(American Heritage of Invention and Technology, winter 1989)
By Robert C. Post
When the history of technology donned academic cloaks in the United States, some three decades ago, the man most directly responsible was a professor at the Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland. His name was Melvin Kranzberg. For quite a while afterward Mel (almost everyone calls him Mel) remained directly responsible for sustaining the new field’s two key institutions, the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) and the society’s quarterly journal, Technology and Culture (T&C). He served as the society’s secretary for fifteen years and edited eighty-eight issues of T&C between 1959 and 1981. Along the way he received SHOT’s highest award, the Leonardo da Vinci Medal.
As part of SHOT’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, the society will sponsor a series of interviews with some of the scholars whose work has helped most to advance the field of the history of technology over the past half century. Those interviews will be available via the web beginning some time in the fall.
In the meantime, and in keeping with the retrospective mood of the October meeting’s theme of “looking back,” we call your attention to another series of interviews with eminent historians of technology, which appeared in the pages of American Heritage of Invention and Technology.
“Technology and the Human Dimension.” Elting Morison (interview by Hal Bowser), summer 1985.
“Made in America.” John Kouwenhoven (interview by Richard Conniff), summer 1986.
“How the Space Race Changed America.” Walter A. McDougall (interview by Hal Bowser), fall 1987.
“America’s Golden Age.” Thomas P. Hughes (interview by Arthur P. Molella), spring/summer 1989.
“A Life with Trains.” John H. White Jr. (interview by Robert C. Post), fall 1990.
“The Frailties and Beauties of Technological Creativity.” John Staudenmaier (interview by Robert C. Post), spring 1993.
“Why Things Bite Back.” Edward Tenner (interview by Jackson Lears), spring 1997.
“What Engineers Know.” Walter Vincenti (interview by Robert C. Post), winter 1997.
“The Secret Triumph of American Engineering.” Thomas P. Hughes (interview by Fredric Smoler), winter 1999.
Ruth Schwartz Cowan
“This Is the History People Often Care About Most.” Ruth Schwartz Cowan (interview by Robert C. Post), summer 2003.
“Inventing America.” Pauline Maier and Merritt Roe Smith (interview by Arthur P. Molella), winter 2004.