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Engineering InventionFrank J. Sprague and the U.S. Electrical Industry$
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Frederick Dalzell

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262042567

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262042567.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 24 June 2022

Introduction: Technology and Innovation at the Turn of a Century

Introduction: Technology and Innovation at the Turn of a Century

(p.1) Introduction: Technology and Innovation at the Turn of a Century
Engineering Invention

Frederick Dalzell

The MIT Press

This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is about the career of American inventor Frank J. Sprague. The book tells a story of innovation at a time when innovation became the basis of enterprise. It tells a story of invention in an era when personal convictions of the potential for heroic invention helped to drive significant technological transformation. The book traces how Sprague introduced several radical inventions including electric streetcars, elevators, and the controllers needed to operate electric trains, and explores the challenges that he faced in converting his ideas into products. It also explores how urbanization, the rise of big business, and the dynamics of capital markets constrained Sprague's actions and ultimately tamed his unruly creations.

Keywords:   Frank J. Sprague, American inventor, innovation, heroic invention, technological transformation, electric streetcars, elevators, electric trains, big business, capital markets

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