-96), which remained in service between the years, also ended production as the result of a fire. Şehremini Gunpowder Factory (1678-98), which employed 344 workers, was another of the various centers of military production in Istanbul before the eighteenth century.53 Gunpowder production was carried out not only in public production units, but also in private enterprise. For example, at the end of the eighteenth century, private gunpowder factories were operating in Balipaşa, Beykoz, and Kasımpaşa.54

In line with efforts to make gunpowder production more centralized and institutional, first the Imperial Gunpowder Factory (Baruthane-i Âmire) in Bakırköy began operating in 1701, but in spite of all the efforts, the desired quality was not achieved. The Azudlu Gunpowder Factory in Küçükçekmece was opened in 1796. The fact that the Azudlu Gunpowder Factory was a modern, hydro-powered center, which Selim III considered one of the most important links in the New Order (Nizam-ı Cedid) movement, made possible the closure of the other gunpowder factories in Thessaloniki and Gallipoli and the concentration of gunpowder production entirely in Istanbul. With the establishment of this gunpowder factory, the problem of quality production was solved and the Ottomans even began to export gunpowder. However, stability of the operation couldn’t be guaranteed so that eventually they had to return to importing.55


In the Ottoman period construction of the first shipyard in Istanbul began immediately after the conquest of the city. The most important reason behind the idea of a shipyard in the city was that the new capital also had an edifice suitable for the development of Istanbul as a base and center for the Ottoman Navy. Accordingly, after the conquest, the first shipyard allowing for the construction of ships, which consisted of several rooms, a mosque, and a divanhane (the office of the captain-pasha responsible for naval forces), was established on the Hasköy side of the Kasımpaşa Stream. As the navy and navigation rose to prominence economically as well as militarily and politically in the early sixteenth century, the Galata (Golden Horn-Istanbul) Shipyard, also known as the Imperial Shipyard, was established in the region between Galata and Kâğıthane Stream during the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim. The shipyard functioned as the headquarters for naval shipbuilding and administration until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.56

17- Istanbul shipyard (Yıldız Albums)

The destruction of almost the entire Ottoman fleet in Çeşme in 1770 led to the Imperial Shipyard’s restructuring and reinforcement in order to build a new fleet. In this intense construction process involving marine engineers from France and Sweden, additional workshops and facilities were built for ship equipment while rotten wood shipways were replaced with more durable shipways made of stone. As efforts to renovate the technology of the shipyard continued, a steam-operated copper rolling mill was established in 1834, during the reign of Mahmud II, and in subsequent years an iron foundry and a sawmill as well as modern plants equipped with machines imported from England were put into service. As a result of all these efforts, in 1837 the Istanbul Shipyard was the site of the Ottoman Empire’s first launching of a steamship.57

When we take a look at the workers of the Imperial Shipyard, it can be seen that a significant segment of employees consisted of servicemen, namely captains, commanders, guard members, and pilots. Apart from servicemen, various groups of Istanbul tradesmen (such as carpenters and seamen) were employed at the shipyard, and prisoners of war were also used to meet the demand for labor. They were generally employed in rowing, and the talented among them were also employed in ship building.58 In the nineteenth century, foreign workers, especially the British, were employed by the state as another source of manpower.

In time, Istanbul was home to shipyards other than the Imperial Shipyard, both publicly and privately financed. One of them was the shipyard established by Istanbul Maritime Company (Şirket-i Hayriye) in 1861. This shipyard, built with the original intention to be strictly for repair work, provided the necessary industrial capacity needed for shipbuilding, as well as shipways built first in 1884 and then in 1910. In 1911 another shipyard, by the name of Societe Anonyme Ottomane des Docks et Ateliers du Haut-Bosphore (Ottoman Joint-Stock Company of Docks and Workshops of the Upper Bosphorus), was built by the French in İstinye at considerable expense. This shipyard, which was used extensively during World War I, continued its operations during the Republican period as well.59

The Imperial Arsenal (Tophane-i Âmire)

18- Imperial Armory (Melling)

19- Örekeci esnafı (wool spinners)

Another establishment built in Istanbul after the conquest for military-industrial production was the Imperial Arsenal. Especially in the sixteenth century, the Imperial Arsenal functioned as an important center of production not only for Istanbul, but also for its adjacent regions and even for other Muslim countries. Thus, the cannon makers and foundrymen trained in this establishment replaced foreign master artisans who had done this work in Istanbul’s early periods. They also served in armories seized from enemies or those that were newly established in regions other than Istanbul, thus enabling the transfer of industrial technology. As an example of the Imperial Arsenal’s assistance outside the country’s borders, in 1582 a master of cannon making, was sent to the Uzbek country in response to the Uzbek ambassador’s request for help.60

The gap between the Ottomans and Europeans in cannon and rifle technology and production led to the modernization of arsenals that began during the reign of Selim III in the 1790s with all sorts of weapons production and cannon casting, as well as machinery and manpower brought from Europe. While old production buildings were being renovated, new machines were imported from Britain and France, and experts in this field were brought from various European countries such as France, Spain, Britain, Sweden, Belgium, and Prussia to be employed in the production facilities of Istanbul.61

Although it The Imperial Arsenal, which contained a cannon factory, an armory, a rifle barrel production facility, a carpentry workshop, and several weapons depots, remained for a time behind Europe’s changing firearms technologies, but in the final periods of the Ottoman Empire continued to be one of the country’s most important military-industrial establishments.62

Manufacturing Workshops in the Textile Industry and Other Fields

In the periods leading up to the nineteenth century, a time that can called the century of factories for Ottoman Istanbul, manufacturing workshops were not just for military industry, but also for other industries such as paper, textiles, and construction. Manufacturing workshops in these fields were operated by both the government and private enterprise, and in Istanbul, as in all prominent cities in terms of the period’s industrial production, the textile industry was the sector that was home to large-scale production units.

For the textile industry, we can trace the existence of these sorts of manufacturing workshops in the Ottoman Empire from the 1600s. In this period, there were small-scale manufacturing workshops in Istanbul employing about 500 people, including tailors and makers of dolmans, in order to meet the clothing needs of the sultan and those under his auspices. In the same period, around the Hagia Sophia, there was another relatively large-scale production center and a workshop where about forty turban makers worked to meet the clothing needs of statesmen.63

The 1700s was a period when a great number of textile manufacturing workshops began operations. First of all, in early 1708 a wool weaving workshop was established by the state with the help of thirty-eight masters brought from Thessaloniki and five French prisoners who were known to be skilled in weaving. But this first initiative failed since the intended quality of the manufactured goods could not be attained and because of high costs. Later on, after a non-Muslim Ottoman entrepreneur partnered with the state in this enterprise, production began again with machinery and masters brought from Poland. This second venture lasted longer than the first and the workshop continued operating until 1732. However, the workshop ceased production that year because of raw materials shortages and costly production relative to European goods.

Another government venture in Istanbul’s textile industry was a silk weaving workshop employing masters brought from the Aegean island of Chios in 1720. This workshop successfully continued sales and production in the market apart from the needs of government officials until the 1760s. However, after this date no record of the workshop’s activities has been found. Another enterprise, Sailcloth Manufacturing, established in 1709 as part of the shipyard, had a production volume that rose during war and fell after war. Although the firm could not make a profit because its major purchaser was the state and the state paid low prices, with government capital it was able to stay on its feet for one hundred years, proving to be one of Istanbul’s longest lasting industrial operations.64

Other manufacturing workshops established in Istanbul in the early 1700s were the Chinaware Production Facility, established in 1718; the Fabric Printing Production Facility and the Dyeing Plant, established around 1720; and the Chinese Silk and Brocade Production Facility, established in 1723. These manufacturing workshops were established by the state and under certain conditions were rented to tradesmen. All of these production facilities, which were set up by the state in the same periods along with the industrial facilities mentioned above, brought new energy to Istanbul industry and at the same time pointed to change in Ottoman economic policies. Thus, this new Istanbul-based industrial structure also meant that for the first time there was an effort to create an industry intended to replace foreign imports with domestic products.65

The fact that the textile industry in Istanbul had a significant market and customer base attracted private economic enterprises, apart from the state, to go into production and establish various workshops. In the last years of the empire, firms such as Karakaş, Selliyan, Anjel, Margarit, and Sigala, had their own manufacturing workshops in Istanbul that made apparel, underwear, neckties, shirts, hats, and umbrellas. Besides these, there were other private-sector production units in Istanbul’s textile sector, such as the umbrella workshop of the Orosdi-Back firm, which employed about sixty workers; the shirt and necktie factory belonging to an entrepreneur named Haim Yeşula; and the medium-sized shoe workshops where about fifty people were working in 1917.66

20a- Istanbul çatması type fabric (up left) and Selimiye type fabric (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Museum – Topkapı Palace Museum)

20b- Istanbul çatması type fabric (up left) and Selimiye type fabric (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Museum – Topkapı Palace Museum)

20c- Istanbul çatması type fabric (up left) and Selimiye type fabric (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Museum – Topkapı Palace Museum)

21- Bowls produced in Tophane (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Museum)

22- Products with the inscription “Made in (Product of) Istanbul” (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Museum)

At the beginning of the 1700s, the Imperial Tannery (Debbağhane-i Âmire) became a public enterprise after a long period of activity. It was built by a tannery master named Hamza on the Beykoz Stream and with its water-wheel-powered production was quite a modern operation for the period. This operation was built with private capital and in 1816 was acquired by the state and then passed into public ownership. In 1842 it was modernized with steam engines and converted into a factory.67

One field falling outside traditional craft production was the food sector, and the mills of Istanbul should be mentioned as important units in this field of production. The mills that were used for grinding the grain for flour needed for manufacturing products such as bread were classified according to the energy that they used, whether horse mills, watermills, or windmills. Among these mills, generally the kind first used in Istanbul, namely the horse-driven mills, were preferred. As early as the 1500s, with the support of the state, most of Istanbul’s bread bakeries located in the walled city, Eyüp, Galata, and Üsküdar had their own mills. The number of mills in Istanbul increased relative to population growth and by 1763 a total of 349 mills with 1,500 millstones were in production.68

23- Feshane (Yıldız Albums)

Some of the manufacturing workshops outside the textile and food sectors of Istanbul were the Imperial Mint (Darbhane-i Âmire),69 where in the mid-seventeenth century about 1,500 workers were employed; a workshop near the Hagia Sophia that produced the water pipes necessary for construction of the city’s waterways and distribution channels; and the Paper Factory (Kâğıthane), which began production in 1805, having imported technology from Europe. Although the Paper Factory had from time to time been repaired and reinforced with new machinery, it did not succeed as a business.

During her Istanbul visit in 1836, the English travel writer Miss [Julia] Pardoe wrote (to paraphrase): “Behind the Sultan’s Pier there are rows of hills. On the left side of these hills can be found a large fabric factory along with a paper production facility . . . they operate with the huge machines imported by command of Sultan Mahmud II . . . but as soon as these machines break down, work stops.”70 With these remarks, Miss Pardoe drew attention to the fundamental problem of industrialization efforts, not only for Beykoz Paper Factory (Kâğıthane), but also for the numerous factories that later would be built in Istanbul. This problem is due to the fact that technology, a specialized labor force, and new machinery imported from Europe at great expense to establish industrial enterprises, could not in any way be produced within the borders of the Ottoman Empire, and therefore they were dependent on imported technology. This dependence meant that only a short time after building a production facility or a factory, it was again necessary to import machines at great expense, which caused costs to remain high.


The Industrial Revolution, regarded as the most radical transformation in the history of humanity, affected from an economic standpoint not only the countries that took part in the revolution, but also affected in some ways even more the countries that missed this revolution and fell behind in their own adventure of industrialization. In the periods following the end of Napoleon’s reign in 1815, the flow of European goods to the East increased, while the Ottoman territories, including the markets of Istanbul, were not left out of this process.

By the nineteenth century, as industrialization was considered a solution to economic tensions that existed in Europe and it was accepted that the road to industrialization was through the opening of factories, these sorts of large-scale production units in various fields of production began to be established in the Ottoman Empire. When considered in terms of their locations, we see that the efforts of industrialization led by factories were begun first in Istanbul and most government factories began production in Istanbul with machinery and technology brought from Europe. As privately-financed factories began to burst upon the industrial scene, the capital city of Istanbul was also accepted as the capital of a new era’s industrialization initiatives led by public and private capital. Public and private factories established in this period will be discussed below in terms of their fields of production and the problems they faced, as well as the institutional changes the factory mode of production caused in fields such as vocational training.

State Factories

The first initiatives of the factory-led industrialization efforts were based in Istanbul and under the direction of the state. Accordingly, the state made counter moves against the economic challenge of the West by making extensive and rather costly investments. It should be noted that similar attempts were made before the 1840s and even in the late eighteenth century, during the reign of Selim III, so industrialization efforts were not exclusive to the post-1840s. As a matter of fact, as we have already stated in the section about gunpowder and cannon factories, European methods and technologies for manufacturing materials such as cannons, gunpowder, cannonballs, etc., were imported in the 1790s.

Enterprises such as the following were concrete results of these first industrialization initiatives: the broadcloth factory in Beykoz, which in 1805 was the first modern factory run by machine and water power; the paper factory in the same district; the yarn spinning factory built in 1827 in the environs of Eyüp; the tannery and shoe manufacturing workshops.71 As for the Fez Factory (Feshane ) established in 1835 by the Golden Horn with machinery imported from Britain and Belgium, it became the symbol of a new beginning in industrial life.72 For one thing, it was producing goods for the marketplace, while the key feature of the first attempts of European-style industrialization was production strictly for the fulfilment of governmental and military needs.

In the period following the declaration of Tanzimat reforms in 1839, an Istanbul-based comprehensive industrial investment was launched. From this period up to the Crimean War, the geographical region selected for the investments was west of Istanbul between the Edirne Road and the coastline of the Sea of Marmara, and from the Yedikule City Walls to Küçükçekmece. From 1842, with agricultural and industrial manufacturing workshops established in this region, an “industrial park” was created. Considering the importance of these industrial investments’ procurement of raw materials, foreign geologists and mining engineers were brought in and after their evaluations, began to extract iron ore from the regions of Princes’ Islands and Maltepe as well as limestone from the west side of Istanbul.73 Some of the industrial enterprises established during this period were the tannery established in Beykoz (1841); the wool weaving production facility annexed to the Fez Factory (1843); the steam presses placed in the Mint (1843); the iron casting factory established in Beşiktaş (1844); the Zeytinburnu Iron Works that was constructed in 1843 as a modern production center with technology and machinery imported from Europe; the Veliefendi Printworks (1848); and the Yalıköşkü Machine Works established in the 1840s for the production of pumps for shipyard docks.

These early factories established in Istanbul as a state enterprise were a result of industrialization efforts aimed at creating a model for Ottoman industry through the agency of production units that were opened in the capacity of “imperial factories” (fabrika-i hümayun). Over time some of the factories had to close, while others continued operation in a different area of production. One of these was the tannery in Beykoz, which was then turned into a shoe factory and expanded to meet the needs of the army.74

In addition to the establishment of new factories, a large number of European masters were brought to the city, while at the same time students and workers were sent abroad for vocational training. The fact that in the sixteen months after the Fez Factory began production, around 300 masters, foremen, and workers were trained shows the value of this policy. Some indicators of the importance given to the push for new industrialization included incentives through various awards given to local masters, officials, and workers, who would work in the factories, and the right granted to workers who had reached the age of military service to perform military service by working in the factories.75

24- Acid and ether factories (Yıldız Albums)

In the first half of the nineteenth century, these factories and industrialization initiatives entered a period of stagnation following the bankruptcy of the state in the wake of the financial meltdown of the 1870s. With the change in customs legislation and the removal of the new factories law, state factories began to be built again in the 1880s. The first new facility was the glass factory established in Paşabahçe in 1884, in accordance with modern standards of the time and with all foreign workers. The factory operated at a loss for a while since all the machinery and technology were imported, but over time managed to balance income and expenses and moved into profitability. The Yıldız Porcelain Factory, established in the 1890s on the initiative of Abdulhamid II, also followed a successful course of production with its staff trained in France, and although it remained closed between 1908-12 after the constitutionalist period, it began operating again. Yet the same did not apply to the Hamidiye Paper Factory established in 1886 in Beykoz, and because of inadequate planning this factory had to close as a failed enterprise.76

From statistics prepared in 1897 for the whole country, it is understood that other active industrial establishments in Istanbul were the Ottoman Match Factory (1897) with 201 workers; the Istinye Ice Factory (1887); the Karamürsel Serge Factory (1885); the Dersaadet Ottoman Illumination Company (1888); the Dersaadet Water Company (1882); and Üsküdar-Kadıköy Water Company. Mills and flour mills run by steam engines and other sources of energy, as well as tobacco production at the Cibali Regie Factory and the Istanbul Regie Factory, were other notable Istanbul-based industrial enterprises operating in the food industry.77

Private Factories

Nineteenth-century Istanbul was home to not just public factories employing large numbers of workers, but also to privately-funded factories. In this period, private factories in various fields of production began operations, run by local and foreign capital. The first of these factories, established in the year 1850 as the Printworks (Basmahane), was the Bakırköy Factory. Ownership of the Printworks, which had originally produced weaving and printing by hand, was transferred to the Palace Treasury (Hazine-i Hassa) and the state in 1860 after encountering insurmountable operational difficulties. Having continued production until 1921 to meet the various fabric requirements of the army, the factory proved to be a long-lasting industrial enterprise by continuing production into the Republican era under the name Bakırköy Pamuklu Corporation.

In the 1880s, the number of private factories in Istanbul increased considerably. A few of these factories had to close because they could not compete with foreign capital, namely, the Modiano Bottle Factory, established in 1885 in Paşabahçe with nearly 300 workers producing goods such as bottles, lamps, jugs, and hookahs; and in the same year another bottle factory in Hasköy.

Some of the privately-held factories operating in Istanbul in the late nineteenth century were the cannery that began production in Kartal under an English-Swedish capital partnership; an English-funded paper factory in Beykoz; the brewery established in Bomonti in 1891; the French-capitalized candle and stearin78 factory established in Paşabahçe in 1896; and the Ottoman Match Company established with English capital by a Monsieur Tavernier in Küçükçekmece in 1898. Apart from venerable businesses such as the brewery, these establishments eventually were forced to close because they could not compete with foreign goods and they were unable to modernize their technology.

25- The schema of cement factory built on sultan’s personal property near Beykoz piers (Istanbul University, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, Maps Section)

A yarn factory established in 1888 in Yedikule by a British-French family benefitted from advantages such as cheap labor and tax exemption, and by 1897 reached a level where it could compete with British products. After successfully exporting to world-wide markets including Bulgaria, Egypt, India, and the United States, the factory experienced a decline in 1900 and cut down production to only two days of the week. But the very next year, in 1901, the factory experienced a production boom and continued operation with its production capacity and success fluctuating from year to year.79 Fabrica Vetrami di Modiano Constantinopoli, established by an Italian Jew in Beykoz in 1899 as one of the important establishments of the Ottoman glass industry, had to cease production during World War I because it could not compete with imported goods.80

As with most of the state factories mentioned above, these private factories were not able to provide stability in terms of cost and production, and the fact that they had to close shortly after starting operations was the most negative development encountered by Istanbul-based factories. Thus, a great number of factories were established in order to reach the objective of industrialization, however, most of them failed because quality never caught up with quantity. The most significant problems common to all of these factories were a lack of capital and skilled labor, insufficient raw materials, and an inability to produce new technology. These factories, which were established by importing industrial technology and making large expenditures, lost their competitive edge because after a certain period of time they were unable to update or develop their technology. The fact that it was quite costly to try to update technology through continuous importation caused factories to shut down or, in the case of state factories, to continue production, even when it was unprofitable and costly.

Aware of these shortcomings, the government took many measures, one of which was a change in education policies that would benefit both society as well as the economy. This policy change was aimed at ending the skilled labor shortage, which was one of the most significant shortcomings of Ottoman industry and Istanbul’s factories. The results, dating from the 1840s, were vocational training schools established in many diverse fields. Below we will consider the development and the outcomes of the Istanbul-based vocational training schools established to further industrialization.

Institutionalizing Vocational Training
and Opening Industrial Schools in Istanbul

When the Industrial Revolution began to be felt in the Ottoman Empire and other countries of this period in the nineteenth century, it caused a fundamental change in policies for the training of a labor force for industry. Vocational training had previously been performed within trade unions and guilds, beginning with apprenticeships on the production line, but later began to be given within a more institutional structure at vocational training schools that were set up in parallel to factory openings.

Efforts to develop training of qualified personnel in industry through vocational training schools dates back to the 1770s. One of the first concrete results of these efforts was the Imperial Naval Engineering School (Mühendishane-i Bahrî-i Hümayun), established in 1773 to develop a skilled labor force for ship building and the maritime industry. Along with this school, the Imperial School of Military Engineering (Mühendishane-i Berrî-i Hümayun), which opened in 1796, drew attention for being the first schools to offer Western-style vocational training to serve the needs of the military.

26- Mavzer cartridge factory (Zeytinburnu) (Yıldız Albums)

Diversification of schools offering vocational training services to other areas of industry, namely to the expanding areas outside the military industry, occurred during the Tanzimat period. Following the proclamation of the Tanzimat reforms, the necessity of restructuring vocational and technology training to support production began to find voice in both the press and in various reports that drew attention to the backwardness of the country compared to Europe. With the general acceptance of these demands, a large number of vocational training schools began to open in Istanbul and throughout the Ottoman Empire.

After the establishment of training schools in various industrial areas, such as agriculture, railroads, land surveying, post and telegraph, conductors, and forestry, which began in 1848, Istanbul’s first industrial school opened in 1868. The purpose of the Istanbul School of Industry, established in Sultanahmet in 1868, was to provide both theoretical and practical training to craftsmen who lagged behind their European counterparts, and in this way close the gap of skilled labor. The school provided training in a wide range of industrial areas, such as metal casting, iron working, machinery, architecture, carpentry, metal and wood manufacturing, shoemaking, and tailoring. The fact that in 1870 successful students of this school were selected to be sent to Paris for their education shows that the state’s expectations of the labor force being trained at these schools were quite high. The opening over time of industrial schools in Zeytinburnu and other districts was another sign of the importance the state gave to this enterprise.

Following the opening of the School of Industry in 1868, another industrial school, for girls and with a focus on tailoring, opened in 1869 in Yedikule. Other girls’ industrial schools that were established in the 1880s and continued to the 1910s were the Girls’ Boarding and Day School of Industry, the Dersaadet Day School of Industry for Girls, and the Üsküdar School of Industry for Girls.81

Especially after the 1910s, these schools endured serious financial straits during wartime and their teaching staff declined due to the fact that part of the faculty and students went to war as soldiers. Yet they continued educating with the goal of producing the labor force for the last periods of the Ottoman Empire and thus left a legacy of vocational training institutions to Istanbul of the Republican era.


27- The schema of the factory which was planned to be constructed for Dumansız Gunpowder Factory for the production of zinc sulfate, nitric acid, ether-surfirin, andetrasen (Istanbul University, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, Maps Section)

Before World War I, Istanbul was home to 55 percent of large industrial production within the empire, followed by İzmir with 25 percent, Bursa with 5 percent, and Adana with 3 percent. These percentages show that by the 1910s about half of large industrial production within the borders of the empire was performed in Istanbul.82 The Industrial Incentives Law (Teşvîk-i Sanâyi Kanunu) enacted in 1913 had a positive effect on the industry of Istanbul and until 1916 sixty-three Istanbul-based industrial establishments benefitted from these incentives.

In spite of all the efforts, however, the negative effects of wars that broke out after the 1910s led to the decline of industry in Istanbul and throughout the country. The channeling of economic resources to the needs of the military industry and the army, to the detriment of other sectors and fields of production, was another negative and inescapable development in Istanbul’s industrial production. An important development that shaped the industrial structure of Istanbul that was under Ottoman control was the implementation of national economy policies during World War I.

The beginning of World War I in 1914 led to a shift of Ottoman economic policies to nationalism and the transition to an implementation of a national economy. The start of intensive state intervention in this period, when all capitulations were abolished, also directly affected Istanbul’s industrial producers, who performed both large-scale and small-scale trade-based production .

In this new period, in which the goal was to create a Turkish-Islamic bourgeoisie, the establishment of national and Islamic companies was adopted as policy and tradesmen who were small producers were encouraged to unite to form companies. Efforts to establish an independent industry through various legal regulations came to fruition by way of giving incentives to local industry and production, and doling out concessions. While it was stated in the 1913 Industrial Incentives Law that foreigners could also profit from incentives, the deliberate provision of incentives to Ottoman citizens only at the start of the war, revealed the national character of industrialization efforts.

The center of all this change and the region where it first began was the capital city of Istanbul. This was shown by the fact that by 1917, sixty-three of a total of 117 industrial operations that profited from incentives laws, that is to say more than half of them, were in Istanbul. The main outcome of this policy was a push for unification exactly like that of the small producers in the period of the 1866 Industrial Reform Commission (Islâh-ı Sanayi Komisyonu). Through the initiatives of Kemal Bey, a prominent figure in the Committee of Union and Progress (İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti), about eighty new companies were established in Istanbul, including the Special Commission on Trade (Heyet-i Mahsusa-i Ticariye), and the Ottoman Joint-Stock Company for Anatolian National Foodstuffs (Anadolu Millî Mahsulat Osmanlı Anonim Şirketi), in an effort to move to a larger-scale production model, with accumulated capital and stronger organization.83 These politics were shortlived in Istanbul after the end of World War I due to the departure from power of the cadres that had implemented a national economy. However, in the early days of the Republic, the Turkism economic policy was not dropped from the agenda, rather it remained as an important determinant in the industrial structuring of Istanbul.

When we consider the last periods of Ottoman rule after the 1910s, we see that although there was a limited number of factories in industrial Istanbul, small-scale production was more common.

Among the factories operating in Istanbul in 1914 in the textile industry, the following were large-scale production centers: Bakırköy Military Materials Factory (Bakırköy Levazımat-ı Umumiye-i Askerî Fabrikası) with 417 workers, founded in 1855; the Ottoman Yedikule Yarn Joint-Stock Company (Yedikule İplik Osmanlı Anonim Şirketi) with 325 workers, founded in 1890; and the Yedikule Brotherhood Ottoman Carpet Joint-Stock Company (Yedikule Uhuvvet-i Osmaniye Halı Anonim Şirketi), founded in 1910. There were others from fields that were prominent in Istanbul’s industrial production, and by 1913, more than 1,000 workers were employed in the tobacco industry; 1,219 workers employed in sixty-seven establishments of the tanning industry; and in the flour industry 1,225 workers were employed at 317 mills, some of which were steam-operated.84

Industrial statistics from 1913 and 1915 reveal that by that period Istanbul was the most important industrial production center in the whole country. Indeed, in the regions included in the inventory, 269 industrial enterprises were counted in 1913, and 282 in 1915. More than half of these enterprises, in other words 144 in 1913 and 155 in 1915, were located in Istanbul and its environs. The inventories don’t in any way reflect the entire industrial production capacity; nevertheless, the number and types of industrial establishments in Istanbul and its environs that employed more than ten workers were as follows: 85

- Food Industry (milling, pasta making, confectionery, canned goods-beer-ice-tobacco manufacturing): forty-three industrial enterprises in 1913 and forty-five enterprises in 1915.

- Sand and Soil Industry (brickwork, lime-cement-porcelain manufacturing and cement products): nineteen industrial enterprises in 1913 and twenty enterprises in 1915.

- Leather Industry (Tanning): ten industrial enterprises in 1913 and eleven enterprises in 1915.

- Wood Industry (carpentry, box manufacturing, etc.): ten industrial enterprises in 1913 and fifteen enterprises in 1915.

- Weaving/Textile Industry (worsted yarn manufacture and wool weaving, cotton thread manufacturing and cotton weaving, raw silk manufacturing and silk weaving, and other woven manufacturing): fourteen industrial enterprises in 1913 and fifteen enterprises in 1915.

- Stationery Industry (cigarette paper manufacturing and paper manufacturing ): forty-four industrial enterprises in 1913 and in 1915.

- Chemical Industry (oil production, soap manufacturing, acorn extract production, and other chemical production): four industrial enterprises in 1913 and five enterprises in 1915.

As for the period of armistice, especially between the years 1919 and 1922, Regie, a large Istanbul industry known for tobacco production, also operated a few yarn and textile factories, two cement factories, a beer factory, an ice production facility, a saddlery, and a few mills operated as joint-stock companies. The number of workers employed in these facilities was less than 10,000.

In addition to these private-sector units, other industrial establishments of the city included state-owned factories such as Beykoz Leather and Shoe Factory, the Print Works, and the Finance Department. Aside from these large industrial enterprises, about 300,000 workers were employed in around 4,000 small manufacturing workshops and ateliers, and a significant amount of industrial production of Istanbul was carried out in these small- and medium-sized enterprises, rather than in factories.86 When all of this data is considered, it is clear that in the transition period from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic, the industrial structure of Istanbul was based mainly on the military, textile, and food industries.

In spite of initiatives supporting mass production like we have discussed in detail above, namely, initiatives starting in the nineteenth century to open factories, either by the state or with local and foreign private capital, and national economy policies implemented during World War I, a significant amount of industrial production in Istanbul was still carried out within the framework of the traditional craft system. Starting with the for the Industrial Reform Commission, set up in 1866,87 and after the 1910s, attempts were made to bring together in companies tradesmen working in the traditional crafts system, in a way that would be strengthened by the national economy policies, but in practice these policies were not successful and in the last periods of the Ottoman Empire, small producers were still commonplace in Istanbul industry.

Istanbul tradesmen, who in earlier times were organized under trade unions and guilds, began to organize as associations under the 1909 Trade Associations Regulations. The large number of established trade associations also reflected the distribution of small producers in Istanbul, mainly in food and textiles. The following are only some of the various occupations organized in Istanbul after 1909: the Pickle Producers Trade Association (1910), the Scales Manufacturers Trade Association (1910), the Simit, Bread, Börek, Cookie, and Kadayıf Producers Trade Association (1910), the Painters, Plasterers, and Muralists Trade Association (1910), the Saddlers Trade Association (1910), the Engravers Trade Association (1910), the Drillers, Well Diggers and Chimney Sweeps Trade Association (1911), the Wagon Manufacturers Trade Assocation (1911), the Clockmakers Trade Association (1911), the Cigarette Paper Manufacturers Trade Association (1914), the Phyllo and Shredded Pastry Manufacturers Trade Association (1914), and the Loom Manufacturers Trade Association (1915).88

We see that the Istanbul trade associations underwent a period of inactivity during the economic contraction of World War I, but began to come back to life just before 1923 when the Republic would take the place of the Ottoman Empire. Thus, a large number of trade associations established in Istanbul in 1919 and later, such as the Ironworkers Trade Association (1919), the Hand-Painted Cloth Producers Trade Association (1919), the Raft Builders Trade Association (1920), the Fuel Producers Trade Association (1920), the Shoemakers Trade Association (1921), the Brickmakers Trade Association (1921), the Weavers Trade Association (1923), and the Comb Makers and Spoon Makers Trade Association (1923) were all part of the industrial buildup in diverse areas such as construction, food, textiles, and mining, which was the Ottoman Empire’s legacy to the Republic.89


1 Ömer Lütfi Barkan and Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi, ed., İstanbul Vakıfları Tahrîr Defteri 953 (1546 Tarihli), Istanbul: İstanbul Fetih Cemiyeti İstanbul Enstitüsü, 1970, x.

2 Jack Deleon, Balat ve Çevresi: İstanbul’un Fethi ve Haliç Semtleri (Istanbul: Remzi Kitabevi, 1997), 32-33.

3 Halil İnalcık, “İstanbul (Tarih/Türk Devri),” DIA, vol. 23 (2001), p. 222.

4 Mehmet Genç, Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda Devlet ve Ekonomi, Istanbul: Ötüken Neşriyat, 2000, pp. 318-20.

5 Zeki Tekin, “Tanzimât Dönemine Kadar Osmanlı İstanbul’unda Dericilik” (PhD diss., Marmara University, 1992), 12-13.

6 Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi, Fatih Devri Sonlarında İstanbul Mahalleleri, Şehrin İskânı ve Nüfusu Ankara: Vakıflar Umum Müdürlüğü, 1958, pp. 58-69.

7 Eremya Çelebi Kömürcüyan, İstanbul Tarihi: XVII. Asırda İstanbul, tr. Hrand D. Andreasyan (Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi, 1952), p. 202.

8 Tevfik Güran, “İstanbul’un İâşesinde Devletin Rolü (1973-1839),” İFM, vol. 44/1-4 (1986), pp. 245.

9 Not all the economic transactions necessary for the subsistence of Istanbul were executed by the state. Thus, in addition to state capital, private capital was also involved in activity in this field, and it steered the flow of goods and services from various regions of the country to Istanbul (Lütfi Güçer, “Bir Türk-Osmanlı Buğday Ofisi Hakkında Araştırma: XVIII. Yüzyıl Ortalarında İstanbul’un İaşesi İçin Lüzumlu Hububatın Temini Meselesi,” IFM, vol. 11, no. 1-4 (1949-50), pp. 397-416).

10 Suraiya Faroqhi explains the importance the state gave to the subsistence of Istanbul and the provision of goods and services from other towns, and she makes an interesting description of the Aegean coast in relation to its critical position in meeting the fruit needs of Istanbul: She describes the region as the Garden of the Capital (Suraiya Faroqhi, Osmanlı’da Kentler ve Kentliler, tr. Neyir Kalaycıoğlu, Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 1993, p. 100.

11 Şevket Pamuk, Osmanlı-Türkiye İktisadî Tarihi 1500-1914, Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2011, p. 162.

12 Güran, “İstanbul’un İâşesinde Devletin Rolü,” pp. 258-9.

13 Yücel Özkaya, 18. Yüzyılda Osmanlı Toplumu, Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2008, pp. 89-90.

14 Ziya Kazıcı, “Ahîlik,” DIA, vol. 1 (1988), pp. 540-1.

15 Mehmet Genç, Ahilik ve Esnaf, Istanbul: Esnaf ve Sanatkarlar Dernekleri Birliği, 1986, pp. 128-9.

16 Zehra Odabaşı, Bir Ahi Dostu: Franz Taeschner - Hayatı ve Eserleri, Ankara: A. E. Ü. Ahi Kültürünü Araştırma Merkezi, 2008, p. 36.

17 Adnan Giz, “İstanbul’un En Eski Sanayi Bölgesi Kazlıçeşme ve Deri Sanayii,” İstanbul Sanayi Odası Dergisi, vol. 2, no. 22 (1967), pp. 23-24.

18 Dursun Ali Tökel, “İbn-i Batuta Seyahatnamesi ve Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnamesi’nin İstanbul Bölümüne Göre Ahiler ve Ahilik,” I. Ahi Evran-ı Velî ve Ahilik Araştırmaları Sempozyumu Bildiriler, ed. M. Fatih Köksal, Kırşehir: Gazi Üniversitesi Ahilik Kültürünü Araştırma Merkezi, 2005, vol. 2, pp. 894, 897. Abdülbâki Gölpınarlı, who has contributed a number of important works on Ahî-ism, identified eighteenth-century Ottoman tradesmen’s unions affiliated with Ahî-ism through the accounts of Evliya Çelebi and suggests that Ahî-ism had a deep-rooted presence in Istanbul. (Abdülbâki Gölpınarlı, “İslam ve Türk İllerinde Fütüvvet Teşkilatı ve Kaynakları,” IFM, vol. 11, no. 1-4 (1949-50), pp. 82). However, the fact that there was no hierarchic chain of command or any document or record concerning a transfer of income from a tanning tradesman to ahî sheikhs, shows that the relationship and interaction between ahî sheikhs and the guilds had become symbolic over time. (Faroqhi, Osmanlı’da Kentler, pp. 193-4).

19 Donald Quataert, Sanayi Devrimi Çağında Osmanlı İmalat Sektörü, tr. Tansel Güney, Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2011, pp. 95-96.

20 Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny et al., İpek: Osmanlı Dokuma Sanatı, tr. Reyhan Alp and Ayşe Kardiçalı, Istanbul: TEB İletişim ve Yayıncılık, 2001, pp. 165-7.

21 Evliya Çelebi, Günümüz Türkçesiyle Evliyâ Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi: Istanbul, ed. Seyit Ali Kahraman and Yücel Dağlı, Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2003, vol: 1, 471.

22 Ahmet Kal’a, “Esnaf” DIA, vol. 11, pp. 424-6.

23 Reşad Ekrem Koçu, Tarihte İstanbul Esnafı, Istanbul: Doğan Kitapçılık, 2002, p. 12.

24 Mehmet Âkif Aydın, Kadı Sicillerinde İstanbul-XVI ve XVII. Yüzyıl, Istanbul: Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Araştırmaları Merkezi [İSAM], 2010, p. 118.

25 Mehmet Genç, “Osmanlı Esnafı ve Devletle İlişkileri,” Ahilik ve Esnaf, Istanbul: Esnaf ve Sanatkarlar Dernekleri Birliği, 1986, p. 120.

26 Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, “Osmanlılarda Esnaf İçi Kontrol Mekanizmasının İşleyişi,” XX. Ahilik Bayramı Kongresi Tebliğleri ve Esnaf ve Sanatkârların Sosyo-Ekonomik Meselelerinin Tartışıldığı Panel Tebliğleri, Kırşehir: Türkiye Esnaf ve Sanatkarlar Konfederasyonu, 1984, pp. 11-14.

27 Balıkhâne Nâzırı Ali Rıza Bey, Eski Zamanlarda İstanbul Hayatı, ed. Ali Şükrü Çoruk, Istanbul: Kitabevi, 2001, p. 258.

28 The Arabic words ehl and hiref mean “family, relative” and “occupations, crafts, arts,” respectively. And the compound word ehl-i hiref indicates someone who has an occupation, an art. (Bahattin Yaman, “Saray Sanat Esnafı: Ehl-i Hıref,” 1. Uluslararası Ahilik Kültürü ve Kırşehir Sempozyumu, Kırşehir: 24. Ahilik Haftası Kutlama Komitesi, 2011, vol. 2, pp. 1092, 1115-7; For more information on the organization of the ehl-i hiref see Hilal Kazan, XVI. Asırda Sarayın Sanatı Himayesi, Istanbul: İslam Tarih, Sanat ve Kültürünü Araştırma Vakfı [İSAR], 2010.

29 Muallim Cevdet, İslam Fütüvveti ve Türk Ahîliği, İbn-i Battuta’ya Zeyl , tr. Cezair Yarar (Istanbul: İşaret Yayınları, 2008, pp. 451-3.

30 For topics such as Istanbul tradesmen’s own internal organization; gedik and shop numbers, their operation and the solution of their problems; manufacturing and production, employment conditions, regulations for masters, foremen, and apprentices, etc. see Ahmet Kal’a (Project Manager and Editor), İstanbul Ahkâm Defterleri: İstanbul Esnaf Tarihi, vol. 1-2, Istanbul: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür İşleri Daire Başkanlığı İstanbul Araştırmaları Merkezi, 1997; Tahsin Özcan, Fetvalar Işığında Osmanlı Esnafı, Istanbul: Kitabevi, 2003.

31 Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, “Osmanlı Esnafında Oto-Kontrol Müessesesi,” Ahilik ve Esnaf, Istanbul: Esnaf ve Sanatkarlar Dernekleri Birliği, 1986, pp. 56-7.

32 Ziya Kazıcı, Osmanlılarda İhtisâb Müessesesi (Ekonomik, Dinî ve Sosyal Hayat), Istanbul: Kültür Basın Yayın Birliği 1987, pp. 131, 217-8.

33 Necdet Sakaoğlu and Nuri Akbayar, Osmanlı’da Zenaatten Sanata: Esnaf ve Zenaatkârlar, Istanbul: Körfezbank, 1999, vol. 1, pp. 37-39.

34 Ahmet Kal’a, “Osmanlı Esnaf Sisteminin Oluşması ve Yeniden Yapılanması Açısından İstanbul Esnaf Birlikleri,” İstanbul: İmparatorluk Başkentinden Megakente, ed. Yavuz Köse, tr. Ayşe Dağlı, Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2011, pp. 252-5.

35 Mehmet Genç, “18. Yüzyılda Osmanlı Sanayii,” Dünü ve Bugünüyle Toplum ve Ekonomi, no. 2 (1991), p. 102.

36 Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, “Osmanlı Esnaf Sayımları,” Osmanlı Öncesi ile Osmanlı ve Cumhuriyet Dönemlerinde Esnaf ve Ekonomi Semineri, Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Tarih Araştırma Merkezi, 2003, p. 405.

37 Cengiz Kırlı and Betül Başaran, “18. Yüzyıl Sonlarında Osmanlı Esnafı,” Osmanlı’dan Cumhuriyet’e Esnaf ve Ticaret, comp. Fatmagül Demirel, Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2012, pp. 7-17.

38 Suraiya Faroqhi, Osmanlı Zanaatkârları, tr. Zulal Kılıç, Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2011, pp. 175-6.

39 Ömer Lütfi Barkan, “Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda Esnaf Cemiyetleri” IFM, vol. 41, no. 1-4 (1985), p. 44.

40 For detailed information see Ahmet İnan, “Arşiv Belgeleri Işığında Gedik Hakkı” (MA thesis, Istanbul University, 1994).

41 Ahmet Kal’a, İstanbul Esnaf Birlikleri ve Nizamları 1, Istanbul: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür İşleri Daire Başkanlığı İstanbul Araştırmaları Merkezi, 1998, p. 59.

42 Ahmet Akgündüz, “Gedik,” DIA, vol. 13, vol. 541-2.

43 Turgay Çırak, “Şer’iyye Sicillerinden 200 ve 222 No’lu Defterlere Göre Gedikler” (MA thesis, Istanbul University, 2000), p. xix.

44 Zafer Toprak, “Esnaf (Osmanlı Dönemi)” DBIst.A, vol. 3, p. 212.

45 Sıdkî, Gedikler, Istanbul: Tanin Matbaası, 1909, p. 15.

46 Halil Sahillioğlu, “Esnaf Cemiyetleri İçinde Usta-Kalfa Çekişmesi” BTTD, vol. 3, no. 17 (1969), pp. 59-60.

47 Yonca Köksal, “Economic and Social Life in Late-Seventeenth-Century Istanbul: The Istanbul Court Records of 1107-1008 (1696-1697 AD)” (PhD diss., Boğaziçi University, 1995), pp. 66-7.

48 Akgündüz, “Gedik,” 542.

49 Wolfgang Müller-Wiener, “15-19. Yüzyılları Arasında İstanbul’da İmalathane ve Fabrikalar,” Osmanlılar ve Batı Teknolojisi Yeni Araştırmalar Yeni Görüşler, ed. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi, 1992, pp. 53-7.

50 Rifat Önsoy, Tanzimat Dönemi Osmanlı Sanayii ve Sanayileşme Politikası, Ankara: Türkiye İş Bankası, 1988, p. 4.

51 Gabor Agoston, Barut, Top ve Tüfek: Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Askeri Gücü ve Silah Sanayisi, tr. Tanju Akad, Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2006, p. 232.

52 Yavuz Cezar, “19. Yüzyılda Osmanlı Devleti’nde Yeni Teknoloji Uygulama ve Sınai Tesis Kurma Çabalarından Örnekler,” Dünü ve Bugünüyle Toplum ve Ekonomi, vol. 1 (1991), pp. 164-5.

53 Mustafa Erdoğan, “Arşiv Vesikalarına Göre İstanbul Baruthâneleri,” İstanbul Enstitüsü Dergisi, vol. 2 (1956), pp. 120-1.

54 Birol Çetin, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda Barut Sanayi 1700-1900, Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı, 2001, pp. 20-22.

55 Zafer Gölen, Osmanlı Devleti’nde Baruthâne-i Âmire (XVIII. Yüzyıl), Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2006, pp. 32, 239-43. Also see Zafer Gölen, “İstanbul Baruthaneleri,” an article in the aforementioned book.

56 İdris Bostan, Osmanlı Bahriye Teşkilâtı: XVII. Yüzyılda Tersâne-i Âmire, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1992, pp. 3-7.

57 Müller-Wiener, “15-19. Yüzyılları Arasında İstanbul’da İmalathane ve Fabrikalar”, pp. 62-64.

58 Robert Mantran, 17. Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul, tr. Mehmet Ali Kılıçbay and Enver Özcan, Ankara: V Yayınları, 1986, vol. 2, pp. 7.

59 Müller-Wiener, “15-19. Yüzyılları Arasında İstanbul’da İmalathane ve Fabrikalar,” 84.

60 Salim Aydüz, Tophâne-i Âmire ve Top Döküm Teknolojisi, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2006, pp. 40-41.

61 Stanford J. Shaw, Eski ve Yeni Arasında: III. Selim Yönetiminde Osmanlı İmparatorluğu, tr. Hür Güldü Istanbul: Kapı Yayınları, 2008, pp. 187-9

62 Ahmed Muhtar, Muhteriât-ı Cedîdeden Çapı Büyük Serî’ Ateşli Toplar, Istanbul: Mekteb-i Fünun-u Harbiye Matbaası, 1893, pp. 55.

63 Mantran, 17. Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul, p. 14.

64 Genç, “18. Yüzyılda Osmanlı Sanayii” pp. 109-23.

65 Genç, Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda Devlet ve Ekonomi, pp. 257-8.

66 Gündüz Ökçün, ed., Osmanlı Sanayii 1913-1915 İstatistikleri, Istanbul: Hil Yayın, 1984, pp. 10-11.

67 Elif Süreyya Genç, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda Yenileşme ve Buhar Makineleri, Istanbul: Doğu Kitabevi, 2010, pp. 128-9.

68 Salih Aynural, İstanbul Değirmenleri ve Fırınları; Zahire Ticareti (1740-1840), Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2002, pp. 85-90.

69 Ömerül Faruk Bölükbaşı, “XVIII. Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında Darbhâne-i Âmire” (PhD diss., Marmara University, 2010), pp. 9-10.

70 Adnan Giz, “İstanbul’da İlk Sınaî Tesislerin Kuruluş Yılı: 1805,” İstanbul Sanayi Odası Dergisi, vol. 2, no. 23 (1968), p. 26.

71 Edward Clark, “Osmanlı Sanayi Devrimi,” Osmanlılar ve Batı Teknolojisi Yeni Araştırmalar Yeni Görüşler, ed. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi, 1992, pp. 38-39.

72 Önder Küçükerman, Türk Giyim Sanayii Tarihindeki Ünlü Fabrika “Feshane” Defterdar Fabrikası Istanbul: Sümerbank Kültür Yayınları, 1988, p. 15.

73 Clark, “Osmanlı Sanayi Devrimi,” p. 42.

74 Müller-Wiener, “15-19. Yüzyılları Arasında İstanbul’da İmalathane ve Fabrikalar,” p. 73.

75 Tevfik Güran, “Tanzimat Döneminde Devlet Fabrikaları,” 150. Yılında Tanzimat, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1982, pp. 236-9.

76 Müller-Wiener, “15-19. Yüzyılları Arasında İstanbul’da İmalathane ve Fabrikalar,” pp. 81-83.

77 Tevfik Güran, ed., Osmanlı Devleti’nin İlk İstatistik Yıllığı: 1897, Ankara: Başbakanlık Devlet İstatistik Enstitüsü, 1997, pp. 261-2, 271-3.

78 Stearin: A triglyceride used as a hardening agent in the manufacture of candles.

79 Quataert, Sanayi Devrimi Çağında Osmanlı İmalat Sektörü, p. 78.

80 Fuat Bayramoğlu, “Camcılık,” Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Doruğu 16. Yüzyıl Teknolojisi, ed. Kazım Çeçen, Istanbul: İstanbul Su ve Kanalizasyon İdaresi, 1999, p. 147.

81 Kadir Yıldırım, Osmanlı’da İşçiler (1870-1922) Çalışma Hayatı, Örgütler, Grevler, Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2013, pp. 30-31.

82 Vedat Eldem, Harp ve Mütareke Yıllarında Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Ekonomisi (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1994), p. 167.

83 For the effect of the national economic policies on Istanbul industry, their ideological basis and practical development, see Zafer Toprak, Türkiye’de Milli İktisat 1908-1918, Istanbul: Doğan Kitap, 2012.

84 Vedat Eldem, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun İktisadî Şartları Hakkında Bir Tetkik, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1994, pp. 75-84.

85 Ökçün, Osmanlı Sanayii 1913-1915 İstatistikleri, pp. 14-21.

86 Eldem, Harp ve Mütareke Yıllarında Osmanlı Ekonomisi, pp. 169-70.

87 One of the priority measures of the Industrial Reform Commission of 1866 was the formation of firms by the merging of tradesmen’s groups and a move from small-scale to larger-scale production. Accordingly, the Simkeşler firm was formed through the merger of goldsmiths and silversmiths; the Debbağlar (Tanners) Company was formed by the merger of tanners and other tradesmen and craftsmen; and later, firms were created by saddlers, weavers, smelters, and blacksmiths. However, most of these enterprises failed and almost all of them were shut down because of financial problems and because the tradesmen and craftsmen were not satisfied with these mergers. (Önsoy, Tanzimat Dönemi Osmanlı Sanayii, vol. 22, pp. 102-14).

88 Toprak, “Esnaf (Osmanlı Dönemi),” pp. 213-4.

89 Toprak, “Esnaf (Osmanlı Dönemi)”, pp. 213-4.

This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.

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