Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Understanding Industrial and Corporate Change$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Giovanni Dosi, David J. Teece, and Josef Chytry

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269426.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 17 June 2019

Heroes, Herds and Hysteresis in Technological History: Thomas Edison and ‘The Battle of the Systems’ Reconsidered

Heroes, Herds and Hysteresis in Technological History: Thomas Edison and ‘The Battle of the Systems’ Reconsidered

Chapter:
(p.309) Heroes, Herds and Hysteresis in Technological History: Thomas Edison and ‘The Battle of the Systems’ Reconsidered
Source:
Understanding Industrial and Corporate Change
Author(s):

Paul A. David (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269426.003.0011

This chapter looks at the development of electric lighting and power supply networks in terms of the battles waged around 1887-1892 between proponents of direct and alternative current systems of electrical supply in order to raise questions about technical progress as a continuous flow. Utilizing the physics concept of hysteresis as the persistence of an altered state when the force that caused alteration ceases, the chapter concentrates on the critical moments or ‘points of bifurcation’ in the dynamic of technical change that are prone to appear at the early stages of an incremental process. The chapter concludes from its reading of the ultimate victory of alternative over direct currents of electrical supply that innovation implies not so much the work of unique creative attitudes in the manner of the classic Schumpeterian entrepreneur, as it does the occupation of a pivotal situation during comparatively brief moments of industrial development when the balance between choices can go either way.

Keywords:   technological change, electric supply, hysteresis, points of bifurcation, industrial innovation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .