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Chapter 6 - twelve case studies of technological failure

Guided by the 3 x 4 matrix presented in Figure 5.1, we have selected from the literature 12 case studies of technological failure, one case study for each cell in the matrix, as is indicated in Figure 6.1. Each case study was carefully selected among many potential candidates as an exemplar that would illustrate the two underlying dimensions of the matrix: causes of failure and type of industrial revolution. We, of course, do not claim that these case studies are representative of all cases of technological failure; since, to the best of our knowledge, there exists no single source that provides an exhaustive compilation of technological failures. If space were not a substantial constraint, we would have preferred to select at least two case studies for each of the twelve cells in the matrix in order to assure readers that our classification of the cases is not idiosyncratic. Each case study is prefaced with a summary descriptive note.

Keywords: technological failure, case studies, industrial revolutions

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