Peering into the Arsenal
The Venetian Arsenal was responsible for the bulk of Venice's naval power during the middle part of the second millennium AD. It was "one of the earliest large-scale industrial enterprises in history". Built in 1104, Venice developed methods of mass-producing warships in the Arsenal, including the frame-first system to replace the Roman hull-first practice. This new system was much faster and required less wood. At the peak of its efficiency in the early sixteenth century, the Arsenal employed some 16,000 people who apparently were able to produce nearly one ship each day, and could fit out, arm, and provision a newly built galley with standardized parts on a production-line basis not seen again until the Industrial Revolution. By the 1500s the Arsenal produced a ship a day.