In the Time of Full Mechanisation By Nicola Published: August 4, In , Swiss art historian Sigfried Giedion published Mechanization Takes Command , an epic investigation into the origins, evolution, and impact of mechanisation on human civilisation. Pennsylvania Magazine, Philadelphia, This device typifies the early phases of mechanization in agriculture. It multiplies the number of flails and imitates by mechanical rotation the motion of the human arm. The threshing machine came into practical use in late eighteenth-century England, and was the first successful instrument of mechanized agriculture. About a hundred years had to pass before the combine, which automatically reaps, threshes, and bags the grain, became available for the family-size farm.
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Only the present day matters. Later periods will not understand these acts of destruction, this murder of history. One cannot blame the industrialist who dumped into the river apparently worthless documents. Nor, perhaps, can one blame the Patent Office for ridding itself in of the original patent models. The historians who did not succeed in awakening a feeling for the continuity of history are to blame.
The precious remnants of bygone periods would never have been collected or taken care of if several generations of historians bad not shown us their significance. The attitude described above had some direct consequenees for the research underlying this hook. Work for which a considerable staff should have been employed had to be done ahnost singlehanded.
This led unavoidably to incom- pleteness, yet it bad the advantage that, from the outset, the selection of the material was done by one individual. Mechanization Takes Command will serve perhaps more to reveal existing gaps than to fill them. The gaps will show, we hope, how badly research is needed into the anonymous history of our period, tracing our mode of life as affected by mechanization - its impact on our dwellings, our food, our furniture.
Research is needed into the links existing between industrial methods and methods used outside industry - in art, in visualization. This is an exacting task for which special training is needed. It is a matter of sifting the historically important from the less important.
It demands a power of discrimination, even of vision - a hard task for which carefully pre- pared scholars are needed. Nothing of the kind is earnestly provided for in the curricula of present-day universities. Chairs of anonymous history ought to be created, with the task not only of showing how facts and figures are to be gathered, but of showing their impact on culture and their meaning for us.
The first condition, of course, and the most difficult one to fulfil, is that the people in general should understand how their work and their invention - whether they know it or not - are continually shaping and reshaping the pat- terns of life. Once historical consciousness is awakened, self-respect will awaken too, a self-respect that inspires every true culture.
This renewed awareness will find means of preserving the key sourees to American history.
ISBN 0 5. Bryan E. When it was first published in , it was reviewed a number of times both within and outside of architectural discourse. On the one hand, generally positive reviews from Lewis Mumford, Arnold Hauser, Paul Zucker, and Marshall McLuhan characterized many of the architectural, art historical, and non-academic responses.
Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History
In the Time of Full Mechanisation