Download A Companion to American Technology by Carroll Pursell PDF

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 United States.

  • 22 unique essays by means of professional students disguise an important positive factors of yank expertise, together with advancements in autos, tv, and computing
  • Analyzes the ways that applied sciences are equipped, corresponding to within the engineering career, govt, medication and agriculture
  • Includes discussions of ways applied sciences have interaction with race, gender, classification, and different organizing constructions in American society

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Extra info for A Companion to American Technology

Sample text

Xix) calls “second nature,” the “artificial nature that people erect atop first nature . . the original, prehuman nature. . ” The new routes of travel available from east to west soon came to seem “natural,” and the Great Lakes Basin and other previously inaccessible areas quickly teemed with settlers. Steamboats Through most of the nineteenth century, horses and mules towed canal boats, but steam engines took hold on America’s rivers. “The notion of steam propulsion for boats was nearly as old as the steam engine itself,” writes Pursell (1995, p.

No wonder Americans in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys contemplated an independent future. If the United States were to survive, much less grow and prosper, Americans simply had to overcome the great distances that marked their far-flung territory. Roads, Canals, and Engineering As with many aspects of the Industrial Revolution, Americans followed the British example in transportation technology. Beginning in the 1790s, state governments 34 JAMES C. WILLIAMS chartered private turnpike companies to build improved roads.

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Carnegie’s adoption of Bessemer process, mainly to produce steel rails for the competitive and impatient railroad industry, led to what historian Thomas Misa (1995) calls the “reckless mass production” of rails. Unfortunately, as railroads began using larger locomotives and carrying heavier loads, Carnegie’s sacrifice of quality for quantity, resulted in railroad companies having to rebuild their trackage. The Magic of the Railroads “Railroads were more than just natural,” observes Cronon (1991, p.

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