By Abbott Payson Usher
"The ebook is with no peer in its field." — American Scientist
In this thoroughly revised and enlarged version of a vintage paintings within the heritage of expertise, a famous student explores the significance of technological innovation within the cultural and monetary heritage of the West.
Following an introductory dialogue of where of expertise in monetary historical past, the writer bargains a penetrating historic research of social switch. inside of this context he develops a thought of invention in accordance with Gestalt psychology and an idea of social evolution as non-stop improvement from antiquity to the current. Emphasis is put on the function of financial forces within the improvement of know-how, with clinical recommendations additionally enjoying a big function in bringing approximately change.
The latter a part of the e-book specializes in the construction and regulate of energy normally, and particularly on a couple of vital operative mechanisms. hence we learn thought-provoking debts of the expertise of cloth manufacture from primitive occasions, of water wheels and windmills, water clocks, and mechanical clocks, and the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. the advance of printing is punctiliously studied, not just for its intrinsic curiosity, yet as a result of its value for the background of technology. different issues contain the creation and alertness of energy (1500–1830), computer instruments and volume creation, the creation and distribution of energy due to the fact that 1832, and the position of Asia Minor as a resource of innovations which ruled the center a long time and the fashionable interval as well.
Thoroughly researched and cogently reasoned, A heritage of Mechanical Inventions belongs within the library of a person drawn to the historical past of technology and invention, in addition to the connection of expertise to fiscal and social history.
"Throughout the publication there's consistent evidence of the author's large studying and sundry highbrow interests." — The long island Times
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Extra resources for A History of Mechanical Inventions
The analysis of the processes of social evolution in their entirety requires study of processes of invention and processes of diffusion by imitation. The analysis of cultural diffusion is no less part of the historical problem than the analysis of change. The present purpose is to analyze the processes of change with explicit reference to the place of individual effort in the general social process; but before we undertake a systematic study of invention, there are a number of general features of the historical process that should be considered.
It is not to be expected that the changes of q itself should be symmetrical in time, for all the changes observed in the latter half of the period of change refer to values of q larger—possibly many times larger—than in the earlier half. “9 Such a curve represents a process of change at rates that increase progressively up to the point of inflection and decrease progressively after the point of inflection is passed. It is, therefore, a description of growth taking place under the combined influence of factors that produce acceleration and of limiting factors that prevent any continuous or constant acceleration.
The rapid development of the empirical method during the last thirty years makes it possible to develop techniques of historical analysis that are no longer distorted by the metaphysical and semantic problems created by the great idealistic philosophies. But it is important for the historian to limit his efforts to the modest task of developing sound operational procedures without attempting primary philosophical analysis of the underlying postulates. The general chapters in the text are designed to afford a direct statement of the operational procedures that can be based on the empirical point of view, without critical defense of the positions taken, or critical consideration of the alternative positions possible.