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Preserving the Dust: The Role of Machines in Commemorating the Industrial Revolution

Ben Russell
History and Memory
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Fall/Winter 2014), pp. 106-132
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/histmemo.26.2.106
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/histmemo.26.2.106
Page Count: 27
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Preserving the Dust: The Role of Machines in Commemorating the Industrial Revolution
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Abstract

By the mid-nineteenth century there had emerged a well-established conception of the British industrialization as being driven preeminently by very particular inventors and the machines that they created. James Watt and the steam engine were a primary focus of attention, particularly for Bennet Woodcroft (1803–79) at the Patent Office Museum in London. Woodcroft's early work securing items of Britain's early industrial heritage points to the powerful commemorative role which he perceived for such objects in recording the passage of Britain's Industrial Revolution. It also raises some issues that were amplified by the burgeoning heritage industry in the twentieth century.

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