Department of History and Sociology of Science
University of Pennsylvania
2007 to 2008
Dissertation Research Fellow
The Post-Heroic Generation: American Independent Inventors, 1900-1950
I am examining the changing fortunes of the American independent inventor from 1900 to 1950, exploring how this “post-heroic” generation of independent inventors adapted to changing business practices and political exigencies. My research draws on the following collections, among others: (1) at the Franklin Institute, the Case Files of the Committee on Science and the Arts; (2) at the American Philosophical Society, the correspondence of Elihu Thomson re his activities with the American Association of Inventors and Manufacturers; (3) at the Hagley Museum and Library, the papers of several 20th-century inventors, the records of the DuPont company, the papers of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the records of the Directors of Industrial Research; (4) at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Samuel Ruben’s papers and the Oral History interviews with instrument-maker Arnold Beckman; and (5) at Penn, published resources including long runs of inventor-oriented journals and the testimony of Congress’s Temporary National Economic Committee hearings. Read Eric's report on his research as a PACHS Fellow.