Getting a Handle on It: Thomas Lamb, Mass Production, and Touch in Design History

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter proceeds from the premise that the hands which operated the machinery of capitalism were not merely a unit by which the power needed to perform the labor required was calculated but, rather, they were sentient and individuated, and are themselves worthy of the focal attention of the historian. I reflect on the construction of knowledge about the senses from the perspective of a design historian using tactile research methods to understand the design process. I examine a case study of design production with reference to the work of Thomas Lamb, the ‘Handle Man’, as it is evidenced in the Thomas Lamb collection at Hagley Museum and Library.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCapitalism and the Senses
EditorsRegina Blaszczyk, David Suisman
Place of PublicationPhiladelphia
PublisherPenn State University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781512824216
ISBN (Print)9781512824209
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

Publication series

NameHagley Perspectives on Business and Culture
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press


  • Design History
  • HAND
  • Senses
  • Touch
  • Embodied Research
  • Archival Research
  • archives
  • Archive
  • Industrial Design
  • Product design


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