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A Social History of American Technology


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I. IN THE BEGINNING A Social History of American Technology 1.: The Land, the Natives, and the Settlers The Land and the Native Inhabitants The European Settlers The Colonial Economy Colonial Economic Policy and Technological Change Conclusion: Quickening the Pace for Technological Change 2.: Husbandry and Huswifery in the Colonies Types of Farms in the Colonial Period The Technological System of Colonial Agriculture Conclusion: The Myth of Self-Sufficiency 3.: Colonial Artisans The Apprenticeship System and Labor Scarcity Printshops and Printers Mills, Millwrights, and Millers Iron Foundries and Iron Workers Conclusion: Reasons for the Slow Pace of Technological Change II INDUSTRIALIZATION 4.: Early Decades of Industrialization Oliver Evans, Steam Engines, and Machine Shops Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin The Armament Industry and the American System of Manufacture Samuel Slater and the Factory System Conclusion: The Unique Character of American Industrialization 5.: Transportation Revolutions Transportation Difficulties Toll Roads and Entrepreneurs Canal Building and State Financing Steamboats: Steam Power and State Power Railroads: Completing a National Transportation System 6.: Inventors, Entrepreneurs and Engineers The Patent System: The Public History of Invention Inventors: Changes between 1820 and 1920 7.: Industrial Society and Technological Systems Industrialization, Dependency, and Technological Systems The Telegraph System The Railroad System The Telephone System The Electric System The Character of Industrialized Society Conclusion: Industrialization and Technological Systems 8.: Daily Life and Mundane Work Farmers and Unexpected Outcomes Skilled and Deskilled Workers Unskilled Workers Housewives and House Servants Conclusion: Was Industrialization Good or Bad for Workers? 9.: American Ideas about Technology Technology and Associated Ideas Precursors to Industrialization Technology and Romanticism Acceptance of Romanticism by Advocates of Industrialization Technology and Art Conclusion: The Cultural Meanings of Technology TWENTIETH-CENTURY TECHNOLOGIES Blessing or Curse? 10.: Automobiles and Automobility Who Invented the Automobile? Henry Ford and the Mass-Produced Automobile Alfred P. Sloan and the Mass-Marketed American Automobile Automobility and the Road System before 1945 Automobility and the Road System after 1945 The Unexpected Consequences of Automobility 11.: Taxpayers, Generals and Aviation The Early Days of Aircraft and the Aircraft Industry World War II: A Turning Point The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex Civilian Spin-offs and the Race into Space Conclusion: Costs and Benefits of Military Sponsorship 12.: Communications Technologies and Social Control Wireless Telegraphy Wireless Telephony Government Regulation of Wireless Communication Wireless Broadcasting: Radio Television Electronic Components: The Vacuum Tube and the Transistor Computers COnclusion: The Ultimate Failure of Efforts to Control Electronic Communication 13.: Biotechnology Science, Technology, and Technoscience Hybrid Corn Pencillin The Birth Control Pill Conclusion Index


"A careful, effective overview of American technology. The narrative is fluent and certainly appropriate for upper-division undergraduates."--Dan O'Bryan, Sierra Nevada College "A much-needed survey of industry and technology and their impact on American history."--Barbara M. Kelly, Hofstra University "A very accessible, interesting, and informative survey that again and again provokes new ways of thinking about the American experience. I use this in a course on industrialization, but would also use it as a companion text in any American History survey. Engaging."--Dale H. Porter, Western Michigan University "By far the best book of its kind in the field."--John S. Nader, State University of New York at Delhi

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