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A Nation of Steel: The Making of Modern America, 1865-1925 (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology) Paperback – September 8, 1998
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In what will surely become a standard history of steelmaking, Misa integrates that industry's development with the industrial growth of America in the half-century following the Civil War. Involved in the interplay between steel production and the production of America were such developments as the railroads' demand for steel rails following the Civil War, the role of urbanization and especially tall-building construction, the armor plate requirements of the Navy, and the emergence and growth of the automotive industry.(Science, Technology and Society)
This truly outstanding book will become required reading in the history of technology. The story of steel is important in its own right, and Thomas Misa writes with remarkable clarity and succinctness... The emphasis upon user-producer interactions allows Misa to focus on the social significance of technologies and to bring out nuances and contingencies in the development of critical technologies and industries.(Edwin T. Layton Technology and Culture)
Each of Misa's six case studies is fruitful, and together they capture the enormously diverse and complex influences on technological change. Taken as a whole, this study constitutes a massive and successful assault on the neo-classical paradigm... This book will profoundly shape the way scholars understand how technologies 'are not only socially constructed but society-shaping.(David Bensman American Historical Review)
A brief review can not do justice to the subtlety with which Misa links steelmaking to a larger socioeconomic environment... Based on new information from archival and other primary sources, this well-written, richly textured work greatly expands our knowledge of American industrialization.(W. David Lewis Journal of American History)
A splendid overview of an industry whose fortunes were inextricably intertwined with the railroads... The protions that treat the dynamic interrelations of the steel industry and the railroads clearly stand as the most sophisticated treatment of this complex topic that has yet appeared in print... An immensely rewarding book.(Robert C. Post Railroad History)
About the Author
Thomas J. Misa is at the University of Minnesota, where he directs the Charles Babbage Institute Center for the History of Information Technology, teaches in the graduate program for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, and is a faculty member in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Top Customer Reviews
Thesis: "The relationships between producers and consumers are the single most important determinant of the dynamics of technology and social change." (xix) "The view of technology as applied science has served as a powerful myth for legitimating science policy..., but this view is worse than useless for comprehending the dynamics of technical and social change." (xv)
Chapter 1. "The Dominance of rails 1865-1885"
Three RR building campaigns, 1872, 1882, 1887
Henry Bessemer process: air could decarburize pig iron, blew it in from the bottom of a tilting converter.
Alexander L. Holley: designed Bessemer steel rail mills
From 1877-1915 (except depression decade of 1890s) price of steel rails determined by Bessemer Association & successors
Users and producers of rails could be owned by same corporation, ie Pennsylvania RR p 21
Continuous Bessemer process p26
How to determine quality? Chemistry. Distinguish iron from steel? p30
Carbon content: Steel .2-1% p33 Fusion p32, p38
Steel making in US created for a single product: making steel rails. p 42-43.
RR officials promoted funded and founded early Bessemer steel works
Train steel executives in modern management
Influenced scientific knowledge
Shaped pattern and pace of national development p43.
Chapter 2. "The Structure of Cities, 1880-1900"
New steel for urban structures broke the tyranny of the Bessemer steel rail and was a mammoth technical and scientific effort involving new linkages between producers and consumers of steel. p 50
Bessemer mills could not make structural steel for four reasons; p 76.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Readable narrative of how the changes in steelmaking from 1860 to 1940 or so influenced the growth of the major steel using industries in America, and vice versa. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Machinery's Handbook
This book should be of interest to those interested in US history, the history of innovation and to metallurgists interested in finding out the history of metallurgy in the 19th... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Metallurgist