1560s, "something made by hand," from French manufacture (16c.), from Medieval Latin *manufactura "a making by hand" (source of Italian manifattura, Spanish manufactura), from Latin manu, ablative of manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand") + factura "a working," from past-participle stem of facere "to perform" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
Sense of "process of making goods or wares of any kind, the production of articles of use from raw or prepared materials by hand-labor or machinery" is recorded by 1620s. Related: Manufactures.
1680s, "convert material to a form suitable for use," from manufacture (n.). Meaning "to make or fabricate," especially in considerable quantities or numbers, as by the aid of many hands or machinery" is by 1755. Figurative sense of "produce artificially, invent fictitiously, get up by contrivance or effort" is from 1762. Related: Manufactured; manufacturing; manufacturable.