The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Feb 16, 2011 - Technology & Engineering - 448 pages
10 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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

This line gets overused, but this book really does have (just about) everything you could ever want to know about pencils. For me it began to drag after a while, but your mileage will vary; I ended up taking it a few chapters at a time while I read other things, and that worked better. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NielsenGW - LibraryThing

I’m quite convinced that Henry Petroski could write about the engineering or manufacturing of anything and it would an order of magnitude better than expected. He’s authored books about bookshelves ... Read full review

Contents

What We Forget
5
Of Names Materials and Things
17
Before the Pencil
25
Noting a New Technology
41
Of Traditions and Transitions
51
Does One Find or Make
69
Of Old Ways and Trade Secrets
79
In America
88
Beyond Perspective
213
The Point of It
237
Getting the Point and Keeping
255
The Business of Engineering
275
Competition Depression and
287
Acknowledging Technology
299
The Quest for Perfection
312
Retrospect and Prospect 33 I
333

An American PencilMaking Family
104
When the Best Is Not Good Enough
127
From Cottage Industry
147
Mechanization in America
164
World Pencil
183
The Importance of Infrastructure
197
Appendix B A Collection of Pencils
346
Bibliography
385
Illustrations
408
254
426
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

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

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