Technology transfer and expert migration in nineteenth-century Cuba
Title: Technology transfer and expert migration in nineteenth-century Cuba
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2013/34
During the nineteenth century the Cuban sugar plantation became a highly dynamic space, open to foreign intervention at many levels. The increasing commercial prospects in the Cuban economy from the mid-nineteenth century led American, French and British manufacturers of refining equipment to actively commercialize their innovations in Cuba. Many of these foreign manufacturers of machinery had branches and agents in Havana. This article seeks to highlight the technological links between these firms manufacturing machinery and the Cuban plantation economy. Through the study of patent data and trade figures, it shows that the pattern of technology transfer to Cuba, which emerged during the nineteenth century, transgressed political boundaries. In addition, this article also considers the circulation of technical expertise between Cuba and advanced industrial nations, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as the role of transnational networks of experts. The article ends with an examination of the transnational operations in Cuba of the French firm Derosne & Cail, one of the most innovative engineering firms of the mid-nineteenth century as well as one of the first European companies to supply advanced technology to the Caribbean sugar industry.
Subject: Plantation economy; Technology transfer; Patents; Trade figures; Transnational expertise
Type of Access: openAccess; openAccess