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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Automated Factory  
  A factory that works entirely automatically, without human guidance.  

This is an early explicit mention of this in science fiction.

"My father's dream! The complete utilization of mechanical power. It's the working out of a model he himself built. A single pressure on a button, and the work of a whole factory begins without anyone to watch or guide it...
Technovelgy from The Hidden Colony, by Otfrid von Hanstein.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1935
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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Hidden Colony
  More Ideas and Technology by Otfrid von Hanstein
  Tech news articles related to The Hidden Colony
  Tech news articles related to works by Otfrid von Hanstein

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