Harnessing nature for industry

Colonial waterpower

   Conflicts over flour mills & sawmills

      Dams to store water for dry summer

       Flooded hay meadows, blocked fish

      Laws favored mill owners

   Growing miscellany of mills by 1812

      Chocolate, drugs, dyes, nails, paper, screws, snuff, wire, textiles





Waterpower Transformed

   War of 1812 and the tariff, 1812–1840

   Boston Mfg. Co., 1813, Waltham

      All phases of cotton textile under 1 roof

The Boston Associates

   Feeds capital to mills

      Lowell, Mass. becomes the model



Control the Merrimack River

   More water, more reliable than Charles River

   River under corporate control

      Buy stream rights, dams, canals, locks

      Separation of land & water rights

       Water rights sold & traded

       Commodification of water

Using science to control nature

   Engineers maximize use of water

   Dams close when mills close

   River flow under corporate control

Water Pollution

   Growth of industrial cities

      Workers & service personnel

      Rivers carry off human & industrial waste

   Death of the river

      Oxygen needed to eliminate organic waste

      Acids, alkalis kill bacteria that use oxygen

      Water foul, typhoid epidemics common

   No pollution control laws

Sanitation and Garbage


      15–30 lbs.  of waste per horse per day

Sanitation and Garbage

   Human waste

      Dumped in streets or streams

      Night soil collection



      Products & producers of environmental change

   Chicago: “instant city”

      1860: 30,000 ® 1910: 2,000,000

   Location, location, location




      Proximity to frontier




   Cattle from demise of buffalo

Flour mills

   Wheat from disappearance of buffalo & Indians


   From deforestation of Wisconsin



   Chicago: product of industry & invention

      Railroads: wheat & cattle

      Assembly line: invented in stockyards

      Refrigeration: transformed eating habits


   Chicago: product of consumerism

      McCormick Reapers

      Montgomery Ward and Sears

      Urban middleman