The pencil: a history of design and circumstance

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Knopf, Nov 10, 1992 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 434 pages
21 Reviews
Henry Petroski traces the origins of the pencil back to ancient Greece and Rome, writes factually and charmingly about its development over the centuries and around the world, and shows what the pencil can teach us about engineering and technology today.

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Review: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance

User Review  - John A. - Goodreads

The book was well researched and fairly interesting although it was slow going in spots. Read full review

Review: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance

User Review  - Greg - Goodreads

It fulfilled its promise in fully explaining why a pencil is what it is, which is amazing (the pencil). I liked how the author used the engineering of a pencil to describe the role of engineering in ... Read full review

Contents

II
3
III
15
IV
24
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Henry Petroski is an American engineer with wide-ranging historical and sociocultural interests. He earned a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1968, and became Aleksandar S. Vesic professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University. Petroski teaches traditional engineering subjects, as well as courses for nonengineering students, that place the field in a broad social context. One of the major themes that transcends his technical and nontechnical publications is the role of failure and its contribution to successful design. This is the central theme in his study To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design, which is accessible to both engineers and general readers. This theme is also incorporated into Petroski's The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance (1990), which relates the history of the pencil to broader sociocultural themes. The theme is expanded further, illustrating the relationship of engineering to our everyday life in The Evolution of Useful Things (1992). Petroski's most recent book, Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering, is planned for publication in 1994. After that, he will begin a study of the complex interrelationships between engineering and culture. Widely recognized and supported by both the technical and humanities communities, Petroski's work has effectively conveyed the richness and essence of engineering in its societal context for the general reader.

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