Open Technology and the Early      Airplane Industry              by Peter B. Meyer,        U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic...
Pre-history of the airplane1860s Clubs and journals incorporate fixed-wing designs  It’s a niche activity – maybe hopeless...
Databases of pre-history of airplane  Publications – 13,600 from Brockett’s 1910 Bibliography of Aeronautics  Citations by...
Relevant clubs and societiesBallooning is central – aeronautics joins that infrastructureFrom 1860s societies in Paris, Lo...
Exploring “aerial navigation”Flapping wings                    Hargrave 1891     Frost 1902Fixed wings,Soaring            ...
Exploring aerial navigation (2)    Tail                                         Penaud 1872                      Cayley 17...
Exploring aerial navigation (3)Curved(“cambered”)                    Phillips 1884, 1891wings                             ...
Getting in the air: Otto LilienthalOtto Lilienthal studied wing shapes in experiments on liftPublished book: Birdflight as...
Octave ChanuteRetiring engineer focuses on “aerial navigation” issue.His 1894 book Progress in Flying Machines surveyed ex...
Motivations of experimentersWhy do this?  Would like to fly  Curiosity, interest in the problem  Prestige, recognition  Be...
Data on publications Bibliography of Aeronautics by Brockett / Smithsonian Institution (1910) Much cleanup necessary Data:...
Source: Brockett bibliography (1910)Dip at end is because only first half of 1909 is included; another volume goes further
from Mouillard’s L’empire de l’air, 1881   The next five from L’Aerophile, 1893-1905
Open source practice: imitation                                          Chanute-Herring           Wright brothers 1900 ki...
Imitation (2)      Ferber, 1902, copies Wright design        based on report from Chanute                                 ...
Parallels to open source softwareAutonomous innovators (not hierarchy, not cult)  with various goals: Want to fly! ; Hope ...
Open source technology practices (2) Phrased for both open source software developers and airplane experimenters   And rat...
Modeling open source innovationLike user innovation (von Hippel) & collective invention (R Allen)   But no central organiz...
Transition to industryWilbur and Orville Wright ran bicycle shopThey were “open sourcers” in aviation field 1900-1902They ...
Transition and paradigm shift  Octave Chanute:                          Wright brothers An open-technology                ...
Startup industry and patentsIn 1907-1909  Publications increase  Patents do too  Big public exhibitions, 1908-1909    100,...
Startup industry                          1908: Flow of new firms starts                          Sample of early investor...
ConclusionsLeading experimenters followed open source practices    They publish, and moderate/edit publications    share i...
How can we make use of this story?(1) Watch new fields, knowing           (2) Apply open-source practices in   what "prehi...
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Airplane meyer vinnova2012

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Airplane meyer vinnova2012

  1. 1. Open Technology and the Early Airplane Industry by Peter B. Meyer, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Findings and views are those of the author, not the BLS) Oct 9, 2012 At Vinnova, Stockholm 1
  2. 2. Pre-history of the airplane1860s Clubs and journals incorporate fixed-wing designs It’s a niche activity – maybe hopeless, useless, dangerous1890s Public glider flights (especially Lilienthal) Survey books (esp. Chanute)1903-6 Powered glider flights (esp. Wright brothers)1908-10 Big exhibitions; new industryMy conclusion: “Open source innovation” Networking Sharing designs, Copying Intellectual property idea ignored these practices led to technological success & new industry 2
  3. 3. Databases of pre-history of airplane Publications – 13,600 from Brockett’s 1910 Bibliography of Aeronautics Citations by Chanute’s 1894 Progress in Flying Machines (190) and by Historical accounts (indexes of books) Clubs and societies to 1910 (hundreds) Letters between experimenters (>400) Patents (>1500) Firms (>600) Individuals – from the above, thousandsThere are many written sources for this innovation history Because it was slow and done by dispersed literate people
  4. 4. Relevant clubs and societiesBallooning is central – aeronautics joins that infrastructureFrom 1860s societies in Paris, London, Berlin include “aerial navigation”Exhibitions & conferences: 1868, 1885, 1893, 1904, many after 1907 • 78 exhibitors in 1868 Crystal Palace, organized by Aero Society of GB Aeronautics-related clubs and societies
  5. 5. Exploring “aerial navigation”Flapping wings Hargrave 1891 Frost 1902Fixed wings,Soaring Cayley 1799-1801 Le Bris 1868Kites & gliders Mouillard 1881 Maxim’s motorized aeroplane 1894
  6. 6. Exploring aerial navigation (2) Tail Penaud 1872 Cayley 1799-1801Stacked wings Stringfellow 1868 Hargrave 1893 Phillips 1904 Langley 1901
  7. 7. Exploring aerial navigation (3)Curved(“cambered”) Phillips 1884, 1891wings Lilienthal, 1889 Wind tunnels Wright wing models, 1902Balloonsand . . . And more technologies:dirigibles engines, helicopters, Santos-Dumont, rockets, parachutes, propellers, . . . 1901 Diverse creative exploratory “production” took effort
  8. 8. Getting in the air: Otto LilienthalOtto Lilienthal studied wing shapes in experiments on liftPublished book: Birdflight as the basis for aviation1890s: Flew inspirational hang gliders in public (no secrets)– tried to control in airWhy? “. . . to soar upward and to glide, free as the bird” -- Otto Lilienthal, 1889 8
  9. 9. Octave ChanuteRetiring engineer focuses on “aerial navigation” issue.His 1894 book Progress in Flying Machines surveyed experiments,devices, theoriesCommunicated with many experimenters, held conferences, visitedexperimenters a lotChanute wrote Langley, 1895: “I propose to let you avail of whatever novelty andvalue there may be in my own models or ideas. I should expect in return a like frankaccess to your results . . .” (Short, p208) Letters and telegrams between Octave Chanute and the Wright brothers 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 Wrights to Chanute 7 28 29 22 24 24 33 16 7 3 4 9 Chanute to Wrights 5 30 34 25 29 37 37 19 9 4 2
  10. 10. Motivations of experimentersWhy do this? Would like to fly Curiosity, interest in the problem Prestige, recognition Belief in making world a better place Make one nation safer Nobody refers to expected profits “. . . A desire takes possession of man. He longs to soar upward and to glide, free as the bird . . .” -- Otto Lilienthal 1889 “The glory of a great discovery or an invention which is destined to benefit humanity [seemed] dazzling. . . . Enthusiasm seized [us] at an early age.” - Gustav Lilienthal 10
  11. 11. Data on publications Bibliography of Aeronautics by Brockett / Smithsonian Institution (1910) Much cleanup necessary Data: title, author, language, year, journal, some key subject words – not standardized Ballooning, scientific measurement, clubs/societies
  12. 12. Source: Brockett bibliography (1910)Dip at end is because only first half of 1909 is included; another volume goes further
  13. 13. from Mouillard’s L’empire de l’air, 1881 The next five from L’Aerophile, 1893-1905
  14. 14. Open source practice: imitation Chanute-Herring Wright brothers 1900 kite, glider, 1896 1901-2 glider Pratt trussWilbur Wright’s first letter to Chanute in 1900 says “the apparatus I intend to employ . . . is very similar to [your] "double-deck" machine [of] 1896-7 . . .”“. . . I make no secret of my plans for the reason that I believe no financial profit will accrue to the inventor of the first flying machine, and that only those who are willing to give as well as to receive suggestions can hope to link their names with the honor of its discovery. The problem is too great for one man alone and unaided to solve in secret.” 14In response to uncertainty: isomorphism
  15. 15. Imitation (2) Ferber, 1902, copies Wright design based on report from Chanute Voisin-Farman winning prize, 1908Santos-Dumont 1906, 1st airplane flight in Europe Farman, 1909-10 Fuller story: Gibbs-Smith’s Rebirth of European Aviation 15
  16. 16. Parallels to open source softwareAutonomous innovators (not hierarchy, not cult) with various goals: Want to fly! ; Hope for recognition; Curious, interested in the problem ; Bring peace / make nation safe who share their work with public They don’t enforce patents (Hargrave & Santos-Dumont don’t patent) They collaborate across distances and organizationsAuthors, evangelists, organizers have valuable role They create and manage clubs / journals They encourage They reduce duplication, via standards and specialization emergent (opportunistic) progress 16
  17. 17. Open source technology practices (2) Phrased for both open source software developers and airplane experimenters And rationalizable in a model Individuals choose what to make. They buy-in. They start small Community of practice/interest evolves, along with work groups. They learn, copy, and often contribute to pool of knowledge They accept empiricism Hands-on imperative Learning from experience The product evolves by iteration (not big plan) Variants appear Developers specialize (Projects are modular) 17
  18. 18. Modeling open source innovationLike user innovation (von Hippel) & collective invention (R Allen) But no central organization; few rules Copying actual designsNot like R&D; nor “race” to the finishCan be modeled micro-economicallyOpen-source behavior (giving design or implementation) is self-interestedly rational if Instrinsically or altruistically self-motivated Trying to make progress on a technical project Not much in competition with the others (micro model Meyer 2007 “Network of tinkerers”)
  19. 19. Transition to industryWilbur and Orville Wright ran bicycle shopThey were “open sourcers” in aviation field 1900-1902They have big technological successes in (1) controlsystem for gliders, (2) wing and propeller design1902-3 They pull back from “open-source” involvement File for patent in 1903; it’s granted in 1906 They plan to enforce their patent and manufacture airplanes
  20. 20. Transition and paradigm shift Octave Chanute: Wright brothers An open-technology It’s an industry now person• Wrights enforce their 1906 patent and sue a lot especially in U.S.• In Europe they license more -- patent is interpreted more narrowly there
  21. 21. Startup industry and patentsIn 1907-1909 Publications increase Patents do too Big public exhibitions, 1908-1909 100,000s people see Huge prizes Some exhibitions are very profitable “Legitimate” to start firm (Hannan, Carroll et al 1995)
  22. 22. Startup industry 1908: Flow of new firms starts Sample of early investors, founders, and designers suggest less than 20% overlap with earlier experimenters Number of entrant firms by year of first investment (Sources: Gunston 1993 and 2005; Smithsonian Directory) 50 45 Britain 40 France 35 GermanyNumber of entrants 30 US 25 Italy Russia 20 Austria-Hungary 15 All others 10 5 0 1900 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916
  23. 23. ConclusionsLeading experimenters followed open source practices They publish, and moderate/edit publications share information ; meet ; write letters and copy technology No firms do this “research” (technological uncertainty) motivation mostly intrinsic or altruistic (to fly! change world! Attempt challenge) Communication imitation, progress 1890s standard glider The new industry starts from this information Entrepreneurial people and era was very different Experts of 1899 did not become industrialists ten years later
  24. 24. How can we make use of this story?(1) Watch new fields, knowing (2) Apply open-source practices in what "prehistories of invention" government look like What would help us innovate in governance? • wikis to read, share & copy efficiently in• In the air: quadrocopters, govt (Intellipedia, Diplopedia, Statipedia, personal flight Eurostats, OECD, Canadas, Britains)• biotech, nanotech • search engines for our own pooled content• hacker spaces, maker faires • source code control systems to share & co- develop tools in public/nonprofit sector• are open source behaviors visible? suggests opportunity • try those that we might recommend ; for improvement empower our staff with permission to use• can identify innovative outside platforms persons? • open data (for use in government)• ask experimenters what • link to WikiData? constrains them from progress • share source code examples across• help with open-source copying government of institutions, legal documents, • model good practices enable copying of taxes, informational them infrastructure • thus create new Chanutes (and Einsteins!)

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