Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Expertise: The Problem of Change

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Specializing in the day-to-day operations of the U.S. armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, from 1798 to 1861, this e book exhibits what the “new know-how” of mechanized manufacturing meant when it comes to group, administration, and employee morale. A neighborhood research of way more than native significance, it highlights the key issues of technical innovation and social adaptation in antebellum America. Merritt Roe Smith describes how positions of authority on the armory have been tied to a bigger community of political and financial affect locally; how these relationships, in flip, affected managerial habits; and the way native social circumstances strengthened the reactions of determination makers. He additionally demonstrates how craft traditions and variant attitudes towards work vis-à-vis New England created an environment during which the machine was held suspect and ingenious exercise was hampered.Of central significance is the writer’s evaluation of the drastic variations between Harpers Ferry and its counterpart, the nationwide armory at Springfield, Massachusetts, which performed a pivotal function within the emergence of the brand new know-how. The movement of technical info between the 2 armories, he exhibits, moved in a single path solely― north to south. “Ultimately,” Smith concludes, “the stamina of native tradition is paramount in explaining why the Harpers Ferry armory by no means actually flourished as a middle of technological innovation.”Pointing up the complexities of business change, this account of the Harpers Ferry expertise challenges the generally held view that People have all the time been eagerly receptive to new technological advances.

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