Technical standards have received increasing attention in recent years from historians of science and technology, management theorists and economists. Often, inquiry focuses on the emergence of stability, technical closure and culturally uniform modernity. Yet current literature also emphasizes the durability of localism, heterogeneity and user choice. This collection investigates the apparent tension between these trends using case studies from across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The History of Technology addresses tensions between material standards and process standards, explores the distinction between specifying standards and achieving convergence towards them, andexamines some of the discontents generated by the reach of standards into 'everyday life'.
Includes theSpecial Issue "By whose standards? Standardization, stability and uniformity in the history of information and electrical technologies"
About the Author
Ian Inkster is Research Professor of International History at Nottingham Trent University, UK.
Graeme Gooday is Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the University of Leeds. He had broad interests in the history and historiography of technology, especially in late 19th century electrical engineering. Following his thesis work on the advent of precision measurement techniques for laboratories, his first monograph The Morals of Measurement (Cambridge, 2004) critiqued the use of metrological determinism in measurement history.
Dr James Sumner is Lecturer in History of Technology and Associate Director of the UK National Archive for the History of Computing, University of Manchester. He holds a PhD on quantification and measurement in the British brewing industry around 1800, and has broad interests in the role of standards, uniformity and technical communication in modern history.
Table of Contents
Introduction: does standardization make things standard? James Sumner and Graeme GoodayMorality, locality and 'standardization' in the work of British consulting electrical engineers, 1880-1914Efstathios ArapostathisTechnology, vision and practice: rethinking closure in the history of artificial illuminationChris OtterStandardization across the boundaries of the Bell System, 1920-1938Andrew L. Russell
Battery birds, 'stimulighting' and 'twilighting': the ecology of standardized poultry technologyKaren Sayer
Basicode: co-producing a microcomputer EsperantoFrank Veraart
Standards and compatibility: the rise of the PC platformJames Sumner
IPv6: a history of the next-generation InternetLaura DeNardis