Age of Invention, by Anton Howes

Age of Invention, authored by Anton Howes, explores the rich tapestry of the history of innovation, focusing on how historical inaccuracies, myths, and the replication crisis affect our understanding of the past. It delves into specific cases of technological advancements, industry influences, the role of unsung materials in societal shifts, and the broader implications of ethics in public history discourse.

History of Innovation Historical Accuracy and Myths Technological Advancements Industrial Espionage Economic and Environmental Impacts of Industry Public History Ethics Historical Replication Crisis

The hottest Substack posts of Age of Invention, by Anton Howes

And their main takeaways
1072 implied HN points 19 Jan 24
  1. The history of various industries from the period 1550-1650 is often overlooked.
  2. There were significant advancements in industries like iron, stockings and silk, saltpetre, glass, brass, and manure during this time.
  3. Exploring the development of these industries can provide insights into key historical innovations and societal changes.
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1201 implied HN points 25 Oct 23
  1. The transition to coal started by finding ways to exploit cheaper coals, leading to innovations like coal-fuelled salt pans.
  2. Lime, often overlooked by economic historians, had a significant impact on agriculture and productivity.
  3. Coal's impact on agriculture increased the availability of grain, resulting in an abundance of muscle power for various industrial tasks.
1313 implied HN points 22 Sep 23
  1. History doesn't always self-correct quickly, with myths and false facts persisting for decades.
  2. Retractions do happen in history, showing some correction in the field.
  3. Openness in history, like 'Open History' initiatives, can help correct the record and benefit historians.
1040 implied HN points 10 Oct 23
  1. John Holker was a master of industrial espionage, using his skills to steal British textile technologies for the French government in the 18th century.
  2. Britain was already a leader in European technological development in the 1710s, with industries like iron founding, clock-making, and sailcloth-making.
  3. Holker not only stole technology, but also set up a system to adapt and spread the skills in France, leading to the success of introducing cotton velvet manufacture.
1008 implied HN points 10 Aug 23
  1. Robert Bakewell had an 'improving mentality' when it came to breeding animals, focusing on optimizing profit and efficiency.
  2. Bakewell selectively bred cows and sheep to maximize valuable meat and minimize feeding costs.
  3. The improving mentality led Bakewell to continuously optimize all aspects of his farm, from animal breeding to farm layout and operations.
1297 implied HN points 07 Jul 23
  1. Henry Cort, a key figure in the British Industrial Revolution, may have stolen iron-making improvements from enslaved Jamaican metallurgists.
  2. The origin of Cort's inventions is still debated, with limited evidence to prove the claims made by Jenny Bulstrode in an academic paper.
  3. The narrative presented by Bulstrode requires multiple unproven assumptions and lacks concrete evidence.
944 implied HN points 28 Jul 23
  1. Anglesey's Parys Mountain was rich in copper that influenced British economy and naval technology
  2. Thomas Williams, an attorney and Copper King, controlled copper mining in Anglesey and Cornwall
  3. The mining operations at Parys Mountain in 1780 were fascinating but led to environmental degradation
736 implied HN points 23 Jun 23
  1. Transport infrastructure plays a key role in boosting economic growth by providing access to energy and markets.
  2. Historically, the primary focus of early transport infrastructure like canals and railways was to transport goods, especially coal and grain.
  3. While passenger transportation is beneficial for connecting cities and improving labor market efficiency, access to energy and markets are more crucial for economic growth.
784 implied HN points 08 Jun 23
  1. Steam engine development had a longer and more complex history than traditionally believed.
  2. The concept of vacuums and atmospheric pressure were being utilized much earlier than commonly thought.
  3. Inventions often come from a series of small steps and discoveries over time, rather than sudden breakthroughs.
752 implied HN points 27 Apr 23
  1. Samuel More's passion for industry made him an industrial romantic who found awe in technological advancements.
  2. The West Midlands flourished and grew due to improvements in medicine, iron, ceramics, and new transportation infrastructure like roads, railways, and canals.
  3. Technology and infrastructure created an extraordinary boom in the West Midlands during a time of trade interruption from the American Revolution.