Windmills -- Design and construction -- History -- To 1500.
Diffusion of innovations -- History -- To 1500.
Windmills became a very common sight on medieval landscapes from the late twelfth century onwards, particularly the mostly timber post-mill variety. Much rarer were tower windmills, where the wooden cap carrying the sails rotated on the top of a high stone tower. Despite the fact that tower windmills were known from at least the late thirteenth century and seemingly had advantages of durability and as attractive show-pieces for medieval landlords, they were never built in any great number during the medieval period. Our article surveys the six certain, probable and possible cases of tower windmills in medieval England and then tries to explain why there were not more of them. Their greater cost relative to post-mills was one obvious reason. But another, we argue, was the reluctance of carpenters to build them, since the requirement of constructing the stone tower meant that much of the work was given over to masons. In order to ensure their continued dominance in the lucrative windmill business, carpenters seem to have preferred promoting the more timber-based post-mills, which they managed to do with great success to the end of the medieval period and beyond.
Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid -- Iowa -- History -- 20th century.
Farmers -- Effect of technological innovations on -- Iowa -- History -- 20th century.
Weeds -- Control -- Iowa -- History -- 20th century.
Agricultural innovations -- Iowa -- History -- 20th century.
After World War II farmers transformed the Iowa landscape by using newly developed growth regulator herbicides while simultaneously shaping the way herbicides were used. Herbicides met many farmers' goals, including cutting fuel and labor costs of cultivating while boosting yields by reducing weed competition for soil nutrients, light, and moisture. In the 1940s and 1950s, experts advised farmers to only use chemicals to supplement mechanical cultivation, but by the 1960s some farmers reduced or eliminated cultivation. Farmers also contended with unanticipated consequences of herbicide use. Some weeds were resistant to herbicide and proliferated as farmers reduced or eliminated species that were easier to control. Weed control became more expensive and complicated by 1972, with new varieties, combinations, additives, and government regulation. In spite of the expense of herbicides and some undesirable consequences, farmers continued to use them, accepting a new chemical paradigm and altering the Midwestern landscape.
Express highways -- Europe, Western -- History -- 20th century.
Express highways -- Europe, Western -- Design and construction -- History -- 20th century.
Transportation and state -- Europe, Western -- History -- 20th century.
Limited-access highways were introduced before the Second World War in some European countries, and after that war in many others around the world, including the United States. They were superimposed upon an already existing, hierarchical system of roads. This article analyses the emergence of the 'highway concept,' focusing on the special case of the Netherlands. It argues that in order to build such roads, power had to be shifted to the state; in addition, fantasies about their future long-range use for touristic purposes were instrumental. The realization of early automobile-only road networks was accompanied by the emergence of a 'railway metaphor,' which referred to the desire for central control of national and international road building agencies. On these roads, traffic flows resemble centrally controlled train behavior far more than motorists and historians alike have thus far realized.
Usher, Abbott Payson, 1883-1965. History of mechanical inventions.
Inventions -- History.
A History of Mechanical Inventions by the economic historian Abbott Payson Usher, first published in 1929, pioneered the modern study of the history of technology. Its meticulous attention to the details of technological evolution give it the appearance of a narrow "nuts-and-bolts" history, now long out of fashion. But, it actually took on the human and moral dimensions of technology in the broadest way. The book's introductory chapters lay out an ambitious agenda for history, embracing issues of novelty, technological determinism, and historical causation—issues that remain central to the field today. Usher's book was very much a product of the Machine Age and of the moral questions it raised about human freedom in the face of technology. Advocating human agency in history, Usher was driven by a "material sense of things" and by ideas from contemporary revolutions in relativity, quantum theory, and Gestalt psychology, theories asserting a new more intimate relationship between humans and the cosmos.
Holley, I. B. (Irving Brinton), 1919- Ideas and weapons.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Aerial operations.
Though it clearly bears the marks of the early 1950s, Ideas and Weapons remains an important and useful classic in the literature on military innovation. I.B. Holley's analysis of the role of institutional structure in shaping the adoption of the aerial weapon during World War I continues to frame current understanding of the complex interaction between military doctrine, military institutions, and technological change. This Revisit examines the context and content of Holley's analysis, its scholarly reception, and its impact on current literature in the history military technology.
Misa, Thomas J. Leonardo to the internet: technology and culture from the Renaissance to the present.
Technology -- History.
Thomas J. Misa's Leonardo to the Internet: Technology and Culture from the Renaissance to the Present represents a new kind of survey history of technology. Traditional surveys take technology as their starting point (rather than politics and culture) and hence follow a periodization distinct from traditional political history. They also tend to sacrifice depth to achieve encyclopedic coverage. Misa's survey takes politics and culture as its starting point, which places technology back into mainstream history. Seeking to define and analyze paradigmatic techno-cultural eras, Misa examines eight key episodes in Western history and technology from the Renaissance to the present and identifies an underlying pattern of technological/economic through and action for each era, illustrated by key examples. Misa's work echoes the approaches of Lewis Mumford and Bertrand Gille in defining key technological eras, but he broadens this approach to link it more firmly with mainstream history. Misa also draws upon the traditions of political economy and economic history, but he moves beyond the myth of "economic man" by paying careful attention to the influence of political and cultural regimes on technological development. Misa's postmodern, episodic reading of the past encourages student debate and questioning, and invites development of a richer variety of survey histories.
Gillispie, Charles Coulston. Science and polity in France: the revolutionary and Napoleonic years.
Science -- France -- History.
Charles Coulston Gillispie has justified his place as dean of historians of science and technology with these two magisterial books. Science and Polity in France: The End of the Old Regime, published twenty-five years ago, demonstrates how intellectuals in Paris developed science and technology as the expression of the Enlightenment's use of reason to resolve social problems. Through networks of talented individuals benefiting from state support, experimental information was exchanged and standards developed. The recently published (2004) Science and Polity in France: The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Years, shows how the embryonic science became professional as scientists earned a living through their expertise. This volume presents the debate over educational plans submitted to Revolutionary committees. It shows the bumpy adoption of the metric system and the perilous measurement of the Meridian of Paris. And while acknowledging that interchangeable parts and steel making were known, Gillispie asserts that the French Revolution did not create an industrial revolution. Meticulously documented, engagingly written, these volumes are definitive reference works for scholar and general reader alike.