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Technology

Technology JE SS IC A C . L I N K E R Bryn Mawr College In the common parlance of the twenty-first century, the word technology evokes the innovations of scientific industry in the digital age—laptop com- puters, smartphones, augmented reality devices—machines that have become hallmarks of industrial, economic, and often national progress. But technol- ogy in its most generic sense is the practical application of knowledge, scien- tific or otherwise, for useful and creative ends; historically, the word referred to systematic knowledge of process. By the early nineteenth century, English usage of the term began to narrow, shifting away from craftwork broadly to emphasizing scientific and industrial production and machine-centric proc- esses. Americans living through this transition perceived book technologies as a crucial pillar that supported the development of culture and society; these included typecasting, binding, engraving, lithography, and letterpress print- ing. Colorprinting, whetherexecuted inrelief, in intaglio, orplanographi- cally, was still relatively novel in the early republic and often signified a work’s technological sophistication. In the case of Jacob Bigelow’s American Medical Botany (1817–20), Bigelow changed the method of producing color plates partway through serialization, switching from hand-coloring to aquatint. A close examination of the illustrations produced for http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal University of Pennsylvania Press

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The McNeil Center for Early American Studies.
ISSN
1559-0895

Abstract

JE SS IC A C . L I N K E R Bryn Mawr College In the common parlance of the twenty-first century, the word technology evokes the innovations of scientific industry in the digital age—laptop com- puters, smartphones, augmented reality devices—machines that have become hallmarks of industrial, economic, and often national progress. But technol- ogy in its most generic sense is the practical application of knowledge, scien- tific or otherwise, for useful and creative ends; historically, the word referred to systematic knowledge of process. By the early nineteenth century, English usage of the term began to narrow, shifting away from craftwork broadly to emphasizing scientific and industrial production and machine-centric proc- esses. Americans living through this transition perceived book technologies as a crucial pillar that supported the development of culture and society; these included typecasting, binding, engraving, lithography, and letterpress print- ing. Colorprinting, whetherexecuted inrelief, in intaglio, orplanographi- cally, was still relatively novel in the early republic and often signified a work’s technological sophistication. In the case of Jacob Bigelow’s American Medical Botany (1817–20), Bigelow changed the method of producing color plates partway through serialization, switching from hand-coloring to aquatint. A close examination of the illustrations produced for

Journal

Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary JournalUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Nov 5, 2018

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