Eric S. Hintz, PhD is an historian with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, will present research underlying Places of Invention, a 3,300-square foot, interactive, family-friendly exhibition that debuted on July 1, 2015 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Hartford, CT is one of six communities featured in the exhibition and companion book.
Hartford was one of America’s key places of invention in the 19th century, and a leading industrial city. Founded in 1636, the state capital had long been a trading post, as merchants shipped goods along the Connecticut River to New York City and the Atlantic. In the 1850s and 60s, firms like Aetna and Travelers emerged to underwrite the maritime trade, making Hartford the “insurance capital of the world.” Meanwhile, the Colt Armory and its neighboring firms perfected the techniques of interchangeable parts manufacturing, establishing Hartford as one of the birthplaces of American mass production. Thus, all kinds of products— including firearms, sewing machines, typewriters, bicycles, and automobiles—were manufactured in Hartford, making this New England city a hotbed of “Yankee ingenuity” from the late 1800s through the early 20th century. Hartford’s fortunes changed greatly after World War II, as the effects of deindustrialization turned the city into one of the poorest in the nation. However, Hartford’s leaders have drawn inspiration from the city’s innovative past to revitalize the city and muster a comeback.
Free for CHS members, $5 for Non-members. Pre-registration requested by phone at (860) 236-5621 x238 or by email at [email protected]
About the Speaker
Eric S. Hintz, PhD is an historian with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He served as a curator for the Center’s exhibition, Places of Invention, which opened in July 2015. He also produces the Center’s annual symposium series, “New Perspectives on Invention and Innovation;” coordinates the Center’s fellowship and grant programs; and assists in the collection of historically significant artifacts and documents. Eric’s research interests include the history of science and technology and US business and economic history; he specializes in the history of invention, innovation, and R&D. He is currently working on a book that considers the changing fortunes of American independent inventors from 1875-1950, an era of expanding corporate R&D. Hintz earned a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame (1996) and an M.A. (2005) and Ph.D. (2010) in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.