By G. J. N. Gooday
The Morals of dimension is a contribution to the social histories of quantification and of electric expertise in nineteenth-century Britain, Germany, and France. It indicates how the arrival of industrial electric lighting fixtures inspired the industrialisation of electric size from a talented labour-intensive task to a mechanised perform counting on significantly new forms of tools. tough conventional money owed that concentrate on metrological criteria, this e-book exhibits as an alternative the centrality of belief while dimension was once undertaken in an more and more complicated department of labour with synthetic undefined. Case reviews show how tough overdue Victorians came across it to agree upon which electric practitioners, tools, and metals have been so much reliable and what they can desire to degree with any accuracy. sophisticated ambiguities arose too over what constituted 'measurement' or 'accuracy' and hence over the respective tasks of people and applied sciences in electric perform. operating along those matters, the subjects of physique, gender, and authorship function importantly in controversies over the altering id of the measurer. In studying how new teams of electric specialists and shoppers construed the equity of metering for household lighting fixtures, this paintings charts the early ethical debates over what's now a ubiquitous expertise for quantifying electrical energy. for that reason readers will achieve clean insights, tinged with irony, on a interval during which size was once handled because the definitive technique of getting to know the area.
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Extra resources for The Morals of Measurement: Accuracy, Irony, and Trust in Late Victorian Electrical Practice
Scientiﬁc practice, theories and stones of physics, Chicago/London: Chicago University Press, 1995, pp. 13–41, esp. 35–9. In this context it is interesting to note that the Dynamicables Club was set up in the 1880s for manufacturers of dynamos, mica insulation, and telegraph cables to dine amicably together to ameliorate the divisive Moralizing Measurement 19 How then are we to understand the relation of such subcentres to the practice of electrical measurement in other commercial and academic settings?
For the late twentieth century, Latour implicitly cites as an example of such a centre of calculation the US National Bureau of Standards, which spends a large annual sum on maintaining the constancy of physical constants – the sort of work that is conventionally encompassed by the term ‘metrology’. It is not at all clear that this sort of laboratory promotes metrology in Latour’s extended used of the term. 38 In Britain, various bodies vigorously promoted their electrical research programmes and development of standards; notable among these were William Thomson’s laboratory in Glasgow and the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge under James Clerk Maxwell and then Lord Rayleigh.
13–41, esp. 35–9. In this context it is interesting to note that the Dynamicables Club was set up in the 1880s for manufacturers of dynamos, mica insulation, and telegraph cables to dine amicably together to ameliorate the divisive Moralizing Measurement 19 How then are we to understand the relation of such subcentres to the practice of electrical measurement in other commercial and academic settings? An important distinction must be drawn between the exercise of power inside and that outside the institutionalized centre of measurement.
The Morals of Measurement: Accuracy, Irony, and Trust in Late Victorian Electrical Practice by G. J. N. Gooday