The Postwar American Scientific Instrument Industry

Johnston, S. F. (2007) The Postwar American Scientific Instrument Industry. High-Tech Postwar Industry workshop, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, USA (Unpublished)

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The production of scientific instruments in America was neither a postwar phenomenon nor dramatically different from that of several other developed countries. It did, however, undergo a step-change in direction, size and style during and after the war. The American scientific instrument industry after 1945 was intimately dependent on, and shaped by, prior American and European experience. This was true of the specific genres of instrument produced commercially; to links between industry and science; and, just as importantly, to manufacturing practices and cultures. I will argue that, despite the new types of instrument commercialized after the war, this historical continuity of links with science and scientists guided and constrained the design and manufacture of these products. Nevertheless, new designers, manufacturers and customers gradually transformed the culture of scientific instruments in the second half of the century. The attributes of this culture included the relationships between designer and customer; manufacturing processes; and norms of sales, support and development.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johnston, Professor Sean
Authors: Johnston, S. F.
Subjects:E History America > E11 America (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
T Technology > T Technology (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies

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