did-you-know? rent-now

Amazon no longer offers textbook rentals. We do!

did-you-know? rent-now

Amazon no longer offers textbook rentals. We do!

We're the #1 textbook rental company. Let us show you why.


A Social History of American Technology

by ;
  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-03-31
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping Icon Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • eCampus.com Logo Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
  • Buyback Icon We Buy This Book Back!
    In-Store Credit: $7.61
    Check/Direct Deposit: $7.25
    PayPal: $7.25
List Price: $91.72 Save up to $73.38
  • Rent Book $18.34
    Add to Cart Free Shipping Icon Free Shipping

    *This item is part of an exclusive publisher rental program and requires an additional convenience fee. This fee will be reflected in the shopping cart.

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


A Social History of American Technology, Second Edition, tells the story of American technology from the tools used by its earliest inhabitants to the technological systems--cars and computers, aircraft and antibiotics--that we are familiar with today. Ruth Schwartz Cowan and Matthew H. Hersch demonstrate how technological change has always been closely related to social and economic development, and examine the important mutual relationships between social history and technological change. They explain how the unique characteristics of American cultures and American geography have affected the technologies that have been invented, manufactured, and used throughout the years--and also the reverse: how those technologies have affected the daily lives, the unique cultures, and the environments of all Americans.

Author Biography

Ruth Schwartz Cowan is Janice and Julian Bers Professor Emerita of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Matthew H. Hersch is Assistant Professor of History of Science at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Each chapter ends with Notes and Suggestions for Further Reading.

Introduction: The Origins of American Technology
A Social History of American Technology

1. The Land, the Natives, and the Settlers
The Land and the Native Inhabitants
The European Settlers
The Colonial Economy
Colonial Economic Policy and Technological Change
Conclusion: Quickening the Pace of Technological Change

2. Agricultural and Craft Work in the Colonies
Colonial Farming
The Myth of Self-Sufficiency
Artisanal Work in the Colonies
The Apprenticeship System and Labor Scarcity
Printers and Print Shops
Iron Foundries and Iron Workers
Historical Significance of the Colonial Crafts
Conclusion: Reasons for the Slow Pace of Technological Change

3. From Farm to Factory
Oliver Evans (1755-1819)
Eli Whitney (1765-1825)
Samuel Slater (1768-1835)
Conclusion: The Unique Character of American

4. Transportation Revolutions
Transportation Difficulties
Toll Roads and Entrepreneurs
Canal Building and State Financing
Steamboats: Steam Power and State Power
Railroads: Completing a National Transportation
Introduction: Industrial Society

5. Technological Systems and Industrial Society
Industrialization, Dependency, and Technological Systems
The Telegraph System
The Railroad System
The Petroleum System
The Telephone System
The Electric System
The Character of Industrialized Society
Conclusion: Industrialization and Technological Systems

6. Everyday Labor in the Mechanical Age
Farmers and Unexpected Outcomes
Skilled and Deskilled Workers
Unskilled Workers
Housewives and House Servants
Conclusion: Was Industrialization Good or Bad for Workers?

7. Inventors, Entrepreneurs, and Engineers
The Patent System: The Public History of Invention
Inventors: Changes between 1820 and 1920
Entrepreneurs: Innovation and Diffusion
Engineers: Changes between 1820 and 1920
Introduction: New Frontiers, New Fears
20th-Century Technology: Blessing or Curse?

8. Automobiles and Automobility
Who Invented the Automobile?
Henry Ford and the Mass-Produced Automobile
Alfred P. Sloan and the Mass-Marketed American
Automobility and the Road System before 1945
Automobility and the Road System, 1945-1970
The Unexpected Consequences of Automobility
Conclusion: The Paradox of Automobility

9. Taxpayers, Generals, and Aerospace
The Early Days of Aircraft and the Aircraft Industry
World War II: A Turning Point
The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex
Civilian Spin-offs of the Aviation Revolution
From Air Flight to Spaceflight
Precision-Guided Weapons and Modern War
Conclusion: Costs and Benefits of Military Sponsorship

10. Electronic Communication and Social Control
Wireless Telegraphy
Wireless Telephony
Government Regulation of Wireless Communication
Wireless Broadcasting: Radio
Conclusion: Centralization and Electronic

11. Electronic Brains and Global Villages
The Origins of the Computer
The Digital Electronic Computer
Real-Time Computing and SAGE
Electronic Components: The Transistor and the Integrated Circuit
IBM and the Maturation of the Computer Industry
The Rise of the Personal Computer
From ARPANET to Internet
Reinventing the Telephone: The Smartphone and Social Networking
Conclusion: The Ultimate Failure of Efforts to Control
Electronic Communication

12. Foods, Drugs, and Unintended
Science, Technology, and TechnoScience
Hybrid Corn
The Birth Control Pill

13. TechnoScience and the Biotech Industry
Recombinant DNA
The Biotech Industry Begins
The First Controversy: Public Rights, Private Interests, and Safety
The Flavr Saver Tomato
Monsanto and the Continuing GMO Controversy
Coda: Thinking About Technology
Ideas that Americans Have Associated with Technology
Conclusion: How Thinking Historically Helps
Us Think About Technology


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

Rewards Program