Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution : the case of the Cornish pumping engine

A. Nuvolari

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic

172 Citations (Scopus)
274 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this paper we argue that what Robert Allen has termed as collective invention settings (that is settings in which competing firms share technological knowledge) were a crucial source of innovation during the early phases of industrialization. Until now this has been very little considered in the literature, which has focussed on the patent system as the main institutional arrangement driving the rate of innovation. The paper presents one of these collective invention settings, the Cornish mining district, in detail. We study the specific economic and technical circumstances that led to the emergence of this collective invention setting and we analyse its consequences on the rate of technological innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEindhoven
PublisherTechnische Universiteit Eindhoven
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Publication series

NameECIS working paper series
Volume200402

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