One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 11, 2001 - Architecture - 176 pages
3 Reviews
The Best Tool of the Millennium
The seeds of Rybczynski's elegant and illuminating new book were sown by The New York Times, whose editors asked him to write an essay identifying "the best tool of the millennium." An award-winning author who once built a house using only hand tools, Rybczynski has intimate knowledge of the toolbox -- both its contents and its history -- which serves him beautifully on his quest.
One Good Turn is a story starring Archimedes, who invented the water screw and introduced the helix, and Leonardo, who sketched a machine for carving wood screws. It is a story of mechanical discovery and genius that takes readers from ancient Greece to car design in the age of American industry. Rybczynski writes an ode to the screw, without which there would be no telescope, no microscope -- in short, no enlightenment science. One of our finest cultural and architectural historians, Rybczynski renders a graceful, original, and engaging portrait of the tool that changed the course of civilization.
 

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User Review  - jasmyn9 - LibraryThing

I'm not quite sure where this book came from. I reached into a box while unpacking, looked down and though "Now why would I ever have this?" I still don't know, it's one of the few mystery books that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jcbrunner - LibraryThing

It is hard to fill 140 pages with a history and evolution of screws and the screwdriver. The screw appears late in the Middle Ages but in nearly perfect form. The only changes are a switch to machine ... Read full review

Contents

The Carpenters Toolbox
13
Turnscrews
29
Lock Stock and Barrel
45
The Biggest Little Invention
69
Delicate Adjustments
87
Father of the Screw
127
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
153
TEXT ILLUSTRATION SOURCES
163
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About the author (2001)

Witold Rybczynski is the author of nine books, including Home, City Life, and the national bestseller A Clearing in the Distance, for which he won a Christopher Award and the J. Anthony Lukas Prize. He is a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Review of Books. He teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.

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