David Morton is a writer, editor, educator, and communications professional who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a PhD in the history of technology from Georgia Tech, is the author of two books on the history of recording technology, and numerous other monographs and articles in the history of electronics, computing, communication, electric power and other subjects. He is Director of Communications and Technology for the Associated Colleges of the South.
Sound Recording: The Life Story of A Technology (Greenwood Press, 2005 and John Hopkins Univ. Press, 2006)
[with Joseph Gabriel] Electronics: The Life Story of a Technology (Greenwood Press, 2005 and Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2007)
Off the Record: The Technology and Culture of Sound Recording in America (Rutgers University Press, 2000).
A History of Electronic Entertainment Since 1945 (IEEE History Center, 1999)
Power: Electric Power Technology Since 1945 (IEEE History Center, 2000)
“Reviewing the History of Electric Power and Electrification,” Endeavour, 26 (June 2002).
“The History of Technology,” in I. Epstein and E. Nieratka, eds., The Proficient Reader, 3rd ed., (Houghton-Miflin, 2000).
“Armour Research Foundation and the Wire Recorder: How Academic Entrepreneurs Fail,” Technology and Culture 39 (April 1998).
“‘The Rusty Ribbon’: John Herbert Orr and the Making of the Magnetic Recording Industry, 1945-1960,” Business History Review (Winter 1993).
“The Magic of Your Dial: Amos Joel and the Development of Electronic Switching at Bell Laboratories,” in Frederik Nebeker, editor, Sparks of Genius (IEEE Press, 1993).
“The Engineer and the Millwright: Traditional and Modern Technologies at Cochran’s Mill Park, Fulton County, Georgia,” Early Georgia (December 1993).
“The Commercialization of FM Radio in the United States,” in The Encyclopedia of Telecommunications, Vol. 8 (Marcel Dekker, 1993).
Review of Richard E. Caves. Switching Channels: Organization and Change in TV Broadcasting (Harvard University Press, 2005) in Enterprise and Society 7 (Sept. 2006).
Review of Douglas Gomery, The Coming of Sound (Routledge, 2005) in Technology and Culture 47 (July 2006).
Review of Richard Coopey, ed., Information Technology Policy: An International History (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004), in Enterprise and Society 5 (September 2005).
Review of Robert Shonfeld, JSTOR: A History in Business History Review 78 (Winter 2004).
Review of Emily Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity, in The Journal of American History 90 (December 2003).
Review of James Wood, History of International Broadcasting, in Isis 92 (June 2001).
Review of Michael Lieb, Children of Ezekiel, in Technology and Culture 42 (2000).
Review of Joanne Yates, et. al. Information Technology and Organizational Transformation: History, Rhetoric, and Practice, in Technology and Culture, 42 (2000).
“The Context of Engineering: A SUCCEED Course at Georgia Tech” with Bruce Sinclair and W. Russ Callen, Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference, 1995, volume: 2, pp. 3b4.5 -3b4.8.
Edited volumes/journal issues
Editor, Proceedings of the 1999 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, 2000.
Guest editor, IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Special Issue on Women and Technology, Spring 2000.
“The Web and Public History,” presented before the Georgia Association of Historians, Americus, Georgia, April 2003.
“Road Music: American Music Listening and the Automobile, 1930-2001,” presented before the Symposium of the International Committee for the History Of Technology, Mexico City, Mexico, 2001
“The History of the Telephone Answering Machine as a Reflection of Modern Society, 1877-2001,” presented before the Conference on the History of Telecommunications, St. Johns, Newfoundland, 2001.
“Sound Recording in the American Business Office: The Relationships Between Technology, Gender, and Business,” presented before the Symposium of the International Committee for the History Of Technology, Prague, Czech Republic, August 2000.
“Science or Craft? Scientific Knowledge versus Craft Knowledge in the History of Sound Recording in the Music Industry,” presented before the Society for the Social Studies of Science, San Diego, California 1999.
“Imaginary Technologies from the ‘Influencing Machine’ to Alien Spacecraft: Their Importance in History” presented before the Society for the History of Technology, Detroit, Michigan, 1999.
“The 8-Track Tape From High Tech to Low Brow: A Study of a Technology’s Public Image” presented before the Society for the History of Technology, Pasadena California, 1997.
“Computers and Industrial Automation after 1945,” presented before the Computing History Conference, Williamsburg Virginia, 1996.
“The 8-Track Tape and the Culture of Music Listening” presented before the Rutgers Seminar in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, New Brunswick, N.J., 1996.
“Technology Transfer in the Magnetic Recording Industry After World War II,” presented before the Society for the History of Technology, Washington, D.C., 1993.
“Orradio Industries 1945-1960: A Case Study in High Technology Industry in the New South,” presented before the Southern Historical Association, New Orleans, La., 1990.
Other Project, Articles, Talks, Panels, and Public History
Content Producer for the IEEE Virtual Museum, http://www.ieee-virtual-museum.org/, 2001-2006
“Liberty Enlightening the World: The Electrical History of the Statue of Liberty,” Today’s Engineer, Nov. 2002. (also at http://www.todaysengineer.org/Nov02/heritage.htm)
“Benjamin Franklin’s Electric Motor,” Today’s Engineer, Aug-Sept. 2002. (also at http://www.todaysengineer.org/Aug02/heritage.htm)
“Guillaume Duchenne; Pioneer of Electrotherapy and Neuropathology,” Today’s Engineer, September 2002. (also at http://www.todaysengineer.org/Sept02/heritage.htm)
“In His Own Words: John R. Pierce,” Proceedings of the IEEE, August 2002.
“Email,” “Business Machines,” and “Fax Machines,” in The Encyclopedia of American History, Routledge, 2005.
“The Memory of John Logie Baird,” Today’s Engineer, May-June 2002.
“Electronics,” “Film and Cinema: High Fidelity to Surround Sound,” “Radio Circuits,” and “Television Disc Recording,” in The Dictionary of 20th Century Technology forthcoming from Fitzroy-Dearborn publishers.
“The Industrial Revolution in Tattooing,” American Heritage of Invention and Technology Magazine, January 2002.
“This Week in Electrical History,” in The Institute (IEEE publication), a monthly column, all installments from 2001-2002.
“Electric Rock and Roll,” Today’s Engineer, Oct.-Nov. 2001.
“Jack Morton of Bell Labs,” Today’s Engineer, Sept.-Oct. 2001.
“Tattoos: Electrical Engineers Played a Role in Giving Them – And Even Taking Them Away,” Today’s Engineer, July-Aug. 2001.
“Computers in Everything: From the Pushbutton Factory to the Y2K Bug,” Proceedings of the IEEE 87 (December 1999).
“Viewing Television’s History,” Proceedings of the IEEE 87 (July 1999).
“What Difference Did Semiconductors and Microelectronics Make?” Proceedings of the IEEE 87 (June 1999)
“Consumer Electronics: the Last Fifteen Years,” IEEE Circuits and Devices Magazine 15 3 (May 1999): 28-30.
“Radio Broadcasting in the Electrical Century,” Proceedings of the IEEE 87 (May 1999).
“A Snapshot of Telephony at the Turn of the Century,” Proceedings of the IEEE 87 (April 1999).
“Powering the Electrical Century,” Proceedings of the IEEE 87 (March 1999).
“Richard Howland Ranger, 1889-1962,” The Institute February 1999.
“A Salute To Jim Brittain,” Proceedings of the IEEE 87 (January 1999): 205 -205.
“Edwin H. Armstrong and the History of FM Radio: A Contextual Approach,” Proceedings of the Radio Club of America, November 1990.
Talks and Panels
“Doing History on the Web,” presented before the Graduate Program in History, William Paterson University, 2001
“Virtual Museums and the Historian,” presented at Lehigh University, November 2001.
“The Answering Machine as a Reflection of Society, 1900-2000,” talk presented before the IEEE Conference on the History of Telecommunications,” St. Johns, Newfoundland, 2001
Session organizer for “Outside Engineering: Opportunities and Challenges for the Teaching of the Humanities and Social Sciences to Engineering Students,” at the International Symposium on Technology and Society 2001, Stamford, Conn.
“Sound Recording and the Information Age,” talk presented at the National Archives, Washington D.C., October 2000
“100 Years of Magnetic Recording,” a panel and musical concert organized by the National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C., November 1998
“Hazeltine: A Fifty Year Anniversary,” talk presented for the Engineering School of the Stevens Institute of Technology, 1998
“Engineering Education in America,” talk presented for Rutgers University’s Pride In Engineering Day, 1997
Interviews and Media Appearances
I have been cited or quoted in Scientific American, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the New York Post, Forbes (December 1999), Liberation (Paris), Wall Street Journal, ABCnews.com, Rutgers Focus, etc.. In 1999, my research was featured on the series Lost and Found Sound on National Public Radio.
Lead interviewee in S. J. Begun: Tape Recording Pioneer, a documentary film produced by the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, 1998; this footage was later compiled in a feature that was broadcast nationally on the PBS network in March, 1999.
Featured on the television program “The History Detectives” in 2004
Honors and Awards
Winner, Best Publication in the History of Sound Recording, by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, 2001.
Recipient, Third Millennium Medal, by the IEEE, 2000.