Harpers Ferry Armory made a major contribution to the field of the history of technology by fully integrating the process of technological change with the social and economic context of its time and place. The book tells the story of how Americans came to manufacture rifles and muskets with interchangeable parts—which was achieved by John Hall at Harpers Ferry in the 1830s. But there is a second and equally important story in the ways that artisan gunmakers resisted technological change and innovation. By focusing on a single place and product over a sixty year period Smith was able both to link the technical changes to specific labor processes and to demonstrate the remarkable and tenacious persistence of the opposition. He offered two main reasons for the resistance at Harpers Ferry: the artisans' craft ethos and the town's southern and rural location.


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pp. 1010-1017
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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