This paper establishes stylized facts about business cycles in the late 19th century, using spectral analysis techniques which allow an intuitive description and analysis of cyclical structure in economic fluctuations. Analysis of industrial production data for 13 countries permits the following generalizations. In the advanced North Atlantic economies, a fairly regular long cycle with a periodicity of 7–10 years is identified in all countries. This component explains a substantial fraction of overall variation in industrial production. There is some evidence of a less regular, less powerful short cycle of 3–5 years duration. In peripheral economies experience is varied, but it is more often the short cycle that exercises greater influence. The long cycle component is shown to be highly correlated among the core economies, much less so between core and peripheral economies, and least of all among peripheral economies. The long cycle is more highly correlated among countries with important trading ties and those on a metallic monetary standard throughout the period.