The Social Context of Innovation


The Social Context of Innovation

Bureaucrats, Families, and Heroes in the Early Industrial Revolution, as Foreseen in Bacon's "New Atlantis"

175 pages
25 illustrations, table, index


November 2003


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The history of technology, Anthony F. C. Wallace contends, must be imagined and investigated within a broader history of society. In these insightful essays, Wallace offers a multigenerational examination of the underlying social forces and everyday settings impelling and enabling early industrial innovation.    The gradual development of the steam engine is illuminated through an examination of the far-reaching but unintentional role played by the British royal ordnance and naval establishments. Wallace shows how the efforts of three generations of the Darby family improved iron production. Finally, the sources of failure in industrial innovation are illustrated through the example of deep-shaft coal mining in nineteenth-century Pennsylvania, which went bankrupt because of inadequately financed operators who ignored standard safety procedures.

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