Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930

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JHU Press, 1993 - Science - 474 pages

A unique comparative history of the evolution of modern electric power systems, Networks of Power not only provides an accurate representation of large-scale technological change but also demonstrates that technology itself cannot be understood or directed unless placed in a cultural context. For Thomas Highes, both the invention of the simplest devices (like the lightbuld itself) and the execution of the grandest schemes (such as harnessing the water power of the Bavarian Alps) fit into an overaching model of technological devleopment. His narrative is an absorbing account of the creative genius, scientific achievements, engineering capabilities, managerial skills, and entrepreneurial risks behind one of the most commonplace amenities of the modern age.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Invention and Development
18
Technology Transfer
47
Reverse Salients and Critical Problems
79
Technological Momentum
140
The Coordination of Technology and Politics
175
The Dominance of Technology
201
War and Acquired Characteristics
285
Planned Systems
324
The Culture of Regional Systems
363
The Style of Evolving Systems
404
Index
467
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About the author (1993)

Thomas P. Hughes is professor of the history of modern science and technology at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His books include Changing Attitudes toward American Technology and Elmer Sperry, Inventor and Engineer.

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