American masculinity has long been linked to mastering technology. From the first axe to the spinning jenny to the McCormick reaper, inventions designed by and for men have shaped United States settlement and industry. Yet, more than a masculine tool for cultivation and industry, technology has also been a force for masculine identity. Three technological movements illustrate the ways in which American masculinities are interwoven with technologies. They make it clear that while American men have long been concerned with making machines, machines have long been at work making men.

“Tinkering” Technology: From the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century

In the eighteenth-century, technology was essential for claiming masculinity; a man owned his own tools and could not claim status as an independent man until he possessed the ...

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