Thursday, September 19, 2013

Words We Love : Luddite

noun a member of any of various bands of workers in England (1811–16) organized to destroy manufacturing machinery, under the belief that its use diminished employment.

1811, from name taken by an organized band of weavers who destroyed machinery in Midlands and northern England 1811-16 for fear it would deprive them of work. Supposedly from Ned Ludd, a Leicestershire worker who in 1779 had done the same before through insanity (but the story was first told in 1847). Applied to modern rejecters of automation and technology from at least 1961.

This is the old Silk Machinery Exchange building in Paterson NJ. Paterson was one of the first planned industrial cities in the United States, with much of the planning done by Alexander Hamilton. Power for the factories came from the Great Falls of Paterson. This picture was taken in the summer of 2009.