Bell Telephone warehouse. Not shown: Bell Labs, graveyard of ideas.
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Although this page is flawed in many respects — the chronology and origins of the technologies it discusses are wrong, and the surmises as to the reasons for their belated appearance on the market are speculative and unproven — it still represents an intriguing history of a little-known aspect of American business history. Telling us of the enormous potential for innovation at the venerable Bell Labs and contrasting it with the uninspiring record of actual development and marketing that the labs really compiled, it raises murky but fascinating questions as to how technology reaches — or doesn’t reach — the public, and why conservative or paranoid thinking on the part of a few executives sometimes delays or even stops its development.