The Social Context of Innovation: Bureaucrats, Families, and Heroes in the Early Industrial Revolution, As Foreseen in Bacon's New Atlantis

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U of Nebraska Press, 2003 M10 31 - 175 pages
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The history of technology, Anthony F. C. Wallace contends, must be imagined and investigated within a broader history of society. In these insightful essays, Wallace offers a multigenerational examination of the underlying social forces and everyday settings impelling and enabling early industrial innovation.øøø The gradual development of the steam engine is illuminated through an examination of the far-reaching but unintentional role played by the British royal ordnance and naval establishments. Wallace shows how the efforts of three generations of the Darby family improved iron production. Finally, the sources of failure in industrial innovation are illustrated through the example of deep-shaft coal mining in nineteenth-century Pennsylvania, which went bankrupt because of inadequately financed operators who ignored standard safety procedures.

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The Royal Office of Ordnance
Families of Iron
The Ventilation of Coal Mines

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About the author (2003)

Anthony F. C. Wallace is a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of such books as Revitalizations and Mazeways: Essays on Culture Change, Volume 1 (Nebraska 2003) and Rockdale: The Growth of an American Village in the Early Industrial Revolution, winner of the Bancroft Prize.

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