Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology
The Challenge of Change 1st New edition
By (author) Merritt Roe Smith
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Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology by Merritt Roe Smith
Book DescriptionFocusing on the day-to-day operations of the U.S. armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, from 1798 to 1861, this book shows what the "new technology" of mechanized production meant in terms of organization, management, and worker morale. A local study of much more than local significance, it highlights the major problems of technical innovation and social adaptation in antebellum America. Merritt Roe Smith describes how positions of authority at the armory were tied to a larger network of political and economic influence in the community; how these relationships, in turn, affected managerial behavior; and how local social conditions reinforced the reactions of decision makers. He also demonstrates how craft traditions and variant attitudes toward work vis-a-vis New England created an atmosphere in which the machine was held suspect and inventive activity was hampered. Of central importance is the author's analysis of the drastic differences between Harpers Ferry and its counterpart, the national armory at Springfield, Massachusetts, which played a pivotal role in the emergence of the new technology. The flow of technical information between the two armories, he shows, moved in one direction only- north to south. "In the end," Smith concludes, "the stamina of local culture is paramount in explaining why the Harpers Ferry armory never really flourished as a center of technological innovation." Pointing up the complexities of industrial change, this account of the Harpers Ferry experience challenges the commonly held view that Americans have always been eagerly receptive to new technological advances.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780801491818
(230mm x 150mm x 21mm)
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 30-Apr-1980
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Merritt Roe Smith
Reconceptualizing the Industrial Revolution, Paperback (December 2010)
Closely linked essays examine distinctive national patterns of industrialization.
Does Technology Drive History?, Paperback (July 1994)» View all books by Merritt Roe Smith
These thirteen essays explore a crucial historical questionthat has been notoriously hard to pin down: To what extent,and by what means, does a society's technology determine itspolitical, social, economic, and cultural forms?
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Author Biography - Merritt Roe Smith
Merritt Roe Smith is Leverett Howell and William King Cutten Professor of the History of Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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