Draw the Lightning Down: Benjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment

By Michael Brian Schiffer; Kacy L. Hollenback et al. | Go to book overview

Notes

1.
THE FRANKLIN PHENOMENON
1
A specific technology may be a unique artifact, such as the Hubble telescope; an artifact type, such as all telescopes; or even diverse artifact aggregates, such as all astronomical instruments, all consumer products, or all electrical devices. On different ways to designate “aggregate” technologies, see Schiffer (2001a). Although many scholars define technology to include social and cultural factors, for present purposes I employ the hardware definition, which enables me to bring in relevant external factors without blurring boundaries between artifacts, behavior, and knowledge (see chapter 12).
2
The view that technologies take part in all human activities has been most thoroughly developed by behavioral archaeologists (see, for example, LaMotta and Schiffer 2001; Rathje and Murphy 1992; Rathje and Schiffer 1982; Schiffer 1992; Schiffer and Miller 1999; Walker et al. 1995). For recent studies in the anthropology of technology, see Schiffer (2001b).
3
A community (or “technocommunity”), as employed here, is a kind of “community of practice” defined on the basis of activities and artifacts (on practice theory, see, e.g., Lave and Wenger 1991; Suchman 1987). In a quite different project, Golinski (1992, 10) also situates scientific activities and technologies within a “community of practitioners. ” Kuhn (1970, 177) in a discussion of scientific communities mentions that “major subgroups” can be isolated on the basis of “similar techniques. ” In chapter 12 I elaborate my concept of community.
4
In defense of this practice, which enables the solution of research problems and contributes to the construction of a reader-friendly narrative, I merely quote Jardine (2000, 265): “Use of categories alien to the agents studied is often perfectly legitimate. ”
5
“Electrophysicist, ” a term used by Higgins (1961), designates only those physicists who used electrical technology to carry out research.
6
A “performance characteristic” is a behavioral capability that comes into play in a specific activity or activities. Performance characteristics enable

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Draw the Lightning Down: Benjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - The Franklin Phenomenon 1
  • 2 - In the Beginning 12
  • 3 - A Coming of Age 33
  • 4 - Going Public 67
  • 5 - Power to the People 91
  • 6 - Life and Death 107
  • 7 - First, Do No Harm 133
  • 8 - An Electrical World 161
  • 9 - Property Protectors 184
  • 10 - A New Alchemy 206
  • 11 - Visionary Inventors 226
  • 12 - Technology Transfer: a Behavioral Framework 257
  • Notes 271
  • References Cited 333
  • Index 365
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