Weapons & All Equipment

Springfield Armory DVD

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The 174-year history of weapons manufacture is told in "Springfield Armory". Craftsmen in clothing of the period are shown in actual stages of production including shaping the gunstock on the Blanchard lathe.The production of weapons at the Springfield Armory was very similar to the activities at the Harpers Ferry Armory.Running time: 18 minutes. Bonus films on this DVD include John Brown's Raid: To Do Battle in the Land, Antietam Visit, and Back to Harpers Ferry.

Civil War Artillery DVD

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Civil War Artillery includes two film selections: Firing the Napoleon details how a trained artillery crew services the Napoleon, one of the principal cannons used by both sides during the Civil War. Petersburg Cannon Firing shows soldiers in period costume demonstrating how a mounted artillery unit moved, set up, and the firing of a cannon. Also, an additional Revolutionary War period weapons demonstration is shown.Running time: 16 minutes. Bonus films on this DVD include To Keep Our Liberty, George Washington's Headquarters, A Few Men Well Conducted, Guilford Letters, and Siege of Yorktown.

Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology The Challenge of Change

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Focusing on the day-to-day operations of the U.S. armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, from 1798 to 1861, this book shows what the "new technology" of mechanized production meant in terms of organization, management, and worker morale. A local study of much more than local significance, it highlights the major problems of technical innovation and social adaptation in antebellum America.

Merritt Roe Smith describes how positions of authority at the armory were tied to a larger network of political and economic influence in the community; how these relationships, in turn, affected managerial behavior; and how local social conditions reinforced the reactions of decision makers. He also demonstrates how craft traditions and variant attitudes toward work vis-à-vis New England created an atmosphere in which the machine was held suspect and inventive activity was hampered.

Of central importance is the author's analysis of the drastic differences between Harpers Ferry and its counterpart, the national armory at Springfield, Massachusetts, which played a pivotal role in the emergence of the new technology. The flow of technical information between the two armories, he shows, moved in one direction only― north to south. "In the end," Smith concludes, "the stamina of local culture is paramount in explaining why the Harpers Ferry armory never really flourished as a center of technological innovation."

Pointing up the complexities of industrial change, this account of the Harpers Ferry experience challenges the commonly held view that Americans have always been eagerly receptive to new technological advances.