Thursday, March 06, 2008

What held the telephone back...

"In the rise of any new medium, a key factor is its relationship to the dominant technology of the day. Starr. The Creation of the Media, pg. 193
It is easy to say that the telephone was the successor to the telegraph. But after it was invented, the powers at be, held back its introduction in order to safe guard their finances. Starr describes how "organization with a large stake in an existing technology are likely to try and preserve their financial investment." Meaning that telegraph companies were reluctant to transfer to a newer technology after they had invested so much money into a soon to be obsolete technology.
This is an example of a "mechanism of entrenchment", an established institution that hinders the growth of a new technology. Companies such as Western Union were threatened by the new means of communication and chose not to develop it. Eventually the Bell telephone company picked up the invention and began to develop it. The telegraph's legacy almost stopped the introduction of the telephone.



At 6:18 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good post.

Yes, the entrenched dominant technology is resistant to any new innovations, too much money has been invested. The telegraph companies (Western Union) may have slowed the introduction of the telephone but would not have been able to stop the rise of the phone.


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