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Abbott Payson Usher Prize

Updated 17 January 2024
It is not possible to nominate publications for the Abbott Payson Usher Prize. The Prize Committee selects the winner from the scholarly work published under the auspices of SHOT in the preceding  three years.

Abbott Payson Usher Prize

Established in 1961, the Abbott Payson Usher Prize was established to honor the scholarly contribution of the late Dr. Usher and to encourage the publication of original research of the highest standard. It is awarded annually to the author of the best scholarly work published during the preceding three years under the auspices of the Society for the History of Technology. The prize consists of a cash award and a certificate.

2023 Abbott Payson Usher Prize Committee

Lino Camprubí (2023-2025) – Chair
Christopher Jones (2022–2024)
Emmanuel Lukio Mchome (2024-2026)

For more information, please contact the committee chair or Jan Korsten, SHOT Secretary, [email protected].

Recipients of the Abbott Payson Usher Prize

2023 Leor Halevi, Vanderbilt University
What Hath Allah Wrought? The Global Invention of Prescriptive Machines for the Islamic Consumer, 1975–2010,” Technology and Culture vol. 62 no. 3, 2021, p. 741-779
2022 Robert MacDougall, Western University Canada
Sympathetic Physics: The Keely Motor and The Laws of Thermodynamics in Nineteenth Century Culture,” Technology and Culture vol. 60 no. 2, 2019, p. 438-466
2021 Robyn d’Avignon, New York University
“Spirited Geobodies: Producing Subterranean Property in Nineteenth-Century Bambuk, West Africa,” Technology and Culture 61:2 Supplement (2020), S20-S48
2020 Daniel Williford, University of Wisconsin Madison
For “Seismic Politics: Risk and Reconstruction after the 1960 Earthquake in Agadir, Morocco,”
Technology and Culture 58:4 October 2017, 982-1016
2019 Eden Medina, “Forensic Identification in the Aftermath of Human Rights Crimes in Chile: A Decentered Computer History,” Technology and Culture 59:4 Supplement (2018), S100-S133
2018 Whitney Laemmli, “A Case in Pointe: Romance and Regimentation at the New York City Ballet,” Technology and Culture 56 (January 2015): 1-27
2017 Edward Jones-Imhotep, “Malleability and Machines: Glenn Gould and the Technological Self,” Technology and Culture 57 (April 2016): 287-321
2016 Edward Gillin, “Prophets of Progress: Authority in the Scientific Projections and Religious Realizations of the Great Eastern Steamship,” Technology and Culture 56 (October 2015): 928–56
2015 Jung Lee, “Invention without Science: ‘Korean Edisons’ and the Changing Understanding of Technology in Colonial Korea,” Technology and Culture 54 (October 2013):782-814
2014 Chris Evans and Alun Withey, “An Enlightenment in Steel? Innovation in the Steel Trades of Eighteenth-Century Britain,” Technology and Culture 53 (July 2012): 533-560
2013 Thomas S. Mullaney, “The Moveable Typewriter: How Chinese Typists Developed Predictive Text during the Height of Maoism,” Technology and Culture 53 (October 2012): 777-814
2012 Tiina Männistö-Funk, “The Crossroads of Technology and Tradition: Vernacular Bicycles in Rural Finland, 1880-1910,” Technology and Culture 52 (October 2011): 733-756
2011 David Biggs, “Breaking from the Colonial Mold: Water Engineering and the Failure of Nation-Building in the Plain of Reeds, Vietnam,” Technology and Culture 49 (July 2008): 599-623
2010 Peter Norton, “Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age,” Technology and Culture 48 (April 2007): 331-359
2009 Crosbie Smith and Anne Scott, “‘Trust in Providence’: Building Confidence into the Cunard Line of Steamers,” Technology and Culture 48 (July 2007): 471-96
2008 Eric Schatzberg, “Technik Comes to America: Changing Meanings of Technology before 1930,” Technology and Culture
47 (2006): 486-512
2007 Carlo Belfanti, “Guilds, Patents, and the Circulation of Technical Knowledge: Northern Italy during the Early Modern Age,” Technology and Culture 45 (2004): 569-89
2006 Lissa Roberts, “An Arcadian Apparatus: The Introduction of the Steam Engine into the Dutch Landscape,” Technology and Culture 45 (2004): 251-76
2005 William Storey, “Guns, Race, and Skill in Nineteenth-Century South Africa,” Technology and Culture 45 (2004): 687-711
2004 Kenneth Lipartito, “Picturephone and the Information Age: The Social Meaning of Failure,” Technology and Culture 44 (2003): 50-81
2003 Amy Slaton (Drexel University), “‘As Near as Practicable’: Precision, Ambiguity, and the Social Features of Industrial Quality Control,” Technology and Culture 42 (2001): 51-80
2002 Wiebe E Bijker (Universiteit Maastricht) and Karin Bijsterveld (Universiteit Maastricht), “Walking through Plans: Technology, Democracy and Gender Identity,” Technology and Culture 41 (2000): 485-515
2001 John K. Brown (University of Virginia), “Design Plans, Working Drawings, National Styles: Engineering Practice in Great Britain and the United States, 1775-1945,” Technology and Culture 41 (2000): 195-238
2000 Matthew W. Roth, “Mulholland Highway and the Engineering Culture of Los Angeles in the 1920s,” Technology and Culture 40 (1999): 545-575
1999 Joy Parr, “What Makes Washday Less Blue? Gender, Choice, Nation, and Technology Choice in Postwar Canada,” Technology and Culture (1998)
1998 David Mindell “The Clangor of that Blacksmith’s Fray,” Technology and Culture 36 (1995)
1997 Eric Schatzberg, “Ideology and Technical Choice: The Decline of the Wooden Airplane in the United States, 1920-1945,” Technology and Culture 35 (1994): 34-69
1996 Gabrielle Hecht, “Political Designs: Nuclear Reactors and National Policy in Postwar France,” Technology and Culture 35 (1994): 657-85
1995 Jameson W. Doig and David P. Billington, “Ammann’s First Bridge: A Study in Engineering, Politics and Entrepreneurial Behavior,” Technology and Culture 35 (1994): 537-70
1994 John Law, “The Olympus 320 Engine: A Case Study in Design, Development, and Organizational Control,” Technology and Culture 33 (1992): 409-40
1993 Barton Hacker, “An Annotated Index to Volumes 1-25,” Technology and Culture (1991); and Pamela O. Long, “The Openness of Knowledge: An Ideal and its Context in 16th Century Writings on Mining and Metallurgy,” Technology and Culture 32 (1991): 318-55
1992 Bryan Pfaffenberger, “The Harsh Facts of Hydraulics: Technology and Society in Sri Lanka’s Colonization Schemes,” Technology and Culture 31 (1990): 361-97
1991 Robert Gordon, “Who Turned the Mechanical Idea into the Mechanical Reality?” Technology and Culture 29 (1989): 744-78
1990 Laurence F. Gross, “Wool Carding: A Study of Skills and Technology,” Technology and Culture 28 (1987): 804-27
1989 Larry Owens, “Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Context of an Early Computer,” Technology and Culture 27 (1986): 63-95
1988 Judith A. McGaw, “Accounting for Innovation: Technological Change and Business Practice in the Berkshire County Paper Industry,” Technology and Culture 26 (1985): 703-25
1987 Bruce E. Seely, “The Scientific Mystique in Engineering: Highway Research at the Bureau of Public Roads, 1918-1940,” Technology and Culture 25 (1984): 798-831
1986 Donald MacKenzie, “Marx and the Machine,” Technology and Culture 25 (1984): 473-502
1985 Eda Fowlks Kranakis, “The French Connection: Giffard’s Injector and the Nature of Heat,” Technology and Culture 23 (1982): 3-38
1984 Walter G. Vincenti, “Control-Volume Analysis: A Difference in Thinking between Engineering and Physics,” Technology and Culture 23 (1982): 145-74
1983 George Wise, ” A New Role for Professional Scientists in Industry: Industrial Research at General Electric, 1900-1916,” Technology and Culture (1980): 408-429
1982 Harold Dorn, “Hugh Lincoln Cooper and the First Detente,” Technology and Culture 20 (1979): 322-47
1981 Thomas P. Hughes, “The Electrification of America: The System Builders,” Technology and Culture 20 (1979): 124-61
1980 Stuart W. Leslie, “Charles F. Kettering and the Copper-cooled Engine,” Technology and Culture 20 (1979): 752-76
1979 Lynwood Bryant, “The Development of the Diesel Engine,” Technology and Culture 17 (1976): 432-46
1978 Otto Mayr, “Yankee Practice and Engineering Theory: Charles T. Porter and the Dynamics of the High-Speed Steam Engine,” Technology and Culture 16 (1975): 570-602
1977 William H. TeBrake, “Air Pollution and Fuel Crisis in Pre-Industrial London, 1250-1650,” Technology and Culture 16 (1975): 337-59
1976 Russell I. Fries, “British Responses to the American System: The Case of the Small-Arms Industry after 1850,” Technology and Culture 16 (1975): 377-403
1975 Paul Uselding, “Elisha K. Root, Forging and the ‘American System,'” Technology and Culture 15 (1974): 543-68
1974 Carl Mitcham and Robert Mackey for the bibliography of the philosophy of technology, first published as a supplement to Technology and Culture 14 (1973) and then separately by the University of Chicago Press
1973 R. L. Hills and A. J. Pacey, “The Measurement of Power in the Early Steam-driven Textile Mills,” Technology and Culture 13 (1972): 25-43
1972 Cyril Stanley Smith, “Art, Technology and Science: Notes on their Historical Interaction,” Technology and Culture 11 (1970): 493-549
1971 James E. Brittain, “The Introduction of the Loading Coil: George A. Campbell and Michael I. Pupin,” Technology and Culture 11 (1970): 36-57
1970 James E. Packer, “Structure and Design in Ancient Ostia: A Contribution to the Study of Roman Imperial Architecture,” Technology and Culture 9 (1968): 257-88
1969 Eugene S. Ferguson, “Bibliography of the History of Technology,” an expansion of a series of articles originally published in Technology and Culture (1962-1965) and constituting no. 5 in the Monography Series of the History of Technology, published jointly by SHOT and MIT Press
1968 Carl W. Condit, “The First Reinforced-Concrete Skyscraper: The Ingalls Building in Cincinnati and Its Place in Structural History,” Technology and Culture 9 (1968): 1-33
1967 John G. Burke, “Bursting Boilers and the Federal Power,” Technology and Culture 7 (1966): 1-23
1966 Thomas Esper, “The Replacement of the Longbow by Firearms in the English Army,” Technology and Culture 6 (1965): 382-93
1965 Robert P. Multhauf, “Sal Amoniac: A Case of History of Industrialization,” Technology and Culture 6 (1965): 569-86
1964 Ladislao Reti, “Francesco di Giorgio Martini’s Treatise on Engineering and Its Plagiarists,” Technology and Culture 4 (1963): 287-98
1963 Norman B. Wilkinson, “Brandywine Borrowings from European Technology,” Technology and Culture 4 (1963): 1-13
1962 Silvio A. Bedini, “The Compartmented Cylindrical Cledsydra,” Technology and Culture 3 (1962): 115-41
1961 Robert S. Woodbury, “The Legend of Eli Whitney and Interchangeable Parts,” Technology and Culture 1 (1960): 235-53