The need for a new ordering of the technical professions had become apparent as the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century forced a redefinition of mankind’s relationship to the machine. The development of new devices, processes, and technical solutions to the economic and social problems that plagued an increasingly urban, regimented, and factory-oriented society could no longer be trusted to untutored craftsmen. While self-trained technicians like Eli Whitney, S. F. B. Morse, Samuel Colt, and Charles Goodyear continued to inject new ideas, techniques, and machines into industry, the leadership that directed the sustained growth of modern technology was drawn to an ever-greater extent from an expanding pool of trained engineers.

Tom D. Crouch, A Dream of Wings: Americans and the Airplane, 1875–1905