Technical Innovation in American History

An Encyclopedia of Science and Technology

by Rosanne Welch and Peg A. Lamphier, Editors


The invention of the internal combustion engine changed the world irrevocably.

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Cover image for Technical Innovation in American History

February 2019


Pages 1082
Volumes 3
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics American History/Science and Technology

From the invention of eyeglasses to the Internet, this three-volume set examines the pivotal effects of inventions on society, providing a fascinating history of technology and innovations in the United States from the earliest European colonization to the present.

Technical Innovation in American History surveys the history of technology, documenting the chronological and thematic connections between specific inventions, technological systems, individuals, and events that have contributed to the history of science and technology in the United States. Covering eras from colonial times to the present day in three chronological volumes, the entries include innovations in fields such as architecture, civil engineering, transportation, energy, mining and oil industries, chemical industries, electronics, computer and information technology, communications (television, radio, and print), agriculture and food technology, and military technology.

The A–Z entries address key individuals, events, organizations, and legislation related to themes such as industry, consumer and medical technology, military technology, computer technology, and space science, among others, enabling readers to understand how specific inventions, technological systems, individuals, and events influenced the history, cultural development, and even self-identity of the United States and its people. The information also spotlights how American culture, the U.S. government, and American society have specifically influenced technological development.


  • Encourages readers to consider the tremendous potential impact of advances in science and technology and the ramifications of important inventions on the global market, human society, and even the planet as a whole
  • Supports eras addressed in the National Standards for American history as well as curricular units on inventions, discoveries, and technological advances
  • Includes primary documents, a chronology, and section openers that help readers contextualize the content
Author Info

Rosanne Welch, PhD, teaches humanities courses for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and in MFA in Screenwriting programs at California State University, Fullerton, and Stephens College, Missouri. A film and television historian, Welch has published chapters in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television and Doctor Who and Race: An Anthology and edited Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work, and Family and ABC-CLIO's The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space.

Peg A. Lamphier, PhD, teaches in an interdisciplinary program at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She also teaches American history at Mt. San Antonio College. An American historian specializing in Civil War and women's history, she authored Kate Chase and William Sprague: Politics and Gender in a Civil War Marriage and Spur Up Your Pegasus: Family Letters of Salmon, Kate, and Nettie Chase, 1844–1873.



"Recommended. Undergraduates and general readers."Choice

"Suitable for high school students interested in technology and history."School Library Journal

"Overall, the coverage and the quality of the essays is exceptional, and this tome should be a part of any K-12 library and college/university library as a major resource on this topic."ARBA

"Overall, the coverage and the quality of the essays is exceptional, and this tome should be a part of any school library as a major resource on this topic. . . Recommended."School Library Journal

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