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Technology, Culture & Communications, SEAS.
- Essay length: 8274 words
- Submitted: 02/02/2004
The first 200 words of this essay...
Michael E. Gorman
Technology, Culture & Communications, SEAS
University of Virginia
To organize and depict, in abbreviated form, Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone, we  have created a series of flowchart "maps" that include every sketch we have been able to locate from Bell's experimental notebooks, patents, depositions in court and correspondence. As the dates on the map indicate, time advances as on the maps from top to bottom. Multiple boxes spreading from right to left at the same time indicate that Bell was pursuing several lines of research at that point.
When we say that Bell followed a path to the telephone, it makes his innovation process sound more linear and goal-directed than it really was, though Bell tried very hard to be scientific in his approach  and therefore was more linear than his competitors Edison and Gray. We refer to this flowchart as a map because the term flowchart implies more logical structure than does map, which may reflect the wanderings of an inventor.
This series of maps is arranged hierarchically. The top level depicts the major experiments along Bell's path to a patent and to
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