Recasting the Machine Age: Henry Ford's Village Industries

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9781558494817: Recasting the Machine Age: Henry Ford's Village Industries

Recasting the Machine Age recounts the history of Henry Ford's efforts to shift the production of Ford cars and trucks from the large-scale factories he had pioneered in the Detroit area to nineteen decentralized, small-scale plants within sixty miles of Ford headquarters in Dearborn. The visionary who had become famous in the early twentieth century for his huge and technologically advanced Highland Park and River Rouge complexes gradually changed his focus beginning in the teens and continuing until his death in 1947.

Ford may well have been motivated to spend great sums on the village industries in part to prevent the unionization of his company. But these industrial experiments represented much more than "union busting." They were significant examples of profound social, cultural, and ideological shifts in America between the World Wars as reflected in the thought and practice of one notable industrialist.

Howard P. Segal recounts the development of the plants, their fate after Ford's death, their recent revival as part of Michigan's renewed appreciation of its industrial heritage, and their connections to contemporary efforts to decentralize high-tech working and living arrangements.

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From the Inside Flap:

"A fascinating subject, one well deserving of a modern scholar's attention. . . . The book makes a significant impact on our understanding of Henry Ford's auto industry, America's machine age, and patterns of industrial decentralization."--Amy Sue Bix, author of "Inventing Ourselves out of Jobs?: America's Debate over Technological Unemployment"

"Howard Segal's treatment of his subject is the best I have read, going far beyond anyone else's work and being as definitive as we likely shall see. 'Recasting the Machine Age' is fair, objective, scholarly, and up-to-date."--David L. Lewis, author of "The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company"

About the Author:

Howard P. Segal is professor of history at the University of Maine and author of Future Imperfect: The Mixed Blessings of Technology in America (University of Massachusetts Press, 1994).

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Howard P. Segal
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