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Vol 6 - Issue 4

Technology and Innovation

List of Articles

Introduction: How does the innovation manage the entrepreneur
Sophie Boutillier, Cédric Perrin

This paper is an introduction to this special issue on “Innovators and innovations, which trajectories?” which is the subject of this issue of Technology and Innovation. It recalls the challenges, then it presents its main contributions around some cross-cutting ideas. The papers of this special issue, which are concentrated on the 19 and 20th century, are put into historic perspective, then each of them is briefly introduced. A second volume on this subject will be published to complete the present one.

The Guénon System: A Technological Innovation for the Improvement of Dairy Cow Selection (1830s-1900s)
Fabien Knittel

This paper principally aims to examine the original career path of François Guénon, a cattle merchant from Bordeaux. In the late 1830s, he set up a pioneering system the purpose of which was to improve the selection of the most effective dairy cows. The system was dealt with in the article Traité des vaches laitières, first published in 1838. The empirical process which aimed to pick the best dairy cows was successfully implemented. However, from the 1860s onwards, this initial success was debated among agronomists like Eugène Tisserant (1818-1888), a then Professor of hygiene at the veterinary school of Lyon, who dismissed his work as scientifically groundless. Nevertheless, these critical comments neither weakened the efficiency and the use of the Guénon system nor prevented its teaching within certain farming schools at the beginning of the 20th century.

Francis Blache and the manufacture of coal by-products: between intelligence technology and experimentation
Luc Rojas

Like other collieries, Montrambert experienced difficulties with the economic markets at the end of the 19th century. To fight against these difficulties, the colliery wanted to exploit coal waste. The company entrusted this mission to Francis Blache. The engineer became factory manager: he chose to combine science and industry. His choices enabled the company to obtain new markets, notably that of gas.

From flexible roll-film to photography in natural color: the evolution of innovation management at Eastman Kodak
Nicolas Le Guern

This article shows that the management of innovation at Eastman Kodak changed profoundly between 1880 and 1912. Its founder George Eastman evolved from the status of entrepreneur-inventor, contributing directly to the innovation of the firm, to that of coordinator of a new structure from 1912. This article first stresses the risk taken by Eastman at the end of the 1880s, counting only on his photochemist to develop in 1890 a new flexible photosensitive roll-film. Then the article points out Eastman’s awareness to fundamentally change the innovation model at Kodak, by creating in 1912 a new structure of technical and scientific knowledge, the research laboratory. Kenneth Mees, a British scientist experimented with the photographic market, directed the laboratory and implemented his theories on the organization of research. The article concludes by underlining the benefits of the new innovation model for Kodak in color process research, noting its evolution towards the recent concept of open innovation.

Italian entrepreneurship in the first half of the 20th century. Leopoldo Parodi Delfino: an eclectic entrepreneur
Nardone Paola, Ridolfi Natascia, Di Nucci Ada

In the first half of the 20th century the Italian industry was reinforced and took the features of the high enterprise. Among the protagonists of this period was the engineer Leopoldo Parodi Delfino , a very eclectic figure who started his own activity in the liqueur and wine sectors, creating in 1902 the “Società Fabbrica Nazionale Alcool Leopoldo Parodi Delfino”; some years later he built the “Distilleria Nazionale” with which he succeeded in buying the companies “Distillerie Italiane” and the “Stabilimenti vinicoli Florio”. In 1912 he moved over to explosives production, creating together with the entrepreneur Giovanni Bombrini the “Società in nome collettivo Bombrini Parodi Delfino”. In 1918 he participated in the constitution of the “Società Mediterranea di Elettricità”. His management abilities and his financial position permitted him to also make some huge investments in foreign countries. In 1918 he effectively took over the “Société des Mines de Selenitza” in Albania, and in 1921 he built the “Compagnia italiana dell’Equatore” in Ecuador. In 1939 he was appointed Senator of the Kingdom of Italy.

Samuel Colt, an American legend
Daniel Casanova

et appliquer un paternalisme social pour se fidéliser ses ouvriers. ABSTRACT. Samuel Colt was an extraordinary character. Adventurer, passionate about mechanics and chemistry, he would show himself to be a true entrepreneur of industry. Both a good talker and a seducer, throughout his life, he would develop his invention: the revolver, and for that he would become a real businessman. He secured legal protection for his patents, took advantage of the historical context (conquest of the West, war with Mexico and also the Civil War), increased the productivity of his factory and showed foresight in advertising and promotional marketing. Samuel Colt knew how to use his interpersonal skills to offer luxury weapons to key men in different states. He knew how to rationalize his factory, designed according to his plans, applying a kind of segmentation of work before this had really been conceived and also applied a social paternalism to gain the loyalty of his workers.

Building the success of a house of haute coiffure: the case of the Croisats, patented hairdressers (1820-1860)
Lucie Roudergues

Passionate hairdressers, founders of an academy and a newspaper, patented inventors, the men and women of the Croisat family innovated in many ways and made their mark on the world of Parisian hairdressing from the 1820s to the 1860s. The purpose of this article is to better understand, through the study of this micro-dynasty’s trajectory, the elements that structured the Parisian haute coiffure market in the middle of the 19th century. Hair implantation devices or dyeing brushes, the products patented by the Croisats were intimately integrated with the process of designing hairstyles on the one hand and their commercial strategy on the other hand. Their intense pedagogical activity, both in the newspapers and their academy, responded in an original way to the contradictions between the artist’s need for visibility and the defense of the patentee’s requirement for secrecy. Through the dissemination of models and crafts, the entrepreneur-innovator thus participates in the construction of a market for the products they imagine.