Until the publication of this book, historians had largely neglected the effects of technology on the course of human history. Political, economic, and social factors had long been taken into account, but technological advances were not studied in the context of the history of the ages in which they occurred. It remained for the authors of this readable, profusely illustrated survey to relate technological developments to the history of each epoch.
Chronologically, the text is divided into two parts, the first telling the story up to ca. A.D. 1750 — the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Britain — and the second continuing it up to 1900. The book begins with a general historical survey of ancient civilizations, then goes on to consider such topics as food production, metalworking, building construction, early sources of power, and the beginning of the chemical industry. The second and lengthier portion of the text focuses on the development of the steam engine, machine tools, modern transport, mining coal and metals, the rise of the modern chemical industry, textiles, the internal combustion engine, electricity, and more.
To help relate the technology to the age, each section is preceded by a historical introduction and the book concludes with a series of tables designed to show the interrelation of events names in the text. Profusely illustrated and brimming with factual data, A Short History of Technology will appeal equally to students, scholars, historians of technology, and general readers.
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Table of Contents
PART I FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO A.D. 1750
I. GENERAL HISTORICAL SURVEY
Man before civilization
Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations
The rise of Greece and Rome
The Roman Empire
The earlier Middle Ages
The later Middle Ages
The emergence of the modern world
2. THE PRODUCTION OF FOOD
Domestication of animals
Origins of agriculture
Growth of tillage in Europe
Preparation of food and drink
Effects of the geographical discoveries
"Progress of agriculture, c. A.D. I500-I750"
3. PRODUCTION FOR DOMESTIC NEEDS
"Ivory, wood, leather, glass"
The contribution of the Greek and Roman world
The Middle Ages
Medieval textiles and leather-work
Textiles and glass
4. THE EXTRACTION AND WORKING OF METALS
The earliest use of metals: the Bronze Age
The early Iron Age of Greece and Rome
Metal-working in the Middle Ages
Extension of the use of metals
Further developments of the iron industry
5. BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
The early empires
Greek and Roman building
The Middle Ages
Building from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century
Beginnings: the wheel and the horse
The Graeco-Roman period
Transport in the Middle Ages
The period of the great geographical discoveries
Development from I600 to I750
7. COMMUNICATION AND RECORD
Speech and record
Origins of printing
8. EARLY SOURCES OF POWER
Man and animal power
9. THE BEGINNINGS OF THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
The chemical industry in ancient times
Chemistry and the textile industry
The manufacture of gunpowder
The alchemists and the iatrochemists
The beginning of modern chemistry
PART II THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION TO A.D. 1900
10. HISTORICAL SURVEY (I750-I900)
"The quickening tempo of industry, I750-92"
"The period of the great French wars, I792-I8I5"
"From Waterloo to the Great Exhibition, I815-5I"
"The period of nationalist wars, I85I-7I"
"The age of materialism, I87I-I900"
II. THE STEAM-ENGINE
Pioneers of the steam-engine
Watt and Trevithick
The steam-engine applied to transport
Locomotives and stationary steam-engines
Later development of the steam-engine
The theoretical background
I2. MACHINE-TOOLS AND THEIR PRODUCTS
Growth of precision work
The succession of pioneers
The 'American System'
"Further developments, I850-I900"
I3. MODERN TRANSPORT
The last era of sail
The era of iron and steel steamships
The growth of railways
The road-steamer and the bicycle
The early motor-car
Initiation of the conquest of the air
I4. BUILDING CONSTRUCTION: REQUIREMENTS OF URBAN COMMUNITIES
The civil engineer
"Building materials, I750-I850"
"New uses of wrought iron, steel, and concrete"
Improvement of water-supply
Drainage and sanitation
I5. BUILDING CONSTRUCTION: REQUIREMENTS FOR TRANSPORT
Canals and river-improvements
Railways: the permanent way
Land works facilitating sea traffic
I6. COAL AND THE METALS
Cast and wrought iron
The coming of cheap steel
"Exploitation of non-ferrous metals, I750-I900"
New metal products
I7. "NEW MATERIALS: COAL-GAS, PETROLEUM, AND RUBBER"
Origins of gas-lighting
The gas age
Early exploitation of bituminous deposits
The oil-well industry
Early rubber manufacture
Vulcanization and wider uses of rubber
I8. THE RISE OF THE MODERN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
The chemical industry and the industrial revolution
"Later developments in the manufacture of soda and sulphuric acid, I830-I900"
Some electrochemical processes
"Other developments, I830-I900"
Some chemical contributions to medicine
Improvements in weaving
"Spread of textile machinery, to I850"
Hoisery and lace-making
The sewing machine
"The textile industries, I850-I900"
20. POTTERY AND GLASS
The pottery industry in the eighteenth century
Progress of glass-making
2I. THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE
22. THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY
The generation of electricity
Telegraphy and telephony
23. "PRINTING, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND THE CINEMA"
The casting and setting of type
The modern printing-press
"Paper-making, binding, and illustrating"
Early history of photography
Photography for the amateur and the illustrator
Development of cinematography
24. AGRICULTURE AND FOOD
Agriculture: the implements
Agriculture: the products
"Agriculture: world changes, I850-I900"
Food management: fish supplies and whaling
Processing and preservation of food
Canning and refrigeration
25. EPILOGUE: TECHNOLOGICAL AND GENERAL HISTORY
INDEX OF SUBJECTS
INDEX OF PERSONS AND PLACE-NAMES
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