The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are. (Google eBook)

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 1, 2010 - Science - 304 pages
22 Reviews

   How did the table fork acquire a fourth tine?  What advantage does the Phillips-head screw have over its single-grooved predecessor? Why does the paper clip look the way it does? What makes Scotch tape Scotch?

   In this delightful book Henry, Petroski takes a microscopic look at artifacts that most of us count on but rarely contemplate, including such icons of the everyday as pins, Post-its, and fast-food "clamshell" containers.  At the same time, he offers a convincing new theory of technological innovation as a response to the perceived failures of existing products—suggesting that irritation, and not necessity, is the mother of invention.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
  

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Review: The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are.

User Review  - Nola - Goodreads

Did you know that Marx was astounded that a factory in Britain produced 500 different types of hammers? I do, because I was told so at least three times. This book had such potential. Sometimes it ... Read full review

Review: The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are.

User Review  - Lara - Goodreads

The author's central argument is that failure breeds improvement rather than form following function. This seems like quite a narrow distinction to me, but perhaps that is an odd complaint from ... Read full review

About the author (2010)

Henry Petroski is the Aleksander S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History at Duke University. He is the author of more than ten books.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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