Lewis MumfordLewis Mumford (October 19, 1895 -January 26, 1990) was a historian of technology (by Mumford referred to as technics) and science. He was a disciple of the victorian historian Sir Patrick Geddes and a contemporary and friend of Fred Osborne and Vannevar Bush.
His basic idea, introduced in his most known piece entitled Technics and Civilization (1934) was that technology was twofold:
- Polytechnic, a technology style that rhymes with the human nature and
- Monotechnic which is technology for the sake of technology, oppressing humanity as it moves along it's own trajectory.
Mumford divides human civilization into three distinct epochs:
- Eotechnic (the middle ages)
- Paleotechnic (the time of the industrial revolution) and
- Neotechnic (later, present-day)
One of the more well-known studies of Mumford is of the way the clock was created by monks in the middle ages and subsequently adopted by the rest of society. He view this device as the key invention of the whole industrial revolution. He wrote for instance:
- The clock is a piece of machinery whose 'product' is seconds and minutes.