Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tool and Symbol: The Success of the Double-Bitted Axe in North America, by Ronald Jager

This is an article published in 1999 in Technology and Culture. In the article Jager discusses the ascent of the double bit axe in America and some potential reasons for its popularity. He makes a few brief guesses as to potential practical advantages, and while he makes a technically correct point about the aerodynamics of a double bit axe as compared to a balanced single bit axe, I am not sure it translates to any practical and therefore competitive advantage. I found his discussion of the social forces behind the transition however very interesting. I think he makes a good point that the choice of even something as practical as a tool can have nothing to do with practicality. I think we see that a lot today in our own outdoor community.


The article is available on JSTOR if you have an account, or you can get a copy here. I want to thank Joe from Woods Monkey for providing it to me. 

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