Error message

Sorry, but your IP has been blocked from using our store. If you think this is an error, please call JHU Press customer service at 800-537-5487.
Hopkins Fulfillment Services

Authority, Liberty, and Automatic Machinery in Early Modern Europe

'Authority, Liberty, and Automatic Machinery in Early Modern Europe' cover image

Authority, Liberty, and Automatic Machinery in Early Modern Europe

Perhaps never in history has society been so fascinated with a single machine as when, in early modern Europe, the clock evolved into a major cultural image, widely used in literature, science, and especially Cartesian philosophy. Yet in England, there was greater interest in a different class of technology-the feedback device, such as the safety valve on a steam engine, that could control itself internally;self-regulating systems were hallmarks not only of practical technology but also of the abstract theories of Newton and Adam Smith.

Otto Mayr, the director of Germany's leading technological museum, explores the relationship between machinery, technological thought, and culture. Contrasting England and the Continent, particularly in the eighteenth century, he uncovers a stikring pattern of technological metaphors applied to political systems-and lays the foundations of a new intellectual history of technology