Carbono e ferro em Mumford (1934)

The first mark of paleotechnic industry was the pollution of the air. Disregarding Benjamin Franklin’s happy suggestion that coal smoke, being unburnt carbon, should be utilized a second time in the furnace, the new manufacturers erected steam engines and factory chimneys without any effort to conserve energy by burning up thoroughly the products of the first combustion; nor did they at first attempt to utilize the by-products of the coke-ovens or burn up the gases pro- [168] duced in the blast-furnace. For all its boasts of improvement, the steam engine was only ten per cent efficient: ninety per cent of the heat created escaped in radiation, and a good part of the fuel went up the flue. Just as the noisy clank of Watt’s original engine was maintained, against his own desire to do away with it, as a pleasing mark of power and efficiency, so the smoking factory chimney, which polluted the air and wasted energy, whose pall of smoke increased the number and thickness of natural fogs and shut off still more sunlight – this emblem of a crude, imperfect technics became the boasted symbol of prosperity. And here the concentration of paleotechnic industry added to the evils of the process itself. The pollution and dirt of a small iron works situated in the open country could be absorbed or carried away without difficulty. When twenty large iron works were grouped together, concentrating their effluvia and their waste-products, a wholesale deterioration of the environment inevitably followed. (Mumford 1934:167-8)

MUMFORD, Lewis. 1934. Technique and civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.