Technology and Culture

Technology and Culture
Volume 46, Number 2, April 2005

CONTENTS

Articles

    Schiffer, Michael B.
  • The Electric Lighthouse in the Nineteenth Century: Aid to Navigation and Political Technology
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    Subject Headings:
    • Lighthouses -- History -- 19th century.
    • Lighthouses -- Technological innovations -- History -- 19th century.
    • Electric lighting, Arc -- History -- 19th century.
    • Technology and state -- History -- 19th century.
    Abstract:
      Beginning in 1859, the lighthouse was the site of the first commercial application of generator-powered electric-arc lighting. At the end of the century, however, only about thirty had been installed among thousands of lighthouses worldwide. In seeking to explain the differential adoption of the technology, this paper compares the performance characteristics of electric lights and its competitor, oil lamps. Although the electric arc was at a disadvantage in utilitarian performance characteristics, such as costs of installation and maintenance, it was an adequate light under most conditions and excelled in haze and light fog; it could also uniquely symbolize a nation's command of cutting-edge electrical science and technology. Most nations, favoring utilitarian performance characteristics in their decisions, adopted no electric lights. In adopting nations, especially France and England, symbolic performance was heavily weighted, for the electric light was both an aid to navigation and a political technology.
    Tagliacozzo, Eric.
  • The Lit Archipelago: Coast Lighting and the Imperial Optic in Insular Southeast Asia, 1860-1910
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    Subject Headings:
    • Aids to navigation -- Asia, Southeastern -- History -- 19th century.
    • Aids to navigation -- Asia, Southeastern -- History -- 20th century.
    • Aids to navigation -- Political aspects -- Asia, Southeastern -- History -- 19th century.
    • Aids to navigation -- Political aspects -- Asia, Southeastern -- History -- 20th century.
    • Technology and state -- Asia, Southeastern -- History -- 19th century.
    • Technology and state -- Asia, Southeastern -- History -- 20th century.
    Abstract:
      This article looks at patterns of movement, technology, and colonialism through the lens of the lighthouse. Specifically, it seeks to gauge what the contribution of lighthouses, beacons, and buoys were to British and Dutch programs of colonial state-formation in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The first quarter of the piece asks where these structures fit into the larger scheme of maritime technology and expansion in Southeast Asia during this time. The next segment of the essay delves into the geographic and temporal dispersion of these "tools of empire." The third section of the article interrogates the politics of lighting, as internecine cooperation and competition (both between the British and Dutch, and even internally in both camps) helped dictate deployment on the ground. The essay ends with an examination of shifting technologies of lighting, as new developments in lenses, fueling, and construction made certain structures quickly obsolete.
    Bud, Robert.
  • Antibiotics, Big Business, and Consumers: The Context of Government Investigations into the Postwar American Drug Industry
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    Subject Headings:
    • Pharmaceutical industry -- Prices -- Government policy -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    • Pharmaceutical policy -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    • United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly.
    • Antitrust investigations -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    Abstract:
      This paper explores a regulatory campaign to promote access to antibiotics in the United States during the 1950s, and explains it as a reaction to prewar deprivation. It tracks a decade-long attempt to prevent the drug industry from replicating a perceived pattern of big business behavior blamed for underconsumption. The Depression-era Temporary National Economic Committee (TNEC) had explained low consumption by artificially high prices associated with excess profits, excessive marketing and restrictive patents of large companies. In the post-War years a group of TNEC veterans (including Walton Hamilton, Irene Till and John Blair) campaigned to protect the drug market from these vices: through a FTC enquiry which led to a judicial investigation, and through the Kefauver hearings in Congress. This campaign culminated in the in radical increase of FDA powers in 1962, albeit triggered by the thalidomide scare. Ironically the problems of under-consumption were given institutional teeth just at the time that the novel problem of the over-consumption of antibiotics was becoming serious.
    Bednarek, Janet R. Daly (Janet Rose Daly), 1959-
  • The Flying Machine in the Garden: Parks and Airports, 1918-1938
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    Subject Headings:
    • Airports -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    • Airports -- Social aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    • Airports -- United States -- Management -- History -- 20th century.
    • Parks -- Government policy -- United States.
    Abstract:
      The story of the connection between airports and parks during the 1920s and 1930s weaves together a number of threads in the history of land use and the history of technology. Over time the definition of "park" transformed from idealized rural landscape to a location for multiple forms of recreation. At its introduction, while some emphasized more practical uses for the new machine, others saw the airplane as a source of mass entertainment. With the new definition of parks and the entertainment use of the airplane in mind, many proposed that park land could be used for aviation purposes. Though a certain degree of expediency also was involved, arguments based on the compatibility of parks and airports shaped the initial establishment of airports in a number of American cities, including Omaha, Nebraska, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Events in those cities represented the extreme on a continuum of action present during the 1920s and 1930s, with Omaha representing a short-term link and Minneapolis a more long-term and successful relationship.

Research Note

    White, John H., 1933-
  • War of the Wires: A Curious Chapter in Street Railway History
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    Subject Headings:
    • Electric railroads -- Ohio -- Cincinnati -- History.
    • Electric railroads -- Wires and wiring -- History.
    Abstract:
      The street railway industry searched for a reliable and efficient motor to replace the horse for decades. By 1890 electricity was adopted for this purpose by transit operators. The new technology was in fact adopted with enthusiasm and most of the horse cars were gone by 1900. The universal plan included a single overhead wire charged with 600-volt DC current. The ground return was aided by bonded rail joints to complete the circuit. Only one major U.S. city , Cincinnati, chose to use a double-overhead trolley wire system. It had one power and one return wire separated by insulators. There was no substantial technical reason to justify this peculiar way of handling the power collection system. It was adopted because of a legal battle over interference with telephone service because of the ground return and efforts to consolidate the local street railways into a single system. Other factors included a city ban on disrupting street pavements and the opinion of a senior street-railway Titan that the double-wire plan was somehow superior.

Essay Reviews

    Meikle, Jeffrey L., 1949-
  • Ghosts in the Machine: Why It's Hard to Write about Design
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    Subject Headings:
    • Norman, Donald A. Emotional design: why we love (or hate) everyday things.
    • Petroski, Henry. Small things considered: why there is no perfect design.
    • Lienhard, John H., 1930- Inventing modern: growing up with x-rays, skyscrapers, and tailfins.
    • Emotions and cognition.
    • Engineering design.
    Luckin, Bill.
  • Nuclear Meltdown and the Culture of Risk
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    Subject Headings:
    • Walker, J. Samuel. Three Mile Island: a nuclear crisis in historical perspective.
    • Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant (Pa.)
    Olwell, Russell B., 1969-
    Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Knocking at the Schoolhouse Door: The SHOT/AHA Booklet Series Historical Perspectives on Technology, Culture, and Society
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bray, Francesca. Technology and society in Ming China, 1368-1644.
    • Long, Pamela O. Technology, society, and culture in late Medieval and Renaissance Europe, 1300-1600.
    • Long, Pamela O. Technology and society in the medieval centuries: Byzantium, Islam, and the West, 500-1300.
    • Volti, Rudi. Technology transfer and East Asian economic transformation.
    • Roland, Alex, 1944- Military-industrial complex.
    • Post, Robert C. Technology, transport, and travel in American history.
    • Technology -- Social aspects -- China.
    • Science, Medieval.

Book Reviews

    Buchanan, Brenda J.
  • Gunpowder: Alchemy, Bombards, and Pyrotechnics -- The History of the Explosive that Changed the World (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kelly, Jack, 1949- Gunpowder: alchemy, bombards, and pyrotechnics -- the history of the explosive that changed the world.
    • Gunpowder -- History.
    Dalley, Stephanie.
  • The Invention of Cuneiform: Writing in Sumer (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Glassner, Jean-Jacques. Invention of cuneiform: writing in Sumer.
    • Bahrani, Zainab, 1962-, tr.
    • Van de Mieroop, Marc, tr.
    • Writing -- History.
    Falkenhausen, Lothar von.
  • Written on Bamboo and Silk: The Beginnings of Chinese Books and Inscriptions (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Tsien, Tsuen-hsuin, 1910- Written on bamboo and silk: the beginnings of Chinese books and inscriptions.
    • Writing -- Materials and instruments.
    Reinhardt, Anne, 1968-
  • Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876-1937 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Reed, Christopher A. (Christopher Alexander), 1954- Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese print capitalism, 1876-1937.
    • Book industries and trade -- China -- Shanghai -- History -- 19th century.
    Robinson, Michael F.
  • Science Serialized: Representations of the Sciences in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cantor, G. N., 1943-, ed. Science serialized: representations of the sciences in nineteenth-century periodicals.
    • Shuttleworth, Sally, 1952-, ed.
    • Science news -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
    Roush, Wade.
  • The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Starr, Paul, 1949- Creation of the media: political origins of modern communications.
    • Mass media -- United States -- History.
    Wald, Stephen E.
  • Morality and the Mail in Nineteenth-Century America (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Fuller, Wayne Edison, 1919- Morality and the mail in nineteenth-century America.
    • Postal service -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
    Israel, Paul.
  • Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F.B. Morse (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Silverman, Kenneth. Lightning man: the accursed life of Samuel F.B. Morse.
    • Morse, Samuel Finley Breese, 1791-1872.
    Hugill, Peter J.
  • Under the Wire: How the Telegraph Changed Diplomacy (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Nickles, David Paull, 1966- Under the wire: how the telegraph changed diplomacy.
    • Telegraph -- History.
    Singer, Bayla, 1940-
  • Beyond the Image Machine: A History of Visual Technologies (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Tomas, David. Beyond the image machine: a history of visual technologies.
    • Multimedia systems -- History.
    Brown, Julie K.
  • River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Solnit, Rebecca. River of shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the technological wild west.
    • Muybridge, Eadweard, 1830-1904.
    Magoun, Alex.
  • Playback: From the Victrola to MP3, 100 Years of Music, Machines, and Money (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Coleman, Mark, 1957- Playback: from the Victrola to MP3, 100 years of music, machines, and money.
    • Sound recording industry -- History.
    Kraft, James P.
  • Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Katz, Mark, 1970- Capturing sound: how technology has changed music.
    • Sound recording industry.
    Katz, Barry, 1950-
  • Dancing Machines: Choreographies of the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • McCarren, Felicia M. Dancing machines: choreographies of the age of mechanical reproduction.
    • Modern dance.
    Morrison, James.
  • The Rise of Cable Programming in the United States: Revolution or Evolution? (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Mullen, Megan Gwynne, 1964- Rise of cable programming in the United States: revolution or evolution?
    • Cable television -- United States.
    Barnes, Susan B.
  • Digitizing the News: Innovation in Online Newspapers (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Boczkowski, Pablo J. Digitizing the news: innovation in online newspapers.
    • Electronic newspapers -- United States.
    Akera, Atsushi.
  • The Digital Hand: How Computers Changed the Work of American Manufacturing, Transportation, and Retail Industries (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cortada, James W. Digital hand: How computers changed the work of American manufacturing, transportation, and retail industries.
    • Automation -- Economic aspects -- United States.
    Lakwete, Angela, 1949-
  • Minding the Machine: Languages of Class in Early Industrial America (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Rice, Stephen Patrick, 1963- Minding the machine: languages of class in early industrial America.
    • Social classes -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
    MacLeod, Christine, 1952-
  • Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ben-Atar, Doron S. Trade secrets: intellectual piracy and the origins of American industrial power.
    • Business intelligence -- United States -- History.
    Payne, Phillip.
  • Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cowie, Jefferson R., ed. Beyond the ruins: the meanings of deindustrialization.
    • Heathcott, Joseph, 1968-, ed.
    • Deindustrialization -- United States.
    Mernitz, Kenneth S. (Kenneth Streb), 1952-
  • German Industry and Global Enterprise: BASF -- The History of a Company (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Abelshauser, Werner, ed. German industry and global enterprise: BASF -- the history of a company.
    • BASF Aktiengesellschaft -- History.
    Stranges, Anthony N. (Anthony Nicholas), 1936-
  • Fritz Haber: Chemist, Nobel Laureate, German, Jew (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Stoltzenberg, Dietrich, 1926- Fritz Haber: chemist, Nobel Laureate, German, Jew.
    • Haber, Fritz, 1868-1934.
    Allen, Michael.
  • Architects of Annihilation: Auschwitz and the Logic of Destruction (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Aly, Götz, 1947- Architects of annihilation: Auschwitz and the logic of destruction.
    • Heim, Susanne, 1955-
    • Blunden, A. G., tr.
    • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Causes.
    Ferguson, Robert G.
  • The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the Rise of the Third Reich (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Wallace, Max. American axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the rise of the Third Reich.
    • Antisemitism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    Herken, Gregg, 1947-
  • Whole World on Fire: Organizations, Knowledge, and Nuclear Weapons Devastation (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Eden, Lynn. Whole world on fire: organizations, knowledge, and nuclear weapons devastation.
    • Nuclear warfare -- Planning.
    Meade, Roger A.
  • People of the Bomb: Portraits of America's Nuclear Complex (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gusterson, Hugh. People of the bomb: portraits of America's nuclear complex.
    • Nuclear weapons -- Moral and ethical aspects -- United States.
    Sauer, Beverly
  • True Warnings and False Alarms about Technology, 1948-1971 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Mazur, Allan. True warnings and false alarms about technology, 1948-1971.
    • Health risk assessment -- History -- 20th century.
    Abbott, Carl.
  • Hazardous Metropolis: Flooding and Urban Ecology in Los Angeles (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Orsi, Jared, 1970- Hazardous metropolis: flooding and urban ecology in Los Angeles.
    • Flood control -- California -- Los Angeles.
    Ellison, Karin.
  • Border Oasis: Water and the Political Ecology of the Colorado River Delta, 1940-1975, and: Fuel for Growth: Water and Arizona's Urban Environment (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ward, Evan R. (Evan Ray), 1971- Border oasis: water and the political ecology of the Colorado River Delta, 1940-1975.
    • Kupel, Douglas E. (Douglas Edward), 1956- Fuel for growth: water and Arizona's urban environment.
    • Water-supply -- Government policy -- Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico)
    • Municipal water supply -- Government policy -- Arizona.
    Disco, Cornelis.
  • The Rhine: An Eco-Biography, 1815-2000 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cioc, Mark. Rhine: an eco-biography, 1815-2000.
    • Human beings -- Effect of environment on -- Rhine River.
    Foran, Maxwell.
  • Empty Pastures: Confined Animals and the Transformation of the Rural Landscape (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Centner, Terence J. Empty pastures: confined animals and the transformation of the rural landscape.
    • Agriculture -- United States.
    Tenner, Edward.
  • Bred for Perfection: Shorthorn Cattle, Collies, and Arabian Horses since 1800 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Derry, Margaret Elsinor, 1945- Bred for perfection: shorthorn cattle, collies, and arabian horses since 1800.
    • Shorthorn cattle -- Breeding -- History -- 19th century.
    Bakker, Lara Tauritz.
  • Our Own Devices: The Past and Future of Body Technology (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Tenner, Edward. Our own devices: the past and future of body technology.
    • Technology -- Social aspects.
    Benhamou, Reed.
  • Where Stuff Comes From: How Toasters, Toilets, Cars, Computers and Many Other Things Come to Be as They Are (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Molotch, Harvey Luskin. Where stuff comes from: how toasters, toilets, cars, computers and many others things come to be as they are.
    • Engineering -- Popular works.

From the Henry Ford

Memorial




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