Article ID: CBB001552562

“Something about X-Rays for Everyone”: Emerging Technologies and Open Communities (2015)


This paper argues that the contemporary category of `emerging technology' has probative value for historians of technology, because the vulnerable transitional phase the term is understood to refer to is also when actors outside of the traditional dyad of users and innovators can be most influential. In the case of X-ray generating apparatuses at the turn of the twentieth century, their success cannot be accounted for by the relatively small coterie of physicians who were both wealthy and technically sophisticated enough to purchase one, nor from any overwhelming medical utility. Rather, a diverse and diffuse community ranging from electrical hobbyists to photographers not only influenced the form and function of the artifact, making it more accessible to physicians, but also brought public attention to the technology, rendering it more commercially viable.

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Authors & Contributors
Jenkin, John G.
Dünkel, Vera
Dijck, José van
Golan, Tal
Peña, Carolyn Thomas de la
Dommann, Monika
Technology and Culture
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy
Physics in Perspective
Social Studies of Science
Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, Fachgruppe Geschichte der Chemie
Oxford University Press
Verlag für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik
University of Minnesota Press
University of Houston
Marcial Pons Historia
Nobel Prizes
Atomic, nuclear, and particle physics
Bragg, William Henry
Bragg, William Lawrence
Mann, Thomas
Compton, Arthur Holly
Jauncey, George Eric Macdonnell
Röntgen, Wilhelm Conrad
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
United States
California (U.S.)
New York (U.S.)
Deutsche Museum
General Electric

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