Lowell Lecture

Mill Talk: "Does Technology Drive History?"

Date & Time

June 17, 2020


Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation
Located in the Historic Francis Cabot Lowell Mill
Park in the Embassy Theatre Lot — GPS "42 Cooper Street, Waltham"
154 Moody Street Waltham, MA 02453
Driving Directions


Dave Hochfelder is associate professor of History at University at Albany, SUNY. Before earning his PhD in History at Case Western Reserve University, he earned a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering at Northwestern University. He is the author of The Telegraph in America, 1832-1920 (2012). He is presently working on a digital history of urban renewal (with Ann Pfau and Stacy Sewell) called Picturing Urban Renewal, for which they have received two National Endowment for the Humanities planning grants. They blog at https://98acresinalbany.wordpress.com/.

Presenting Organization

Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation




Bob Perry (director@charlesrivermuseum.org, 7818935410)

THIS EVENT WILL BE BROADCAST LIVE as a Zoom webinar and streamed live on the Museum's Facebook page! - Technology has been central to human civilization from the beginning. Throughout most of our existence, technological and social changes happened slowly. However, this pace accelerated around the turn of the 19th century. Innovations like the steam engine, telegraphy, electrification, the automobile, the electronic mass media, and, lately, computing and information systems have transformed the ways in which we communicate, travel, work, and play.

The impact of technology on our everyday lives leads many of us to the conclusion that technology shapes society. In this conversation, we will explore the relationship between technological change and social change. We will pay particular attention to the telegraph, the first technology to harness electricity, and the first step toward today’s world of the Internet and smartphones.