A Companion to American Technology by Carroll Pursell

A Companion to American Technology by Carroll Pursell

By Carroll Pursell

A better half to American know-how is a groundbreaking selection of unique essays that research the hard-to-define phenomenon of “technology” in the USA.

  • 22 unique essays through professional students disguise an important beneficial properties of yankee expertise, together with advancements in vehicles, tv, and computing
  • Analyzes the ways that applied sciences are equipped, resembling within the engineering career, govt, medication and agriculture
  • Includes discussions of the way applied sciences have interaction with race, gender, classification, and different organizing constructions in American society

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Particularly in the northern states, manufacturing took hold in the form of the factory system imported from Britain, but it was not universally welcomed. “The promise of labor-saving devices strongly appealed to a nation concerned with establishing independence, safeguarding moral purity, and promoting industry and thrift among her people,” observes historian Kasson (1976, p. 50). Technological progress in transportation and communication seemed to overcome the country’s regional fragmentation, but “the union of technology and republicanism, while settling some issues, raised others.

Difficulties also arose in organizing the talents of individual artisans into a production process that required teamwork, or, as in tending a blast furnace, disciplined attendance over many weeks or months. Tools were common in everyday life in almost every colonial household, and by the late eighteenth century almost every village on a watercourse had mills. Young people gained experience with the mechanical arts early in life. The widespread interest in tinkering helped lay the foundation for rapid industrialization in the early republic.

Railroads ran across the countryside at extraordinary speeds never before attained on land, pulling incredible loads day and night. By the 1850s, it took not two weeks to travel from Chicago to New York City, but, astonishingly, only two days. As a result, Americans began thinking of their country in quite new perceptual terms, for with speed of transport it shrank drastically in people’s minds. The railroad embedded itself in the psyches of the American people and into the national culture. When people watched steam locomotives snorting by on the plains, they were watching an awesome wonder on the stage of national life: a physical object, constructed of iron and steel, which had incredibly leaped into life and motion, like some magical genie coming alive right before one’s eyes.

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