Doctoral Student Receives 2015 Melvin Kranzberg Dissertation Fellowship

MCC doctoral student Matthew Hockenberry is the recipient of the 2015 Melvin Kranzberg Dissertation Fellowship, administered by the Society for the History of Technology. The fellowship, awarded annually to one graduate student, is given in memory of the Society's co-founder Melvin Kranzberg.

Hockenberry's thesis project A Media History of Logistics, 1865-1969 examines media and technological developments in the context of innovations in production, supply chains, and the global circulation of commodities.

He writes,

By the time a telephone was ready for assembly at Hawthorne or Kearney it had been prepared as a dozen subassemblies, built by dozens of companies and plants, from raw materials brought by hundreds of suppliers, and passed through the hands of thousands of workers, engineers, hands, and eyes. By the 1920s Western Electric was a logistics company….I suggest that by the 1960s, the foundations of these telecommunicative logistics had become so deeply ingrained within the mechanisms and mentalities of coordination and communication that the pathways of their operation and the media of their production had become practically indistinguishable. By exploring the history of decentralized production and its particular emergence in the electrical and telecommunications industry, I examine how the forms of logistic communication had become such an un-revolutionary part of telecommunication.

Support from the Kranzberg Fellowship will allow Hockenberry to produce working sources of early logistics software, most of which were developed for IBM System/360 and System/3 mainframes. These include systems like IMPACT (an inventory control system), BOM (a bill of material system), and CLASS (a capacity loading and sequence system).