Pacey, Technology in World Civilization; pp. 108-130.  pp. 92-130.

It’s not the tool, it’s the context!

Concepts in Technology, 1550-1750:

Three Industrial Movements, 1700-1815:

The device: Michelangelo's God the Father casting the dice of creative chance.


Concepts in Technology, 1550-1750:

1.   Developments in printing (movable type)

2.           Blocked technical systems?

3.           Concepts of Organization

4.             Factories and Plantations

5.             Factory Machines

Chinese labor

Derby silk mill, 1702.

“As with most transfers of technology, the transfer of Italian silk machines to England stimulated local innovations, so once again we find that the ingenuity expressed in machines from one culture evoked a response elsewhere, as in a dialogue.”

p. 106.

“problems with work discipline and organization.”

p. 107.


The virtually automated spinning machinery in Lowell, Mass.,1800s.

“Much has been made of the impact of textile machinery inventions in the eighteenth century, but it will be apparent that up to the 1760s the machines actually used in the textile industry – like cane crushing mills mentioned earlier on Caribbean sugar plantations – were of a very traditional kind with centuries of history behind them. What was really new was the approach to work discipline and organization, which had parallels on plantations also, and in contemporary armies.”

p. 107.

Three Industrial Movements: 1700-1815:

1          Coal, iron ore & the steam engine: Newcomen’s engine & mine drainage

2          Asian competitive stimulus in textiles: water driven looms: spin & weave

3          Trade and East Indian shipbuilding


Progress or dominion?

deindustrialization (to thwart or stop the industrial process)

            India’s muslin & calicoe fabrics and ship construction were superior in quality and durability to England’s products in the 1700s, But by the 1800s Britain had regulated itself a competitive advantage by banning imports from India to favor domestic textiles and limited East Indian ships in British ports. The consequence was to stifle manufacturing and capital accumulation in India.

Pacey on Meaning | Pursell | Technology defined | Dimensions of Technology