A new piece in a special Focus section dedicated to “Supplied Knowledge: Resouce Regimes, Materials, and Epistemic Tools” in the June 2023 issue of Isis will interest AHP readers: “Sounding Acoustic Precision: Tuning Forks and Cast Steel’s Nineteenth-Century Euro-American Networks,” Fanny Gribenski and David Pantalony. Abstract:
A great variety of tuning forks survive in collections around the world, from departments of physics, phonetics, and psychology to medical settings, conservatories, and museum collections. Their ubiquity speaks to their iconic status, while their diversity points to the multifaceted cultures of materiality that shaped and formed around these objects. This essay traces the complex supply chains of nineteenth-century tuning forks, from the gathering and processing of iron ore and crucible steel, to their sites of manufacture, to their various uses. By probing further into these nodes of supply and use, the essay uncovers a chain of values and contingencies that reveal the interdependencies between extracting, commercial, scientific, and artistic practices of the past.