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The Machine that Built the World (Myth20c - Ep197)

Published on 11 Dec 2020 / In Wars / Military Industrial Complex

The modern world is an integrated system of almost unfathomable complexity, built upon sub systems, technologies, people and practices that if partially removed or neglected sufficiently, result in disastrous supply chain break downs as witnessed in wartime or as the world seized up in response to an overhyped flu virus in 2020. One of the industries at the heart of the manufacturing economy is the machine tool industry, responsible for “building the machines that build the machines” - mills, lathes, planers, presses, etc. that produce the metal products such as cars, airplanes and household appliances. Without these industrial tools, production would be relegated to hand tools or worse, and for national security reasons is arguably a strategic industry to be protected. As with most things in modern America, however, what is sensible and what is reality is at odds, with the machine tool industry witnessing a global market share decline of number one in the world at around 20% in 1981 to less than 5% today.

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-- References --

- Book of Tools, Strelinger (1895)
- A History of Mechanical Inventions, Usher (1929)
- The American Machine Tool Industry (Machine Tool, Its History, Growth & Decline, A Personal Perspective, Albrecht (2009)
- An interview with Albert Albrecht, a Machining Industry Historian, Graff (2009) -
- The 1751 Machine that Made Everything, Machine Thinking (2018) -
- The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World, Winchester (2019)
- The Decline of the U.S. Machine-Tool Industry and Prospects for Recovery -
- Forging America - The Story of Bethlehem Steel, Myth of the 20th Century (2020) -
- Thread: More problems for Boeing, Practical Machinist -
- APM - American Precision Museum -
- Practical Machinist -

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