The Toothpick: Technology and Culture

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 2008 - Design - 443 pages
A celebration culture and technology, as seen through the history of the humble yet ubiquitous toothpick, from the best-selling author of The Pencil.

From ancient Rome, where emperor Nero made his entrance into a banquet hall with a silver toothpick in his mouth, to nineteenth-century Boston, where Charles Forster, the father of the American wooden toothpick industry, ensured toothpicks appeared in every restaurant, the toothpick has been an omnipresent, yet often overlooked part of our daily lives. Here, with an engineer's eye for detail and a poet's flair for language, Henry Petroski takes us on an incredible tour of this most interesting invention. Along the way, he peers inside today's surprisingly secretive toothpick-manufacturing industry, and explores a treasure trove of the toothpick's unintended uses and perils, from sandwiches to martinis and beyond.

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THE TOOTHPICK: Technology and Culture

User Review  - Kirkus

A comprehensive report on the ubiquitous wooden sliver's past, present and future, from the seasoned historian of life's indispensables.Though Petroski (Success Through Failure, 2006, etc.) admits to ... Read full review

The toothpick: technology and culture

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Petroski (civil engineering & history, Duke Univ.;Pushing the Limits: New Adventures in Engineering ), a prolific writer on design, engineering, and "useful things" in our culture, has found yet ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. The author of a dozen previous books, he lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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