Early Iron Making in America

“Early Iron Making in America” by Lewis discusses the reason iron making began in colonial America and how colonial Americans made iron. In the early colonial days, almost all tools were mad of wood except for parts that needed to be used for cutting or striking. Machines like water wheels, gears, and spinning wheels were also made from wood. However, wood was not the optimal material for these jobs, mainly because wood would easily wear down over time due to friction. Iron could be made in small quantities by the colonists and they used it in cutting tools, kitchen equipment, and weapons. Because they had some experience with iron, the colonists knew it was more durable than wood.

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German Mining and Metallurgy in the Middle Ages

     Summary of  “Social ideals in technical change: German miners and English Puritans, 1450-1650” by Arnold Pacey
      This article examines the aspects of German mining through the 15th to 17th centuries and the social effects mining on German speaking countries. German advances in mining and metallurgy during this period are not often viewed as scientific because they viewed these fields as having some mystical connection. Despite their mystical view, these German speaking countries would become well known for their work in mining and metallurgy.

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Father of Fortress – Falkner

“Father of Fortress” by Falkner looks at Sébastien Le Prestre (commonly known as Vauban), his contribution to fortress technology, and the impact of the fortresses on France. The article takes a mostly internalist approach to history of technology by focusing mostly on the inventor and his technology. When Vauban began his career as a designer of fortresses in the late 17th century, fort design was based on a star-shaped design called trace italienne. The geometric design and sloping walls of these forts was meant to resist the effects of gunpowder artillery and attempts to mine through the walls. Vauban’s first job of designing a fort began when king Louis XIV’s chief engineer fell ill so the king commissioned Vauban to do the job of redesigning and strengthening the Citadelle de Lille instead. Continue reading “Father of Fortress – Falkner”