Julia Hinze M.A.
work +49 6151 16-28576
- Urban History
- History of Communication and Communication Infrastructures
- 18th and 19th Century History, esp. Saddle Period (1750-1850)
- Warning Signals, Urban Protection Concepts
- Sound Studies, Media History and Material Culture
Information and communication infrastructures for fire detection in cities of the late 18th and 19th centuries (working title)
How did people warn of fires in 18th and 19th century cities? Although information and communication systems (ICT) are often associated with the 20th century, sophisticated ICT infrastructures for fire detection already existed at the end of the 18th century. With the help of bells, trumpets and other acoustic signals, watchmen high on church and watchtowers, as well as night watchmen and other municipal servants, warned of conflagrations and kept fire watch. Guardrooms and church towers were connected by sight lines and the urban road network, so this ICT was also network-bound. The focus of the work is on the construction, but also the transformation of this socio-technical system, also from the point of view of the human-technology relationship and technical innovations. The invention of telegraphy, the control of work processes through technical aids (such as watch clocks) and electrification play a significant role in this. The work also deals with the persistence and transience of technology and the superimposition of technology in so-called time layers. This is followed by the question of whether the interdependence with other infrastructures has also increased with the increasing electrification and the integration of telegraphy.
Closely connected to this sedimentation of technology in infrastructural systems is the overlapping of associated practices and generally human action within ICT, infrastructural action. Thus, the work also aims to contribute to the question of how people act as part of the infrastructure, how this infrastructural action is controlled and standardised and acts as a vulnerability factor with and alongside the technology on the system. This analysis is based on an intensive study of sources in the archives of the Hanseatic city of Hamburg and the former residential cities of Munich and Vienna. Among other things, sources such as instructions, operating manuals, administrative documents, magistrate's minutes or council resolutions are examined. In addition, printed sources such as newspaper articles (fire brigade newspaper, local press), fire regulations or historiographic sources are consulted.