By Albert J. Churella

This assessment of the major locomotive manufacturers within the usa throughout the 20th century exhibits how they replied to an intensive technological swap: the substitute of steam locomotives through diesels. The locomotive presents a beneficial case research of commercial practices and dramatic shifts in innovation styles, in view that companies--General vehicles and common Electric--that had no conventional ties to locomotive construction demolished confirmed steam locomotive brands. Albert Churella makes use of many formerly untapped assets to demonstrate how manufacturers spoke back to technological switch, rather among the Nineteen Twenties and the Nineteen Sixties. businesses mentioned contain the yank Locomotive corporation (ALCo), the Baldwin Locomotive Works, the Lima Locomotive Works, Fairbanks-Morse, the Electro-Motive department of common vehicles, and basic electrical.

A comparative paintings of industrial heritage and the heritage of know-how, the booklet isn't a whole heritage of any locomotive builder, nor does it discover the origins of the diesel engine in nice element. What it does, and does fantastically, is to illustrate how managers addressed radical shifts in expertise and construction tools. Churella unearths that managerial tradition and company organizational workouts, greater than technological competency in step with se, allowed a few businesses to be successful, but limited the activities of others. He information the shift from small-batch customized production concepts within the steam locomotive to mass-production equipment within the diesel locomotive undefined. He additionally explains that opportunity occasions and fortuitous technological linkages helped to form aggressive styles within the locomotive undefined.

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They responded favorably to large, high-horsepower steam locomotives, even when those locomotives shook their physical plant to pieces. Steam locomotive builders also advertised the undeniable fact that a steam locomotive cost only one-third as much, per horsepower, as a diesel. Electro-Motive adopted a far different approach, one that recognized the different performance characteristics of diesels. Its advertisements stressed that the advantages of the diesel lay in operating expense reductions, not in initial cost.

By 1930, EMC had several hundred employees, mostly in the mechanical, engineering (drafting), sales, and service departments. Between 1924 and 1930, EMC captured 84 percent of the railcar market. 59 By the end of the 1920s, EMC railcars trundled along rail lines throughout the United States. Some saw service abroad on the Mexican National, the Victoria Railways of Australia, and the Central American lines of the United Fruit Company. The Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad, which operated numerous lightly patronized midwestern branch lines, purchased more EMC railcars (fifty-seven) than did any other customer.

While EMC’s marketing expertise produced success in the railcar industry, the company became a viable diesel locomotive producer only after it had combined its marketing skills with the considerable technological know-how provided by General Motors. This marriage of strengths, and of complementary corporate assets, allowed EMC to achieve remarkable technological and marketing, if not financial, success during the 1930s. III First-Mover Advantages and the Decentralized Corporation THE DIESEL locomotive industry came of age during the 1930s.

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