The Making of American Industrial Research: Science and Business at GE and Bell, 1876-1926 / Edition 1

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This book tells the story of how and why industrial research was established in America by two large and innovative corporations: General Electric, formed in a merger of Edison General Electric and Thomson-Houston in 1892, and the dominant force in the American electrical industry ever since; and American Telephone and Telegraph, the commercial outgrowth of Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone. Important lessons can be drawn from the early efforts of these two corporations. Through industrial research - and particularly through the development of patented products and processes - large companies could begin to exert a new degree of market control by strongly influencing the rate and direction of technological change. The development of industrial research also had a profound impact on science and technology in America. It affected the content and methods of both by providing new opportunities, incentives, and constraints to the growing community of students and engineers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This is likely to be for many years the definitive work on the origins of industrial research in the United States. Reich forcefully demonstrates what can be done when entrepreneurial history is successfully integrated with the history of science and technology. His research has been exhaustive and the analysis is outstanding.' Hugh G. J. Aitken, Amherst College

'Leonard Reich's book is absolutely first-rate. Its publication marks an important new beginning in the long-neglected history of industrial research. Based upon extensive research in the archives of the Bell and G. E. labs, Professor Reich shows that industrial research laboratories are integral, indeed vital, components in corporate strategy. His book therefore is a connecting link between business and managerial history and the history of technology. It is a characteristic of original scholarship that it does more than add new facts and answer old questions; rather it raises a new set of highly relevant and interesting questions which then serve as guides to later scholars. This is precisely what Professor Reich has done.' Edwin Layton, University of Minnesota

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Editors' preface; Preface; 1. Introduction: the importance of industrial research; 2. Building the foundations of industrial research: American science, technology, and industry in the 19th century; 3. The establishment and early growth of General Electric; 4. Origins and early history of the General Electric Research Laboratory; 5. General Electric: the research process; 6. The establishment and early growth of Bell Telephone; 7. AT&T: the establishment of industrial research; 8. AT&T: the research process; 9. Research, patents, and the struggle to control radio; 10. Conclusion: the impact of industrial research; Notes; Index.

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