House of Invention: The Secret Life of Everyday Objects
David Lindsay shares the most fascinating stories in the obsessive history of invention, all within the typical American home. He stops in each room to examine the most taken-for-granted objects, and finds eccentric inventors lurking within every delightfully bizarre story of invention. The bathroom, for example, is a hotbed of innovation. We meet Gillette of disposable razor fame, who had grandiose utopian plans; the inventor of Vaseline -- he actually ate a spoonful of the stuff each day; and the first woman millionaire. A visit to the kitchen takes us to the frigid North, where Clarence Birdseye was inspired, and into the odd psyches of the Kellogg brothers. In the foyer, we find the magical history of the intercom, the piratical origins of paper money, and the Houdini-like ascension of the king of locks. The office yields the origins of pencils; the roots of Muzak technology; and the debt we owe to Nikola Tesla. The garage shows us the genius of the standard screw thread, the patent-stealing of intermittent windshield wipers, and the rags-to-riches-to-rags story of the woman who invented the flat-bottomed paper bag. In the family room, we learn of the race for television's patent, about the violent inventor of the Nautilus machine, and of the pacifism that inspired solitaire. The bedroom boasts more personal inventions as we unravel the histories of the brassiere and even the condom. There is intrigue, suspense, fraud, rebellion, and more. No house should be without House of Invention, and no one interested in stories of genius and ingenuity and the extraordinary creation of ordinary objects should miss it.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Disposable Razor
The Intermittent Windshield Wiper
The Standard Screw Thread
The FlatBottomed Paper Bag
The Exercise Machine
Locks and Keys
The Electrical Outlet
Other editions - View all
alternating current American arrived AT&T Baird bank Battle Creek became began bills Blendor Bramah lock brassiere brother called Chesebrough Clarence Birdseye Company Condom condus Corn Flakes course court Crosby Crystal Palace Denon designed device discovered Edison electric eventually French frozen food Gillette Gillette's Graham graphite hair Henry Maudslay Hobbs House of Invention idea industry intercom Intermittent Windshield Wiper inventor Jacobs John Harvey John Harvey Kellogg Jones Kearns Keith Kellogg Kellogg Knight later lathe living London look machine macrobiotics Maudslay ment Muller Muzak Nautilus never Osius paper money patent pencil person Phips playing Queen's Arcade radio signals razor Robert Kearns Robert-Houdin sell sold solitaire soon sperm Squier tele telephone lines television Tesla thing Thomson-Houston Electric Company tion took turned Vaseline Vaucanson Vladimir Zworykin Walker Waring Westinghouse wheat wire-wireless women Woodbridge word York