Main Question or Discussion Point
I'm wondering how and in what time frame new technologies emerged and found application in the history of science. I could make several examples of those which suddenly and unexpectedly changed the world, but not the vice-versa. In particular, I'm wondering which didn't find an application or remained undeveloped for a long time (say at least a couple of decades) but then found its way to success? Or, to put it in other words, which technology needed the longest R&D phase before becoming effective?