By David F. Noble
"An terribly exact and heavily argued exam of the institutional units that got here to hyperlink administration and engineering."--The New Republic
"One of the simplest books of the final decade....It has that infrequent stability: quiet, cumulative strength with bolts of lightning each few pages."--William Appleman Williams, Oregon nation University
"One of the exceptional works of radical social technology of the 1970s."--Monthly Review
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Additional resources for America by Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism
There has probably never been an age,” he observed, “in which the practical applications of science have employed so large a portion of talent and enterprise of the community, as in the present. To embody … the various topics which belong to such an undertaking, I have adopted the general name of Technology, a word sufficiently expressive, which is found in some of the older dictionaries, and is beginning to be revived in the literature of practical men at the present day. ”1 Both Franklin and Bigelow were ahead of their times.
From the outset he undertook to “occupy the field,” as he termed it, so as to ensure that the Bell company would outlive its original patents. ” In order to do this, Vail elaborated, the company very early established an “experimental” or “engineering” department “whose business it was to study the patents, study the development and study these devices that either were originated by our own people or came in to us from the outside. ” Frederick P. Fish put the matter succinctly in an address to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers: “The businessmen of the organization knew that … every added invention would strengthen their position not only during the seventeen years of the main patent but during the seventeen years’ term of each and every one of the patents taken out on subsidiary methods and devices invented during the progress of commercial development.
The creation of both presupposed and stimulated advances in physics and chemistry and would have been unthinkable without some basic knowledge about the behavior of atoms, molecules, gases, light, magnetism, and electricity. Of the two, the electrical industry arose first, in the 1880s; by the turn of the century it had become a major force in the world of production, dominated by a handful of large, powerful, and dynamic corporations. Although a healthy heavy-chemical and powder industry existed throughout the second half of the nineteenth century in the United States, it was not until World War I, with the seizure of German-owned patents and the establishment of a protective tariff, that a domestic dyestuff industry, and thus a chemical industry proper, was established on a par with the electrical industry.
America by Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism by David F. Noble