Monday and Wednesday 3:10 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Lagomarcino E164


Thursday 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. — Gilman 1312

Thursday 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m. — MacKay 116

Friday 8 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. — Curtiss 208

Friday 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m. — Heady 274

Amy Bix

Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 9-11 a.m.; plus other

times by appointment;

Office: 633 Ross Hall, 294-0122

E-mail: abix@iastate.edu

T.A. Paul Nienkamp


This course is an introduction to the history of technology and engineering covering the period from the early Industrial Revolution up to the present day. It is part of a sequence with History/ME 284, which covers the history of technology and engineering from ancient times up through the early Industrial Revolution - however, students are not required to have taken 284 already; the two courses can stand alone.

Broad themes of the course include the evolution of different forms of technology; development of the modern engineering profession; the relationship between science and technology; the different ways in which technological change has affected society and the ways different cultures at different times have regarded technology and shaped its development.


This course includes two full-group meetings per week, plus one weekly small-group discussion section, attendance at which is mandatory. Sections will include discussions of assigned reading, viewing of films, and reviews for examinations, among other activities. Sections are also opportunities to ask questions about course procedures and about readings or lecture material.

There will be three examinations in this course, two during the semester itself plus a final. All students, including graduating seniors, will be required to take all exams, including the final. Exams will cover all material presented in the lectures, discussion sections, readings, and audio-visual material. Students are required to bring a blue book and a pen to use on exams - points will be deducted for exams written in pencil or not in blue books! Standard ISU policies on academic dishonesty will be applied. Students are responsible for ensuring they complete all exams by the proper dates. Any exam not completed by semester's end will automatically convert to a zero, and failure to take the final risks course failure. Students experiencing difficulties should first consult the professor and T.A., but may also wish to use ISU's Academic Learning Lab or Tutoring Services.

Each of the first two exams will be worth 25% of the overall grade. The final exam will account for another 40% of the final grade. The remaining 10% of the grade will be based on work done in the weekly small-group sections - attendance record, constructive participation in group discussions, evidence of having completed the reading assignments, and quizzes. Students experiencing difficulties should first consult the professor and T.A., but may also wish to make use of ISU's Academic Learning Lab or Tutoring Services (located in the Student Services Building).



1. Class participation - 10% of final grade:

a. Attendance;

b. Constructive participation in class discussion and

weekly section meetings; evidence of having completed

reading assignments; and other section activities;

2. Two examinations (dates below) - 25% each:

Each exam will be in two parts:

Part I: in-class, short-identification section;

Part II: take-home, open-book essay question;

3. Final examination - 40% of final grade:

Combination of identification and essay questions, in-class.




These books can be purchased in paperback (some available used) at university bookstores. Copies are also on library reserve.

1. Ashton, T.S.; The Industrial Revolution: 1760-1830; Oxford Univ. Press, 1969.

2. Nye, David; American Technological Sublime; MIT Press, 1996.

3. Headrick, Daniel; The Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century; Oxford, 1981.

4. Levy, Steven; Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything; Penguin Books, 1994.

5. Marcus, Alan and Howard Segal; Technology in America: A Brief History, SECOND EDITION; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1999.





Monday, January 14 and Wednesday, January 16 -

Course introduction, start of the Industrial Revolution;

ASSIGNMENT (to read before sections the week of the 21st):

- Ashton, p. 1-75.


Monday, January 21

No class;


Wednesday, January 23 -

Mechanizing production: textiles, steam power, and the factory


ASSIGNMENT for week of 1/28:

- Ashton, p. 76-129.


Monday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 30 -

Social aspects of the Industrial Revolution: agriculture, labor

and reform;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 2/4:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 3-68.


Monday, February 4 and Wednesday, February 6 -

Early American technology and production;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 2/11:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 71-107 and Nye, p. 1-76.

Monday, February 11 and Wednesday, February 13 -

Revolutionizing transportation - steamboats, railroads and


ASSIGNMENT for week of 2/18:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 110-141 and Nye, p. 77-142.

EXAMINATION #1 coming up on Wednesday, February 20!


Monday, February 18 -

Technology and business: Structure, system and standardization;

Wednesday, February 20 -


ASSIGNMENT for week of 2/25:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 143-172 and Nye, p. 143-198.


Monday, February 25 and Wednesday, February 27-

The age of electrical engineering: Edison, new light and

power systems;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 3/4:

- Headrick, p. 3-82.


Monday, March 4 and Wednesday, March 6 -

Amazing Model T: Origins and effects of automobile development;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 3/11:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 174-205 and Headrick, p. 83-164.

Monday, March 11 and Wednesday, March 13 -

The Machine Age: Aviation, prosperity, and the machine in art;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 3/25:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 207-240 and Headrick, p. 165-211.

Monday, March 18 and Wednesday, March 20 -

No class - spring break;


Monday, March 25 and Wednesday, March 27 -

Industrial and social engineering: The Depression, Technocracy,

and industrial design;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 4/1:

- Nye, p. 199-224.

EXAMINATION #2 coming up on Wednesday, April 3!


Monday, April 1 -

Future imperfect - technological dreams and realities;


Wednesday, April 3 -


ASSIGNMENT for week of 4/8:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 241-253 and Nye, p. 225-256 and

Levy, p. 3-74.


Monday, April 8 and Wednesday, April 10 -

Technology at war - Mobilization of research and development of

the atom bomb;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 4/15:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 253-297 and Levy, p. 77-165.


Monday, April 15 and Wednesday, April 17 -

Technology and the Cold War - Rise of the military-industrial

complex and the space race;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 4/22:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 299-333 and Levy, p. 169-234.


Monday, April 22 and Wednesday, April 24 -

The Information Age - From ENIAC and MANIAC to the MAC;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 4/29:

- Marcus and Segal, p. 334-381 and Levy, p. 237-302 and

Nye, p. 257-296.


Monday, April 29 and Wednesday, May 1 -

Is Small Beautiful? Modern issues of technology policy and



Week of May 6 -

FINAL EXAMINATION - date and time to be announced;