Grand environmental and societal challenges have drawn increasing attention to system innovation and socio-technical transitions. A recent Deep Transitions framework has provided a comprehensive theory of the co-evolutionary patterns of multiple socio-technical systems over the last 250 years. However, so far the framework has not been subjected to systematic empirical exploration. In this paper we address this gap by exploring the co-evolutionary model linking niche-level dynamics, transitions in single systems and ‘great surges of development’, as conceptualized by Schot and Kanger (2018) . For this purpose, we conduct a case study on the historical evolution of mass production in the Transatlantic region from 1765 to 1972. Instead of focusing on dominant technologies or common practices the development of mass production is understood as the emergence of a meta-regime, i.e. a set of mutually aligned rules guiding production activities in multiple socio-technical systems. The results broadly confirm the overall model but also enable to extend the Deep Transitions framework by uncovering new mechanisms and patterns in the variation, diffusion and contestation of meta-regimes.