[Tig] A look back at how digital photography started...

Joey D'Anna joeydanna at gmail.com
Sat Jun 27 00:33:22 BST 2015

Oh I agree - Edison did amazing things as well. Far more than what most
people realize.
In many ways - Bell was heavily influenced by his processes. Much of what
you mention he started is exactly how Bell labs was structured.

One more interesting thing about Bell was that because of their unique
arrangement with the US government (AT&T was a government sponsored
monopoly)  - Everything they invented had to be freely licensable at low

It was a bit of a win-win. Since the agreement basically made it impossible
for AT&T to have competitors, they never had to worry about their inventions
being used to compete against them.
But other companies could legally use Bell's IP, essentially leveraging
ATT's absolutely gargantuan R&D budget for their own products.
Now weather or not the public good of Bell's contributions to science
outweighed the downside of their monopoly - is a topic that has been debated
for decades.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tig [mailto:tig-bounces at colorist.org] On Behalf Of Richard Kirk via
Sent: Friday, June 26, 2015 6:16 PM
To: tig at colorist.org
Subject: Re: [Tig] A look back at how digital photography started...

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> "Joey D'Anna" <joeydanna at gmail.com> sez...
> Bell labs had an amazing history. They are probably the single most
important research organization ever formed.

Yes to the first part, but I must give first place it to Edison @ Menlo
- he started the first thing that can be recognized as a modern science park
- he lured good scientists to work there with good apparatus
- he used patents and the press in a way that was unknown at the time.
- he had an integrated invention, and productisation process
- he lead from the front throughout.

When I was young in the UK, children's books told the story of how Edison
invented the light bulb. You know the tale: 1% inspiration and 99%
perspiration, and stuff. But the bulbs were made by the Edison-Swan company.
He was an inventive man, but he also was not afraid to use his name to push
the work of other inventors, and Mister Swan made the carbon filament light
bulb. In his age this was not as bad as it appears now: Emil Zola of a
similar age is supposed to have written hundreds of novels, but he is known
to have bought novels from unknown people, added his name and a bit of his
style. Edison made an inventions factory where people invented stuff, but
there was a continuous process that filed patents, published results, made
products, and fed back new ideas to the ideas factory. Edison himself slept
on the bench when stuff was happening, and they had a barrel of beer and a
pipe organ at the end of the lab for Friday evenings. He might not be the
sort of guy I would want to shake by the hand, but he did bring the science
park fully formed out of nothing.

Bell Labs is a fine place too, though.

Richard Kirk
FilmLight Ltd, Artists House, 14-15 Manette Street, London W1D 4AP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7292 0400  Fax: +44 (0)20 7292 0401

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