History of American Technology

History of American Technology

History of American Technology

History of American Technology

Excerpt

This book is a historical survey of the development of American science and technology and of their effect on the growth of America's culture. Americans have developed many tools and techniques, inventions, and devices to provide themselves with food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and communication in abundance never before seen on the earth. With these applications of technology, Americans have conquered a continent and have made great strides toward harnessing the forces of nature and putting them to man's use.

History is commonly thought of as a record of struggles for power between dynasties, nations, or economic groups. The United States has had its share of such struggles but it has something besides that has made its history unique as it has made America's culture and its place in world affairs unique. This something is what is frequently called American know-how, inventiveness, or Yankee ingenuity, all of which are terms that refer to the characteristic development of science and technology that has taken place in our country since its beginning and has given us today a standard of living unequalled in the world--plus a position of world leadership and responsibility.

The names of such men as Franklin, Evans, Morse, Whitney, Edison and a host of others loom larger in the pages of American history than do their counterparts in the history of other nations. These men, who worked not for personal power but for the common welfare of mankind, made contributions that exemplify the American belief in the value of technology. This belief so characterizes our culture that no history of our country is complete without a review of American scientific and technological achievements.

American technology had its beginnings in the efforts of the first settlers to carve homes and farms from the wilderness and to provide the necessities of life for themselves and their families. The landmarks of our history since that time have been the men and the inventions that have made it possible for us today to enjoy the benefits of labor-saving machinery, mass production, and automatic manufacturing.

One point to be borne in mind throughout this survey of American technology is that we have not yet reached our highest development nor have we exhausted all the possibilities of science. In spite of its long history, our technology is still, in a sense, in its infancy . . .

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