慶應SFC 2008年 環境情報学部 英語 大問1 全文(正答済み)

 The Thomas A. Edison National Historic Site in West Orange attracts thousands of people who would normally avoid the harsh, deindustrialized landscape of northern New Jersey. Situated about forty five minutes from New York City, the site of Edison laboratory and museum is one of the most popular national parks on the East Coast. The Park Service estimated that over 50,000 people visited the site in 1987, its 100″ anniversary. These visitors came from all parts of the nation and a large portion came from abroad. It is  hardly surprising that Edison’s laboratory is most popular with Japanese tourists, who share his work ethic and commitment to innovation.

 The creators of today’s microelectronics “revolution” find relevance in the “Second Industrial Revolution,” which began in the 1880s and  lasted until the Great War of 1914-18. This period of rapid economic growth came after the first wave of industrialization had begun to transform the economy and society of the United States. Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb marked the beginning of the second burst of innovation, one that created several major new industries. This second wave of industrialization does not have the same powerful images as the first; the steam engine and textile mill are universally recognized as the symbols for the first great movement, which began in Great Britain and  spread to the United States in the early nineteenth century. The new industries of the 1870s and 1880s do not have the same familiar symbols. Edison’s Pearl Street station in downtown Manhattan – the first architectural relic of the electrical industry is no longer standing. But Edison’s laboratory in West Orange is both a  accessible and appropriate symbol of this movement.

 The complex of buildings in West Orange was erected in the late 1880s, when the Second Industrial Revolution was just beginning. As the greatest industrial research facility in the United States, the laboratory was the breeding ground for a new generation of technology and the starting point of some important new industries of the twentieth century. Here Edison worked at spreading his electrical lighting systems throughout the industrialized West and  dispersing the price of electricity until it was available to everyone. The motion picture camera was invented at the laboratory, along with a host of other important products, such as the Edison storage battery and the dictating machine. Edison perfected the phonograph at this facility and manufactured thousands of them at his nearby factories. Two of the twentieth century’s most influential media industries -motion pictures and musical entertainment – had their humble beginnings in this cluster of brick buildings.

 The experimental rooms and machine shops in the lab are a reminder of the complex technologies introduced by Edison. The impressive library is evidence of the growing importance of science in the technologies of the Second Industrial Revolution – a revolution that was based on the so called scientific industries of electricity, steel, chemicals, and communications. The rows of technical journals (many of them from outside the United States), scholarly books, and bound patents show that the information age had begun well before the twentieth century, and that Edison  saw the importance of keeping up with scientific and technical progress wherever it occurred.

 When Edison reached the age of forty in February 1887, he had achieved more than many men do in their  Lifetimes. The development of commercial electric lighting had brought him worldwide fame and a considerable fortune. The famous invention of his incandescent lamp had taken place in 1879 at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, the “invention factory” where groups of  experimenters had developed a stream of new products that included electric lighting. In the years that  followed the invention of the electric lamp, Edison and his men built the first complete supply system based on a central power station. New York’s Pearl Street station was completed in 1882. It distributed electricity to a few blocks of the business district in lower Manhattan. This was not the first electric light in New York City.  although Charles Brush and Edward Weston had already installed arc lights in public places, but it was the prototype of the commercial distribution of electricity. The plain, shop­front facade of the Pearl Street station did not do justice to this historic installation, which proved that large-scale electricity supply was technologically feasible. It was a triumph for Edison and the small beginning of a great new industry.  The structures of the station soon appeared on both sides of the Atlantic, as affluent city dwellers clamored for the new light and entrepreneurs rushed to form local Edison lighting companies. To his contemporaries, Edison, now known as the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” stood astride a mighty business empire.

 Innovation is a term that Edison did not use. He described himself as an inventor and the work he did in the laboratory as invention. Yet to label Edison a mere inventor does not do justice to his genius, nor does it  account for the enormous impact he had. Inventing was the idea stage, the first step in a long process. Its formal ending came when a patent was filed. Edison considered getting ideas for an invention the easy part; the hard part was “the long laborious trouble of working them out and producing apparatus which is commercial.” Innovation defines Edison’s work,  leaving it from the laboratory into the commercial world. Innovation covers the setting up of a commercial enterprise based on an idea. Edison’s record number of U. patents  might as well obscure his even greater achievement of founding several industries.

 In Edison’s view a patent was hardly worth the trouble of inventing something. He knew from experience that selling patents to businessmen often left the inventor shortchanged. More often than not the returns from a new idea went to the financier or manufacturer, while the inventor struggled to protect his patent in the courts and  obtain his share of the profits. A patent alone was not enough, nor was an invention. The original idea had to be developed into something more tangible than a patent; it had to be transformed, or “perfected,” into a working model or a prototype – something a businessman could see and touch rather than  imagine. This was essential to obtaining financial support. In Edison’s words, “the money people” had to see money in an invention before they would invest in it. Perfecting an invention included finding and remedying the bugs – the defects and design problems – that inevitably  cropped up in the development of an idea into a working model or process. This stage of innovation ended when the invention was translated into a factory ready prototype. The idea was now embodied in a technology, an amalgamation of ideas, knowledge, and hardware all directed  toward a practical goal. Its value was much greater than a patent. The final step was “pioneering” a technology by putting it into production and proving its commercial feasibility. This meant financing and administrating a manufacturing operation until it could be sold to entrepreneurs.

 Innovation covers what Edison called inventing, perfecting, and pioneering a new technology. The business of innovation encompasses decision making, from establishing the technical goals of a research program to devising a marketing strategy for a new product. It also covers the management of the research and development effort and the financing of the whole operation. Inventors in the nineteenth century had often  emphasized the business of innovation, preferring to remain in the technical domain. This was fine for the individual who did not mind a life of poverty and obscurity, but for the operator of an invention factory, the management of resources was of primary importance.




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