Product evolution – not much if it’s right first time.

January 17, 2017

The rocking microtome (a device for creating thin sections of material for examination under a microscope) was invented by Horace Darwin in the early 1880s.  Horace, son of Charles, was a co-founder of the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company and they were manufacturing their microtome in 1885

1885-version-th

And in 1957 they were still making the same instrument – very little different.

1957-version-th

The company was sold in 1968 and disappeared in a series of mergers over the next 20 years.  But others make the instrument today …

radical

 

 

How many other technology products are so little changed over 130 years?  Surely it says something about the initial design concept.

 

(There’s a fascinating display of scientific instruments and of the history of the CSIC in the Whipple Museum in Cambridge: http://www.sites.hps.cam.ac.uk/whipple/. All sorts of ideas on display.)

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