By Abbott Payson Usher
"The ebook is with no peer in its field." — American Scientist
In this thoroughly revised and enlarged variation of a vintage paintings within the background of expertise, a famous student explores the significance of technological innovation within the cultural and fiscal heritage of the West.
Following an introductory dialogue of where of expertise in financial historical past, the writer deals a penetrating historic research of social switch. inside this context he develops a conception of invention according to 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 ideas additionally enjoying a big function in bringing approximately change.
The latter a part of the booklet makes a speciality of the construction and regulate of energy mostly, and particularly on a few vital operative mechanisms. hence we learn thought-provoking debts of the know-how of fabric manufacture from primitive occasions, of water wheels and windmills, water clocks, and mechanical clocks, and the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. the improvement of printing is thoroughly studied, not just for its intrinsic curiosity, yet due to its value for the heritage of technological know-how. different themes contain the construction and alertness of strength (1500–1830), computer instruments and volume creation, the creation and distribution of energy for the reason that 1832, and the position of Asia Minor as a resource of concepts which ruled the center a while and the fashionable interval as well.
Thoroughly researched and cogently reasoned, A historical past of Mechanical Inventions belongs within the library of someone attracted to the historical past of technological know-how and invention, in addition to the connection of expertise to financial and social history.
"Throughout the publication there's consistent evidence of the author's broad studying and sundry highbrow interests." — The manhattan Times
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Extra resources for A History of Mechanical Inventions
The processes by which “man makes himself” include those procedures by which men transform their environment. Human evolution is doubly dynamic; man and the geographic environment react upon each other, and both terms are transformed. Broadly conceived, technology is an important part of the central core in the evolutionary process. It is an essential aspect of the accumulation of knowledge and the development of skills. It does not exhaust the field of the development of the mind, but it is a characteristic segment of the whole.
Transcendentalism is not wholly consistent with such an approach to historical process, because the implications of substantial analysis suggest a more pervasive process of change than is provided by the great-man theory of history. More variable factors call for attention than are recognized by the highly idealistic types of interpretation characteristic of the transcendentalists. The analytic procedures that have developed in many systems of sociology and anthropology are so completely pervaded by concepts of mechanism and determinism that they cannot be used for explicit historical analysis without some modification.
The limiting volume of resources is always present in the two categories of immediate and ultimate resources, or, in the usual terms, as actual and potential resources. But these limits are not absolutes, as is presumed by the geographic determinists. The limitations of resources are relative to the position of our knowledge and of our technique. The limits of both actual resources and potential resources recede as we advance, at rates that are proportionate to the advance in our knowledge. These concepts are so commonplace and so persistently recognized in economic literature that it is not easy to understand why it has been so difficult to escape from static and deterministic concepts.
A History of Mechanical Inventions by Abbott Payson Usher