Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America

Ann Norton Greene, University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science and The Library Company of Philadelphia

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 4:30pm

The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street

Join us for a Public Lecture in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Reception, 5:30 p.m.
Program, 6:00 p.m.

The Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust Street

Historians have long assumed that new industrial machines and power sources eliminated work animals from 19th-century America, yet a bird’s-eye view of 19th-century society would show millions of horses supplying the energy necessary for industrial development. Indeed, the single most significant energy transition of the antebellum era may have been the dramatic expansion in the use of living, breathing horses as a power technology in the development of industrial America. Ann Greene argues for recognition of horses’ critical contribution to the history of American energy and the rise of American industrial power. She suggests that focusing on horses changes our view of 19th-century American society, and undermines the notion of so-called "inevitable" technological change.
Ann Norton Greene is Lecturer and Administrator in History and Sociology of Science at University of Pennsylvania. Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America (Harvard University Press, 2008) received the 2009 Fred B. Kniffen Award for best authored book from the Pioneer America Society.
This event is co-sponsored by PACHS and The Library Company of Philadelphia.