Thursday, February 25, 2010

Horses at Work

Horses at Work:
Harnessing Power in Industrial America

Ann Norton Greene
University of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, March 2, 6:00p.m.

The Library Company of Philadelphia

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to or call 215-546-3181.

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 The Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science (PACHS).