Industrial Development, c.1760–c.1870
Cost information had been collected and used to inform decision making in many walks of life long before the advent of the British Industrial Revolution (see Chapters 3-5). Such uses did not register strongly with early historians of accounting such as A.C. Littleton (1933), Ronald Edwards (1937) and S. Paul Garner (1954) who based their assessments on an accounting literature which largely ignored issues of cost calculation. Indeed, the accounting literature published in Britain through to the 1870s paid relatively little attention to industrial accounting. Because Littleton (1933: 360) confi ned attention to published texts he no doubt felt justifi ed in claiming that the advent of ‘Cost accounting represents the infl uence of the industrial revolution upon double-entry book-keeping’. This book reveals that Littleton possessed an incomplete understanding of the history of cost calculation, but this is unsurprising given that virtually all the empirical studies we are now able to draw upon were undertaken long after he published his pioneering work.