An Encyclopedia of the History of Technology (Routledge by Ian McNeil

By Ian McNeil

On hand for the 1st time in paperback, this quantity comprises twenty-two chapters via overseas specialists masking the whole historical past of expertise from humankind's earliest use of stone instruments to the exploration of house. Written truly and with no pointless jargon, every one bankruptcy strains the advance of its topic from earliest occasions to the current day, stressing the social context and its position in medical thought.
* Usefully drawn with over one hundred fifty tables, drawings and photographs
* entire indexes of names and subjects
* crucial examining for academics and scholars within the background and Philosophy of technology and expertise, commercial historical past and Archaeology.

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Extra resources for An Encyclopedia of the History of Technology (Routledge Companion Encyclopedias)

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The shaduf for irrigation and the balance beam for weighing were applications of the lever. It was, as we have already said, at about this time that written records started with the Sumerian invention of cuneiform script usually inscribed on clay tablets. The same period saw the first attempts at standardization of weights and of linear measures, the span, the palm, the pace, the inch and the cubit all being based on parts of the human body by the Egyptians. The Egyptians were also the first large-scale builders, largely using huge quantities of slave labour rather than mechanization, or craftsmen working off their tax dues or debts.

In all these cases the mechanism was hand-operated. The first known use of the crank and connecting rod is found about 1430 when it was used in the drive of a flour mill. A useful drive mechanism was the treadle, used first for looms and, by about 1250, to drive a lathe, a cord attached to a treadle having a connection to a flexible pole above the lathe for the return stroke. Some two hundred years later, a treadle with a crank and connecting rod was used for flour milling. 26 BASIC TOOLS, DEVICES AN D MECHANIS MS Print One of the greatest inventions of the Middle Ages, undoubtedly one that had the most widespread and long-lasting effect on the lives of every man and woman who lived after it, was the printing process devised by Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith of Mainz in Germany, about 1440 (see also Chapter 14).

Iron has rightly been called the democratic metal, the metal of the people, for so it was in comparison with its predecessor. The common ground On the other hand, the introduction of metallurgy, whether of bronze or iron, and its processes did become the start of a new way of living in which 12 BASIC TOOLS, DEVICES AN D MECHANIS MS specialization and the division of labour were important factors. Metal workers were a class of specialists who needed specialist equipment and who depended for their sustenance on the labours of their fellow men, the farming community for whom they provided the tools.

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