Pursell, Carrol. The Machine in America: A Social History of Technology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1995.

Some notes on chapters 2-9:

Chapter 2: Textiles and Iron

Key timing is in the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution at nearly the same moment. Americans saw vast possibilities and stole British technology. By 1812, with industry well established, they had "cams" as programs for machines and ironworks in every state. Americans were slow to create steam engines, slow to get off the "wood standard," slow to puddle and roll.

Chapter 3: Transportation

Canals in England were running in 1759, also railroads, in 1825 was the (first) Stockton and Darlington Railroad. In 1806 the Cumberland National Road was begin through Maryland. By 1852, it ran to Vandalia, Illinois. Road building techniques were not up to French engineering standards, but rock crushing and steam rolling helped to create conditions for good roads in 1858-59. The Erie Canal was completed in 1825; New York City became a central hub. Steamboats were plying rivers, and high pressure engines were developed and then debated by the government, engineers and the uneasy public alike. Cincinnati was the hub of machine tooling and repair. The railroad was established in Baltimore, but the engines built in England. The Best Friend of Charleston was the first American engine built. Americans began manufacturing engines and soon sold them and their road-building skills in Russia for a line running from Moscow to St. Petersburg. In 1855 was The Lackawanna Valley was commissioned by the Lackawanna RR from George Innes, and by 1883 standardized time zones had been created.

Chapter Four:

Transplanted machines were firmly established by 1900, and the relevant developments were jigs, gauges and machine tools, especially as they created interchangeable parts. (c.f. the Blanchard Lathe). The Armory led the way, with the workshop of John Hall; although not cost effective, the potential was seen. Bicycles, sewing machines, McCormick Reapers, cars and wheat milling were key industries. Key processes were metal rollers, the Bessemer Steel (cold air and high pressure), cutting lathes and the division of labor (with or without machines). Patent laws encouraged inventors after Federal Laws were enacted in 1836. Engineering schools and societies were established in the 1850-1890 range and women were reluctantly admitted.

Chapter Five:

Amazing statistics on farm clearing: there is a 100 year transformation of the landscape using new tools (from 6000 BC to 1800 AD processes were much the same). Pre 1850, a family might be able to add 5 acres per year if they concentrated on crops. One person took 13 days to clear 1 acre of stumps. Farm equipment cost approximately $100-200. Important technologies are revolving riding haying rakes (1837-49) steel mouldboard plows (1837), McCormick Reapers (1854), and dynamite for stump blasting (1866). When big farms came along, steam engines and more expensive equipment prevailed. Big silos and refrigerated cares helped mechanize farming infrastructure. However, rural electrification lagged until the 1930s. Soil science and the USDA are also creations in this era.

Chapter 6

By 1920, America was half urban, half agricultural. Features of the city were as follows: newly established waterworks systems to beat cholera, sewage and water removal, and tram lines to allow people to live farther from their work. There was public lighting and public parks, department stores, wire-spun bridges, pavements, amusement parks and sports teams. Bicycles and factory towns were significant features of the landscape. Important innovators and political appointees were Brush (lights) Sprague (trams) Cheesbrough (Chicago H20) and Mulholland (LA H20).

Chapter 7, Developing the West

The revolver, steamboat, railroad, and telegraph helped Americans move West. In 1849 mining development, particularly water drilling, mattered. So did sawmill technology. Germany contributed engineers and America created engineering schools and land-grant colleges. The far west required dams and irrigation.

Chapter 8

The history of engineers abroad, Lehigh of 1896 goes out to change the world. Americans replaced British engineers and found places to exploit and explore: Panama, the Philippines, China and Japan.

Chapter 9

Science was firmly entwined with technology in systems and became rationalized and concentrated. Progressives, who stood for social justices, humane institutions, and wanted to rationalize and manage for order and stability engendered Theodore Roosevelt and the USGS as defining institutions. Conservation and efficiency were the Zeitgeist, as were their teachings and teachers, Taylor and the motion studies of the Gilbreths. City managers and … (cultural preference for system organization size). The invention and the inventor and the significance of owning patents began, as illuminated by GE's lighting patents and therefore big companies began to invest in research. The chemistry labs were ready and waiting for WWI, as were the flexible and expandable workshops of America.