Abbott Payson Usher

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Abbott Payson Usher (1883  – June 18, 1965)[1] was an American economic historian. The Society of the History of Technology has awarded the Abbott Payson Usher Prize, named in his honor, annually since 1961.[2]

In the late 1920s Usher, the American historian Lewis Mumford and the Swiss art historian Sigfried Giedion began to systematically investigate the social consequences of technology.[3] In A History of Mechanical Inventions he argued that technological innovation was a slow, collective process with many contributors, not relying on the genius of great inventors.[4]


  • The history of the grain trade in France, 1400-1710. Harvard University Press. 1913. ISBN 0-374-98063-2.  (online text)
  • An introduction to the industrial history of England. Houghton Mifflin company. 1920.  (online text)
  • A History of Mechanical Invention. McGraw-Hill. 1929.  (Harvard University Press, 1954; Dover Publications, 1988 ISBN 0-486-25593-X)(online text)
  • The early history of deposit banking in Mediterranean Europe, (Harvard Economic Studies 75). Harvard University Press. 1943. (online text)


  1. ^ Smith, Thomas M. (Autumn 1965). "Memorial: Abbott Payson Usher (1883-1965)". Technology and Culture 6 (4): 630–632. 
  2. ^ "The Usher Prize". Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  3. ^ Cutcliffe, Stephen H. (1989). In Context History and the History of Technology: Essays in honor of Melvin Kranzberg. Lehigh University Press. pp. 88–89. ISBN 978-0-934223-03-4. 
  4. ^ Molella, Arthur P. (October 2005). Technology & Culture 46 (4): 779–796.