I’m reading a great book about lightbulbs. I’d never stopped before to really thing about them. At best, they were something i lamented when they failed and grumbled at when i ran out of. I’d never considered them as a powerful social force or catalyst for innovation. All of which shows how perspective is a great leveller.
Lightbulbs stole away the night: they enabled factories to operate for longer, faster, more accurately. They created a new class of engineers and trades dedicated to maintaining the vast electrical grids required to power them and they acted to deter crime, encourage literacy and expand our urban hubs.
Famously, it took Edison (and many competitors and compatriots) a long time to perfect the lightbulb. It’s often used as an example of why you have to fail to succeed.
Factories centralise resources, sitting as they do at the nodes in networks: they bring…
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