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Today In History

Born on July 30, 1863, Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. Although Ford did not invent the automobile or the assembly line, he developed and manufactured the models of automobiles that converted its use from an expensive curiosity into a practical transport that middle class Americans could afford. His global vision resulted in many technical and business innovations which greatly impacted the context of the twentieth century.

 

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

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Berghahn is happy to present some relevant titles in the area of transportation and industrial development:

 

forthcoming!

ATLANTIC AUTOMOBILISM
The Emergence and Persistence of the Car, 1895-1940
Gijs Mom

Volume 1, Explorations in Mobility Series

Our continued use of the combustion engine car in the 21st century, despite many rational arguments against it, makes it more and more difficult to imagine that transport has a sustainable future. Offering a sweeping transatlantic perspective, this book explains the current obsession with automobiles by delving deep into the motives of early car users. It provides a synthesis of our knowledge about the emergence and persistence of the car, using a broad range of material including novels, poems, films, and songs to unearth the desires that shaped our present “car society.” Combining social, psychological, and structural explanations, the author concludes that the ability of cars to convey transcendental experience, especially for men, explains our attachment to the vehicle.

 

 

VEHICLES
Cars, Canoes and other Metaphors of Moral Imagination
Edited by David Lipset and Richard Handler

 

Metaphor, as an act of human fancy, combines ideas in improbable ways to sharpen meanings of life and experience. Theoretically, this arises from an association between a sign—for example, a cattle car—and its referent, the Holocaust. These “sign-vehicles” serve as modes of semiotic transportation through conceptual space. Likewise, on-the-ground vehicles can be rich metaphors for the moral imagination. Following on this insight, Vehicles presents a collection of ethnographic essays on the metaphoric significance of vehicles in different cultures. Analyses include canoes in Papua New Guinea, pedestrians and airplanes in North America, lowriders among Mexican-Americans, and cars in contemporary China, Japan, and Eastern Europe, as well as among African-Americans in the South. Vehicles not only “carry people around,” but also “carry” how they are understood in relation to the dynamics of culture, politics and history.

 

 

CARS
Analysis, History, Cases
Karel Williams, Colin Haslam, Sukhdev Johal and John Williams

 

Through developing an original analytical framework that, for the first time, systematically relates productive, market and financial variables, the authors are able to rewrite the history of the car business since Henry Ford.

Car manufacturing involves the movement of large numbers of heavy, awkward objects incorporating some 20,000 parts, through a large number of short cycles. As to be expected the constant flow of the processes involved is disrupted by both the inherent complexities of production and those of market restrictions. This study, a unique blend of analysis, history and case studies, not only characterizes the essence of car manufacturing but also explains the links between production, market conditions and financial results and constraints.

 

 

DYNAMICS OF INNOVATION
The Expansion of Technology in Modern Times
François Caron
Translated from the French by Allan Mitchell

 

Best known as the leading historian of French Railways, François Caron has also conducted significant research on other aspects of economic development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as electricity, water and steam power, the theory of innovation, and the structure of enterprise. In this volume, he brings together different facets of his expertise to present a broad panorama of modern technological history. Caron shows how artisanal know-how was adapted, expanded, and formalized during the three industrial revolutions that swept over Great Britain, France, Germany, and the United States, resulting in a comprehensive analysis of this long, complex, and continuous historical process, leading up to the twenty-first century. He thereby illustrates the increasingly fruitful interaction between technological and scientific knowledge in modern times.

 

 

THE GREAT TRAIN RACE
Railways and the Franco-German Rivalry, 1815-1914
Allan Mitchell

 

From their origins, railways produced an intense competition between the two major continental systems in France and Germany. Fitting a new technology into existing political institutions and social habits, these two nations became inexorably involved in industrial and commercial rivalry that eventually escalated into the armed conflict of 1914. Based on many years of research in French and German archives, this study examines the adaptation of railroads and steam engines from Britain to the continent of Europe after the Napoleonic age. A fascinating example of how the same technology, borrowed at the same time from the same source, was assimilated differently by the two continental powers, this book offers a groundbreaking analysis of the crossroads of technology and politics during the first Industrial Revolution.

 

 

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From Berghahn Journals

 

Transfers
Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies

 

It is a new peer-reviewed journal publishing cutting-edge research on the processes, structures and consequences of the movement of people, resources, and commodities. Intellectually rigorous, broadly ranging, and conceptually innovative, the journal combines the empiricism of traditional mobility history with more recent methodological approaches from the social sciences and the humanities.

The journal’s scholarly essays, book and exhibit reviews, artwork and photography, as well as special features provide a rich variety of perspectives that include: analyses of the past and present experiences of vehicle drivers, passengers, pedestrians, migrants, and refugees; accounts of the arrival and transformation of mobility in different nations and locales; and investigations of the kinetic processes of global capital, technology, chemical and biological substances, images, narratives, sounds, and ideas.