Abstract

abstract:

This article encourages historians of technology to elevate the history of capitalism from a subsidiary theme to a research agenda. It studies the United States's early telegraphs to exemplify the inseparability of technology and capitalism. Entrepreneurs were able to innovate technologically (build telegraph systems) thanks to innovating financially. After trying and failing to sell large amounts of stock to a few investors in big cities for funding construction, entrepreneurs succeeded by selling small amounts of stock to many investors spread across the country. Financial innovators turned technology users into investors. Conversely, entrepreneurs were able to innovate financially because of their technological innovation. They built telegraphs to sell stock. Corporate charters made a company's capital a multiple of its line mileage, so the only way to increase capital was to build lines.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1097-3729
Print ISSN
0040-165X
Pages
pp. 31-60
Launched on MUSE
2022-01-06
Open Access
No
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