Book: History of engineering contracting

Arjan van Rooij and Ernst Homburg, Building the plant: A history of engineering contracting in the Netherlands. Eindhoven/ Zutphen: Stichting Historie der Techniek/ Walburg Pers, 2002

« This book is on the history of companies involved in the design and construction of (petro)chemical plants, oil refineries, power plants, and of all sorts of installations for the process industries and the oil and gas off-shore industries. These companies are called engineering contractors. Names such as Foster-Wheeler, Linde, Lummus, Fluor Daniel, Uhde, Stone & Webster, Comprimo, Bechtel, Technip, Simon Carves, and Badger, to name just a few, are well-known to anyone working in the process industries. Together these companies, and their sub-contractors, employ hundreds of thousands of employees, and their turnover amounts to several billions of dollars. Nevertheless, most of the companies named are completely unknown to the public at large. The sector has definitely a ‘low profile’, and this is underlined by the fact that also among business historians and historians of technology hardly anyone has a clear understanding of the crucial role these engineering contractors play in the development and diffusion of technology. The present book, which focuses especially on the engineering contractors based in the Netherlands, is probably the first historical study devoted to this important branch of industry. There exists a limited number of books on the history of individual companies, but the history of the branch as a whole has not been studied before. »

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