This collection of original essays documents technology's centrality to the history of early America. Unlike much previous scholarship, this volume emphasizes the quotidian rather than the exceptional: the farm household seeking to preserve food or acquire tools, the surveyor balancing economic and technical considerations while laying out a turnpike, the woman of child-bearing age employing herbal contraceptives, and the neighbors of a polluted urban stream debating issues of property, odor, and health. These cases and others drawn from brewing, mining, farming, and woodworking enable the authors to address recent historiographic concerns, including the environmental aspects of technological change and the gendered nature of technical knowledge. Brooke Hindle's classic 1966 essay on early American technology is also reprinted, and his view of the field is reassessed. A bibliographical essay and summary of Hindle's bibliographic findings conclude the volume. The contributors are Judith A. McGaw, Robert C. Post, Susan E. Klepp, Michal McMahon, Patrick W. O'Bannon, Sarah F. McMahon, Donald C. Jackson, Robert B. Gordon, Carolyn C. Cooper, and Nina E. Lerman.
Early American Technology
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