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Networked Machinists
David R. Meyer
Johns Hopkins U Press
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Date Listed:
2008-09-12 20:51:17
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Networked Machinists
High-Technology Industries in Antebellum America

by David R. Meyer.

Cloth with dust jacket, 7x10, 328 pages, 30 line drawings.

"A century and a half before the modern information technology revolution, machinists in the eastern United States created the nation's first high technology industries. In iron foundries and steam-engine works, locomotive works, machine and tool shops, textile-machinery firms, and firearms manufacturers, these resourceful workers pioneered the practice of dispersing technological expertise through communities of practice.

"In the first book to study this phenomenon since the 1916 classic, English and American Tool Builders, David R. Meyer examines the development of skilled-labor exchange systems, showing how individual metalworking sectors grew and moved outward. He argues that the networked behavior of machinists within and across industries helps explain the rapid transformation of metalworking industries during the antebellum period, building a foundation for the sophisticated, mass production / consumer industries that figured so prominently in the later U.S. economy."

"An excellent book about the origin of antebellum machinist networks and their profound effect on U.S. industrialization across a wide range of industries. In focusing on the machinists and not just the machines, it advances our understanding of technological change." - Ross D. Thomson, University of Vermont, author of The Path to Mechanized Shoe Production in the United States

"This study contains a wealth of information and surprises." - Choice

"An excellent, up-to-date, synthetic volume with strong themes and evidence." - Ross Thomson, EH.Net

"An excellent synthesis of decades of scholarship." - Anne Kelly Knowles, Technology and Culture

"David R. Meyer teaches sociology and urban studies at Brown University."