By Paul A. Shackel
Harpers Ferry used to be considered one of America's earliest and most important business groups - serving as a superb instance of the altering styles of human kinfolk that ended in dramatic development in paintings lifestyles and in family relatives nowa days. during this well-illustrated booklet, Paul A. Shackel investigates the historic archaeology of Harpers Ferry, revealing the tradition swap and effect of recent know-how on employees and their households. He makes a speciality of the contributions of employees, craftsmen, and different subordinate teams to commercial development, and examines ethnic and interracial improvement in an financial system that used to be remodeled from craft-based to industrial.
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Additional resources for Culture Change and the New Technology: An Archaeology of the Early American Industrial Era
24). The Wager Reserve was adjacent to the armory grounds, and tavern keepers sold liquor to armorers, who were "frequently in a state of intoxication" (HFNHP microfilms 1816). West of the Lower Town commercial district, private manufacturing blossomed with the exploitation of waterpower on Virginius Island. Virginius Island was not conveyed to the United States in 1796, nor was it controlled by the Wager family. The 1751 land grant to Harper did not include the island; therefore, the island could not be claimed by either the government or the Wagers.
While the increasing division of labor was an industrial necessity, some early managers at the national armories frowned upon the idea of creating machine-tenders rather than complete armorers. An inspector at the armory in 1819 noted that occupational specialization undermined the future of the armorers (Dalliba [quoted in Lowrie and Franklin 1834:543]): The general arrangement of the workmen to their work is the best that can be adopted for the United States, but not so for the interest ofthe workmen; that is, each man is kept at one particular kind of work, and is not shifted....
The Harpers Ferry and Shenandoah Manufacturing Company changed the labor orientation on the island from predominantly craft to wage labor. The owners sought to exploit regional and larger markets. A second and smaller cottonmill was leased to Valley Mill upriver and on Virginius Island (Bergstresser 1988:13). During this era, Virginius Island grew to 182 inhabitants living in 28 dwellings (Figure 13). Over 20% were foreign born, most of them probably weavers from England, Ireland, and Scotland.