Lunchtime Seminar Tuesday 12th September

For our next seminar we are delighted to host Chris Corker from Sheffield Hallam University. 
Please see the poster and abstract below for further information. 

Chris Corker
Sheffield Hallam University

The Spin Of Technology: Armaments and Metallurgy at Hadfields, Sheffield c.1900-1914


12th November 2013
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Simon Building Room 2.57

For more information, contact  


The Spin Of Technology: Armaments and Metallurgy at Hadfields, Sheffield c.1900-1914

Utilising a case study of the Sheffield firm of Hadfields, a technologically advanced producer of armour piercing projectiles in the years prior to the Great War, this paper will explore the interactions between civilian and armaments technologies at the Company. In exploring technological innovation at Hadfields, emphasis is placed on the application of civil metallurgical knowledge to the development of armaments technologies. Important to understanding the advancement of technology at Hadfields, the role of Sir Robert Abbott Hadfield, the leading managerial figure at the company and a prominent metallurgist will be explored to examine his role in the strategy and technological development of armaments production. 

The methodological approach assesses Trebilcock’s concept of technological spin-offs, which suggests that the development of armaments technologies had a strong influence on the development of allied technologies in Britain and Europe. However, Trebilcock’s idea requires qualification, and the case study of Hadfields will be explored with the recognition that civilian technologies also influence the development of armaments technologies. The current understanding of spin-off within the armaments industry requires revision to consider spin-off as a two-way interaction between civilian and armaments technologies, and that such interaction can occur in a single firm. 


Corker, C., ‘Spin-off, Path Dependence and Armaments Technological Development: A Case Study of Hadfields c.1900-1914’, The Economic History Society Annual Conference 2013 Programme and New Researcher Papers, The University Of York, York, 2013.

Rosenberg, N., Exploring The Black Box, CambridgeUniversity Press, Cambridge, 1994.

 Trebilcock, C., ‘Spin-Off In British Economic History: Armaments And Industry 1760-1914,’ in Economic History Review, 22, 3, 1969, pp. 474-490.

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