Chapter 2. The Long Trip to the Information Age: From the Gilded Age to the Dawn of the Computer Age, 1875–1950


Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent.


In the early decades of the 20th century, we could see the grand old man of invention—Thomas Edison—in old newsreels with his white hair, his long black suits and black bowties, speaking to us from deep in the 19th century. Most Americans know him as a prodigious inventor of more than a thousand items, the most famous of which included the phonograph, the light bulb and the electrical utility company needed to provide businesses and homes with electricity, and motion pictures. Edison, however, can also be seen as an early player in the world of information. Born in ...

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