Technological Change is ... Uncertain

"Many are called, but few are chosen."
The Bible, Matthew 20:1

A few examples of more than 1,000 patented "smoke-spark arrestors" aimed at reducing fire hazards from wood burning steam locomotives in 19th century USA (Source: G. Basalla, The Evolution of Technology, CUP, 1988).

None of them was successful. The problem eventually was solved not by an incremental technological "add on" but by a radical systems change: the replacement of wood- burning steam with diesel and electric locomotives.

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Last edited: 22 July 2013

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