The OAH Magazine of History

Masthead Moh Nameplate Long

History of Technology

from the editor

One Morning in April, by Carl R. Weinberg

It is 9:35 a.m. and I am sitting at home, waiting for the FedEx guy to arrive. I have good reason to think he will be coming soon. After typing a twelve-digit tracking number on my computer and pushing the “Enter” key, the following information flashes onto my screen: The package began its journey yesterday in Richmond, British Columbia at 2:31 p.m. It took off from the Vancouver airport in the evening, landed in Memphis, Tennessee just after midnight, left Memphis at 3:28 a.m. and reached Indianapolis at 5:34 a.m., while I was still fast asleep. At 8:13 a.m., it arrived at a local Bloomington FedEx facility and as of 8:21 a.m., scarcely more than an hour ago, it was placed on a local delivery truck. Four minutes later—at 9:39 a.m.—the FedEx truck has pulled up in front of my house. After months on the brink of musical death in Morris Backunís world famous woodwind repair shop, my vintage Selmer “A” Clarinet is finally coming home. The doorbell rings. Thankfully, I have remembered earlier to sequester our semi-psychotic dog on the back deck. Primed for this moment by the FedEx tracking system, I run upstairs to open the front door. And there he is, or rather she. The FedEx “gal” has arrived with my treasured package. I gratefully sign for it and she bounds off the porch, hops in her truck, and speeds off to her next delivery. Read more >


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Technology and Human Experience,
by Steven W. Usselman and Amy Sue Bix
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From Sputnik to SCOT: The Historiography of American Technology,
by Steven W. Usselman
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Engineering Segregation: The University of Maryland in the Twilight of Jim Crow,
by Amy E. Slaton
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“Ready or not, computers are coming to the people”: Inventing the PC,
by Paul E. Ceruzzi
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Dètente on Earth and in Space: The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project,
by Jennifer Ross-Nazzal
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An Ambivalent Diet: The Industrialization of Canning,
by Gabriella M. Petrick
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teaching resources

Beyond Amelia Earhart: Teaching about the History of Women Aviators,
by Amy Sue Bix
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Using Patents to Teach History,
by Cai Guise-Richardson
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Holding History: Teaching with Technological Artifacts,
by Jeff Schramm
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on the cover

This 1944 photo shows pilots Frances Green, Margaret Kirchner, Ann Waldner, and Blanche Osborn, members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), returning from flying their B-17 bomber, “Pistol Packiní Mama,” at the Army Air Forces Four-Engine Pilot School at Lockbourne Army Air Field, near Columbus, Ohio. From 1942 to 1944, about one thousand WASPs flew over twelve thousand newly manufactured aircraft from factories to military bases. They also towed targets for gunnery practice and tested repaired aircraft. Despite their skill and sacrifice on the home front thirty-eight women pilots died in service they were denied military status and benefits during the war and the program was abruptly ended in 1944, due largely to opposition from male service pilots. Their story exemplifies the point that the history of technology must be seen in the broadest cultural context. (Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)