Meetings Secretary: Professor David Perret
The Presidential Address by Michael Grace.
“Stuffed in attic trunks and the minds of aging scientists”? Reflections on Technical History and the History of Technology
It is widely accepted that the world as we know it today can only be understood by reference to technology and its history. However, it is the impacts and consequences of technologies, rather than their inherent technical development, that provides that understanding.
As technologies have become more science-based and complex, it is increasingly difficult for those without specialist knowledge to fully understand and appreciate how these technologies work, how they arose and how they were developed.
Whilst the benefits of studying the history of technology as a factor in understanding social, economic and political history is more or less self-evident, the benefits of studying the fundamental underlying technical history is less so. For example, to what extent do historians need to understand the technical development of aviation in order to understand and appreciate the social impacts of air travel in the second half of the twentieth century?
The lecture will consider the value of studying detailed technical history and the ‘amateur and recreational’ status sometimes accorded to such study, together with other related topics, in the context of the Newcomen Society.
A lecture by Deborah Jaffé. The entrepreneurial Frank Hornby was the inventor of Meccano, The Hornby Railway and Dinky Cars. This lecture looks at the origins of his designs, the manufacturing processes involved, the images of modernity within the toys and how Hornby achieved his aims to enable children to learn mechanic; all within the context of the toy industries in Germany, Britain and the USA. Deborah is a cultural historian, the editor of Newcomen Links and author of The History of Toys (Sutton 2006).
Dr John Glithero is leading a visit to the archaeological dig site of Samuel Oldknow’s cotton mill at Mellor Mill, Marple. We will gather for lunch at the Roman Lakes Tea Rooms and visit the site in the afternoon. There will also be an opportunity to see other features nearby, including the Marple aqueduct on the Peak Forest Canal. The site can be reached by train or car. Further details and travel directions contact email@example.com
A lecture by Dr Ralph Harrington, School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies, University of Leeds.
The mechanized transformation of the environment has been one of the key defining themes of modernity. The bulldozer powerfully symbolises that theme. Appropriately, the bulldozer came into British landscapes as an instrument of war, brought by the American armed forces to construct airfields, roads and harbours and reshape the landscape for military purposes. Once peace came the bulldozers remained, driving the reconstruction of post-war Britain with the same ruthless power that had characterized their military role.
Huge, powerful and sometimes monstrous, the bulldozer has become both a symbol of technological progress and an archetypal image of environmental destruction. Protest movements and countercultures quickly and enduringly adopted the bulldozer in words and images as the symbol of all that they feared and opposed. The environmental destruction associated with the advance of modernity affected both urban and non-urban landscapes, and the bulldozer – inhabiting both realms, and haunting the debatable borderland that lay between – was the technology most publicly associated with that process.
This paper uses a range of source material and perspectives to trace the multifaceted and contested significance of the bulldozer as an agent of environmental transformation and an engine of technological modernity in modern Britain.
The purpose of the conference is to provide a forum for presentation and discussion of new research into heat engines prior to 1812. A wide range of new field and desk research into early engines lacks an obvious outlet, forum or focus and this is the underpinning rationale for IEEC. The event design is based on the International Early Railways Conference (IERC). Repeat conferences are anticipated every 4-5 years. The conference will open at 12.00 on Thursday May 11, 2017 and close at 16.00 on Saturday May 13.
Synopses for 20 papers of considerable interest and variety have been accepted and can be seen on our website (www.earlyengines.org)
Catering will be provided and relevant publications will be on sale by the sponsoring organisations.
Delegate costs and are likely to be around £100/person and we will offer options for partners and day tickets.
A bound compendium of previously published articles relating to Early Engines will be provided for all attendees and the conference transactions will be published as a themed edition of the International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology.
Hotel and accommodation arrangements will not be handled by the conference. Sponsorship – IEEC e facilities and support will be provided by Barnsley MBC. The Newcomen Society will be lead sponsor and the Historical Metallurgy Society (HMS), the Northern Mines Research Society (NMRS) and the South Gloucestershire Mine Research Group (SGMRG) are also providing sponsorship.