A Companion to American Technology (Blackwell Companions to by Carroll Pursell PDF

By Carroll Pursell

ISBN-10: 0631228446

ISBN-13: 9780631228448

A better half to American know-how is a groundbreaking number of unique essays that examine the hard-to-define phenomenon of “technology” in the USA. 22 unique essays through professional students disguise an important gains of yank know-how, together with advancements in vehicles, tv, and computingAnalyzes the ways that applied sciences are prepared, resembling within the engineering occupation, govt, medication and agricultureIncludes discussions of the way applied sciences engage with race, gender, classification, and different organizing constructions in American society

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Extra resources for A Companion to American Technology (Blackwell Companions to American History)

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One contemporary described them disdainfully “as an engine on a raft with $11,000 worth of jig-saw work” (quoted in Pursell 1995, p. 77). Although standard-design high-pressure wood-fueled engines driving stern or side paddle wheels moved steamboats along at speeds reaching 20 knots, the speed plus navigational obstructions took a tragic toll on both steamboats and passengers. Five hundred and twenty boats were lost by 1850 to snags, various navigational accidents, and boiler explosions. Bursting boilers, 42 of which killed 273 people between 1825 and 1830, resulted both from efforts to make speed and from deficiencies in boiler construction and poor maintenance.

A number of inventors worked hard to make the steamboat a technical as well as a commercial success (Hindle 1981). During the 1790s, the most promising of them were John Fitch (1743–98), John Rumsey (1743–92), and John Stevens III (1749–1838), but they fell into a legal battle over their patents and who among them would receive royalties from the others. Thus it fell to Stevens’s brother-in-law, Robert R. Livingston (1746–1813) and Robert Fulton (1765–1815) to launch the first successful steamboat operation.

Slaves in the upper South undertook technological as well as agricultural tasks. Thus, at ironworks slaves began as laborers in the early eighteenth century and by the end of the century carried out all of the skilled tasks at most Southern forges and furnaces. Owners reserved only managerial responsibilities for whites. They might 28 ROBERT B. GORDON buy slaves or rent them from their owners. Managers often paid their slaves cash for piecework once they exceeded an agreed upon output. Middle-Atlantic colonies had the greatest ethnic diversity – British, Dutch, and German with lesser additions of French, Swedes, Scots, and Irish – and profited from the selection of the most useful components of the technologies that each ethnic group brought to the New World.

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A Companion to American Technology (Blackwell Companions to American History) by Carroll Pursell


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