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A Brief History of Industrial Revolutions: Patrick McCray

One of the ways that indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tions are inter­est­ing to think about is that they look dif­fer­ent­ly depend­ing on how and where you see them from. They look dif­fer­ent whether you see them from Europe or Asia or Africa. But regard­less of time or place, econ­o­mists and his­to­ri­ans gen­er­al­ly tend to look at indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tions through the lens of inno­va­tion. And in my short talk today I want to encour­age a dif­fer­ent way of think­ing about this.

Working on ENIAC: The Lost Labors of the Information Age

The largest part of the ENIAC team by far were the peo­ple that were actu­ally build­ing the thing. And it’s inter­est­ing they’ve been for­got­ten by his­tory, because although their job titles were wire­men, tech­ni­cians, and assem­blers, being a busi­ness his­to­rian I looked up the account­ing records, and some­times they spell out the pay­roll. You sud­denly see all these women’s names like Ruth, Jane, Alice, Dorothy, Caroline, Eleanor show­ing up.