Disruptive Innovation - the automobile in 1910

By Chad Kluck on

2011 Dodge Challenger The automobile, still disrupting 100 years later - 2011 Dodge Challenger

A concept is disruptive if it challenges the old ways of doing things. These challenges typically have a group of people embracing it while another group bemoans it. Think of online news or music sold as MP3s rather than dead tree papers or CD albums.

Often-times the numbers of those embracing the new technology spread and those that fight or talk against it die off. One such innovation, believe it or not, was the automobile.

The clippings below, which are also available in full text from Google Books, are from Automotive Industries Vol 22. The article, originally printed June 23, 1910, is an interesting read as you could replace the word "automobile" with many different trends of today. The populous fearing new paradigms is nothing new. I just wonder in 100 years what our descendants will think of our dismissing some of the current "fads."

Automotive Industries, Volume 22 (Pages 1149-50)

Automobile Industry's Benefits Widely Diffused June 23, 1910 By ALFRED REEVES, General Manager Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers It is regrettable that the automobile industry cannot benefit every other line of trade. It is true that it benefits scores of different lines but the trades not advanced naturally make the motor car the subject of criticism; pessimists now declaring that its death is near at hand just as they have been making declarations of a similar nature for the past few years.

Article from Automotive Industry Vol 22

Never giving a thought to the economical advantages make it an important factor in our fast-moving life, these pessimists declared at first that the motor car was only fad then it was stated to be a luxury for a few; then a necessity for a few; and now, with almost 400,000 motor cars in use, the business of making them has recently been termed by men (who could not have taken more than a casual survey of the situation) to be an extravagance, a waste of capital and representative of everything that is bad. Scores of trades have benefited by the manufacture and use of the automobile but leaders in other lines can too easily blame the modern vehicle for any slackening in the demand for their products. Some few highly respected and learned men have undertaken, presumably without investigation, to criticise the automobile business. Their position in many cases is illogical ... The trades which have prospered as a result of the industry are far beyond what would appear at first thought. They include machinists, blacksmiths, assemblers, pattern makers, tool makers, electrical workers, carpenters, trimmers, finishers, upholsterers, painters, body builders, mill wrights, tinsmiths. Those gentlemen, who have undertaken without careful consideration, to warn the public against the automobile industry, are doubtless now aware, through the information which has been supplied in recent articles, of the error which they committed in making statements that were apparently without foundation, and which appears to be only the cry of those who may have been slightly hurt by the advance of the motor car industry.

Read the entire article on Google Books.