Industrial History

Waterpower: Mills, Factories, Machines and Floods at Harpers Ferry, WV 1762-1991

Waterpower: Mills, Factories, Machines and Floods at Harpers Ferry, WV 1762-1991

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Read about Hall’s Rifle Works, the U.S. Armory and the mills on Virginius Island. Learn about the machines and equipment in these factories and meet the men and entrepreneurs who ran them. Find out more about the devastation of flooding and unpredictable streamflow that plagued local industry. Many historic photographs and detailed line drawings of machines compliment the text.Author: David T. Gilbert. Publisher: Harpers Ferry Park Association. Paperback, 192 pages. Measures 8.25" x 7.75" x 0.6". Weighs 13 oz.
Burton Drawings at Harpers Ferry: The Emergence of 19th Century Drafting Practice at the U.S. Armories

Burton Drawings at Harpers Ferry: The Emergence of 19th Century Drafting Practice at the U.S. Armories

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James Henry Burtonspent ten eventful years at the Harpers Ferry Armory. During this tenure, he perfected an elongated bullet for the regulation .58-caliber rifle-musket—commonly called the Minié bullet—helped test and perfect new lock mechanisms, barrel rifling, and machinery. Burton’s drawings range from simple sketches used to flesh out components of operating mechanisms to dimensioned, hand-tinted drawings of firearm components and complex machinery. According to John Symington, Supt. of the Harpers Ferry Armory, Burton’s “management was so satisfactory, and his ingenuity in devising, draughting and perfecting tools and machines so marked, as to cause me at once to select him as a fit person to fill the position of Master Armorer…” The Burton Drawings at Harpers Ferry focuses on the remarkable achievements of James H. Burton during his 10-year tenure at the Harpers Ferry Armory. Burton’s notes, sketches, and detailed drawings teach us a great deal about the emergence of 19th century drafting practice and the evolution of firearm technology during the decade preceding the civil war. Author: David T. Gilbert. Publisher: Harpers Ferry Park Association. Paperback, 64 pages. Measures 8.5" x 8.5" x 0.2". Weighs 5.8 oz.
Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology: The Challenge of Change

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. Publisher: Cornell University Press. Paperback, 364 pages. Measures 9" x 5.75" x 0.8". Weighs 1 lb 2.1 oz.
Military Ballooning during the Early Civil War

Military Ballooning during the Early Civil War

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The definitive work on the creation of the United States Balloon Corps during the Civil WarMore than half a century after its initial publication, F. Stansbury Haydon's well-researched book remains the definitive work on the creation of the United States Balloon Corps during the Civil War. Haydon explores his topic down to the last detail, from the amount of fabric used to manufacture every balloon that saw federal service, to the formula for varnish used to seal the envelopes. He explains the technical operation of mobile gas generators that T. S. C. Lowe designed to inflate balloons in the field and provides the precise cost of each rubber hose used in their construction.Military Ballooning during the Early Civil War raises large and important questions about technological change within a military bureaucracy. The book begins with an introduction to the history of military ballooning since the wars of the French Revolution, with special attention to discussions of military aeronautics in the United States since the time of the Seminole Wars. Haydon also demonstrates the complicated maneuvering among American balloonists who sought to aid the army before the Battle of Bull Run and shows how the attitudes of various officers toward the balloons changed during the ensuing months of 1861-62.First published in 1941 as Aeronautics in the Union and Confederate Armies, this volume received compliments in the London Times Literary Supplement for its exploration of "the attitude of soldiers toward innovations." A reviewer in the Military Engineer praised the book both for its extensive scholarship and "as a lesson to all military men of the difficulties and misunderstandings which arise whenever a new means of conducting war is introduced into army circles." This edition includes a new foreword by Tom D. Crouch, senior curator of the Aeronautics Division at the National Air and Space Museum.Publisher: John Hopkins University Press. Paperback, 422 pages. Measures 9" x 5.8" x 1.24". Weighs 1lb 9.1 oz.
Networked Machinists High-Technology Industries in Antebellum America

Networked Machinists High-Technology Industries in Antebellum America

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A century and a half before the modern information technology revolution, machinists in the eastern United States created the nation's first high technology industries. In iron foundries and steam-engine works, locomotive works, machine and tool shops, textile-machinery firms, and firearms manufacturers, these resourceful workers pioneered the practice of dispersing technological expertise through communities of practice.In the first book to study this phenomenon since the 1916 classic, English and American Tool Builders, David R. Meyer examines the development of skilled-labor exchange systems, showing how individual metalworking sectors grew and moved outward. He argues that the networked behavior of machinists within and across industries helps explain the rapid transformation of metalworking industries during the antebellum period, building a foundation for the sophisticated, mass production/consumer industries that figured so prominently in the later U.S. economy.Publisher: John Hopkins University Press. Hardback, 312 pages. Measures 9.25" x 6.25" x 1.12". Weighs 1 lb 9.1 oz.