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Durham University

Research & business

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Professor Howell John Harris

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Professor Emeritus (Modern American History) in the Department of History

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His research encompasses the business, economic, labour and technological history of the USA, pursued through closely-focused interdisciplinary case studies. His current work focuses on how American inventors, manufacturers, and consumers coped with the problems of exceptionally severe winters in the early 19th century, at a time of growing expectations of comfort and convenience in everyday life. With the opportunities presented by abundant coal deposits and improved transport systems, new technologies for heating and cooking were developed, on which 19th century-domesticity would depend. This led to the rise of a major manufacturing industry.

Research Interests

  • History of technology, esp. 19th-century metalworking
  • American cast-iron stoves and stovemaking
  • Labour and business in U.S. history


Authored book

Chapter in book

Journal Article