John Johnson, an industrial historian, will be teaching "Yankee Enterprise," a new course offering featuring the museum.
How did American manufacturing evolve from a handmade, pre-market economy in colonial New England to a machine-made, mass-market economy of the early 20th century? A major stimulus to this evolution was the production of firearms with machine tools in the Connecticut River Valley, where “armory practice” and interchangeable parts preceded the Civil War. This industrial transition had profound implications as inventors, machinists and managers produced, marketed,and distributed products that took center stage in the emerging global economy. Mechanized production, assembly lines, high wages, low prices, and advertising created an economy of mass consumption.