Cover image for America transformed : engineering and technology in the nineteenth century
America transformed : engineering and technology in the nineteenth century
Herrin, Dean A., 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Reston, VA : American Society of Civil Engineers, 2002.
Physical Description:
viii, 194 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm
General Note:
"Selections from the Historic American Engineering Record, National Park service."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TA23 .H47 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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From a fledgling agrarian nation clinging to the Atlantic seaboard in 1800, the United States by the 1900s was the world's leading industrial nation, manufacturing a third of the world's industrial output. Through nearly 200 photographs and drawings, America Transformed: Engineering and Technology in the Nineteenth Century highlights not only the obvious icons of achievement, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Erie Canal, but also the development of the nation's industrial, manufacturing, and transportation infrastructure. Development and innovation in mining; textile, iron and steel mills; water treatment, power and irrigation systems; canals; railroads; and bridges all served to transform American life.

In 1969, the National Park Service, the Library of Congress, and the American Society of Civil Engineers formed the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) program to document nationally and regionally significant engineering and industrial sites. HAER documentation--in the forms of measured and interpretive drawings, large-format photographs, and written histories--record for posterity the enormous historic engineering and industrial legacy of the United States. Using these resources, Dean Herrin has created a visual sampler of America's nineteenth-century engineering and technology that illuminates the scope and variety of America's industrial transformation.

About the Author
Dean Herrin is National Park Service Coordinator for the Catoctin Center for Regional Studies at Frederick Community College in Maryland. He served as staff historian for HAER for 10 years.

Author Notes

Dean Herrin is currently National Park Service Coordinator for the Catoctin Center for Regional Studies at Frederick Community College in Maryland.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Most of the technological artifacts used to transform the US from the agrarian nation of small self-reliant communities of 1800 into the integrated industrial society dependent on centralized networks of resources in 1900 are either already in ruins or seriously threatened. Since 1969, the American Society of Civil Engineers has teamed with the federal government and others to document, preserve, and restore outstanding examples of what remains. Herrin (Frederick Community College, MD) offers a visual sampler of the resulting Historic American Engineering Record, a comprehensive collection currently totaling more than 70,000 photographs, 3,600 drawings, and 62,000 pages of text. The book differs from many references in its emphasis on use over invention. Sections include mines and energy sources, manufacturing, transportation, and especially eloquently, industrial structures and examples of innovative construction techniques. Because of the close association with civil engineering, most of the photos are of buildings and large-scale equipment, but there are also contemporary photos of workers and workshops. The book breaks no new historical ground but provides a quick summary of trends in the development of 19th-century American technologies. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through professionals. G. E. Herrick Maine Maritime Academy

Table of Contents

Forewordp. v
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introduction: The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the HAERp. 1
Prologue: Discovering the New Technological Worldp. 9
Chapter 1 A Wealth of Resourcesp. 18
Harvesting the Land: Forest and Fieldp. 21
A Closer Look: Long Island Windmillsp. 34
Drawing from Beneath: Mining and Oilp. 37
Urban Necessities: Water and Gasp. 46
Chapter 2 Making Thingsp. 56
Cotton, Cards, and Clothes: Textilesp. 59
Hell with the Lid Off: Iron and Steelp. 67
With Heat and Hammer: From Charcoal to Carriagesp. 76
A Closer Look: By the Sweat of Their Brow: Workersp. 86
How Things Work: Powerp. 91
Chapter 3 Structures and Materialsp. 102
The Structure of Structures: Materials and Connectionsp. 104
A Different Path: Vernacular Technologyp. 119
A Closer Look: Engineering Embellished: Design & Ornamentationp. 125
Chapter 4 Going Placesp. 130
By Water: Canals and Maritimep. 133
The Iron Horse: Railroadsp. 141
A Closer Look: East Broad Top Railroadp. 151
Spanning the Century: Bridgesp. 154
Epilogue: Ruins and Remembrancep. 166
Bibliographyp. 179
Image Creditsp. 185
Indexp. 191