9780679740391

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

Petroski, Henry

ISBN 10: 0679740392 / 0-679-74039-2
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 1994
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:

   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.


Review:
This surprising book may appear to be about the simple things of life--forks, paper clips, zippers--but in fact it is a far-flung historical adventure on the evolution of common culture. To trace the fork's history, Duke University professor of civil engineering Henry Petroski travels from prehistoric times to Texas barbecue to Cardinal Richelieu to England's Industrial Revolution to the American Civil War--and beyond. Each item described offers a cultural history lesson, plus there's plenty of engineering detail for those so inclined.

Review

Review:
"Very engaging and wonderfully informative...The Pencil unfolds a history of invention, craftsmanship, engineering, manufacture and business that is also at times a history of cultural life on both sides of the Atlantic...No reader of this book will ever be able to pick up a pencil again without marveling."

-- Hilton Kramer, Newsday

"So engrossing that I read it through in one sitting...An utterly absorbing history."

-- Martin Gardner, Raleigh News and Observer

"Beguiling...surprising, entertaining, informative. One could scarcely ask a book to be more!...Using the story of the pencil as a paradigm, Petroski shows us how the process of engineering unfolds and [how] the pencil is the end result of a process that parallels those by which products of much greater sophistication -- computers, for example -- are invented, designed, manufactured and improved."

-- Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

"A serious and charming history...Petroski argues his case with wry humor and an amplitude of anecdotage drawn from many centuries and continents. The Pencil is that great rarity, a book that will appeal to ordinary readers and yet seems destined as well to become a minor classic in academe."

-- Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic

"You will never feel the same about the pencil after you read this terrific book."

-- Larry King, USA Today

From the Back Cover

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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

1.
The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are (ISBN: 9780679740391)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: LVeritas (Newton, MA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Book Condition: New. Gift Quality Book in Excellent Condition. - Fast Shipping. Bookseller Inventory # 36S98W0003Y1

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 8.99
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 1.00
Within U.S.A.
2.
The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are (ISBN: 0679740392 / 0-679-74039-2)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: Steve estep (Springfield, OH, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Vintage. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0679740392 Trade paperback copy, book is clean inside and out. AD-13. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1022238

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 5.95
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 4.50
Within U.S.A.
3.
The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are (ISBN: 0679740392 / 0-679-74039-2)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: Jason's Bookstore (Sherman Oaks, CA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Vintage. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0679740392 Clean, unmarked copy. In excellent shape! I can send expedited rate if you choose; otherwise it will promptly be sent via media rate. Have any questions? Email me; I'm happy to help!. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1032361

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 10.45
Convert Currency
Shipping: FREE Within U.S.A.
4.
The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are [Paperback] (ISBN: 0679740392 / 0-679-74039-2)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: FOURSEASONS4JOY, LLC (CHICAGO, IL, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Paperback. Book Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW. Fast Shipping. Prompt Customer Service. Satisfaction guaranteed. Bookseller Inventory # 0679740392BNA

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 6.62
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
5.
The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are (ISBN: 0679740392 / 0-679-74039-2)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: ExtremelyReliable (Richmond, TX, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Vintage. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 1ST. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0679740392

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 7.46
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
6.
The Evolution of Useful Things Format: Book (ISBN: 0679740392 / 0-679-74039-2)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: INDOO (Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
Quantity Available: > 20

Book Description: Random House. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0679740392

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 8.72
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
7.
The Evolution of Useful Things (ISBN: 9780679740391)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: Paperbackshop-US (Secaucus, NJ, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: > 20

Book Description: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US. Bookseller Inventory # VR-9780679740391

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 8.27
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
8.
The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artefacts - from Forks and Pins to Paperclips and Zippers - Came to be as They are (Paperback) (ISBN: 9780679740391)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: The Book Depository US (Gloucester, ., United Kingdom)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 133 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Only Henry Petroski, author of The Pencil, could make one never pick up a paper clip again without being overcome with feelings of awe and reverence. In his new book the author examines a host of techno-trivia questions - how the fork got its tines, why Scotch tape is called that, how the paper clip evolved, how the Post-it note came to be, how the zipper was named, why aluminum cans have hollow bottoms - and provides us with answers that both astonish and challenge the imagination. In addition to an extended discussion of knives, forks, spoons, and other common devices, the author explains how the interplay of social and technical factors affects the development and use of such things as plastic bags, fast-food packaging, push-button telephones, and other modern conveniences. Throughout the book familiar objects serve to illustrate the general principles behind the evolution of all products of invention and engineering. Petroski shows, by way of these examples as well as a probing look at the patent process, that the single most important driving force behind technological change is the failure of existing devices to live up to their promise. As shortcomings become evident and articulated, new and improved versions of artifacts come into being through long and involved processes variously known as research and development, invention, and engineering. He further demonstrates how the evolving forms of technology generally are altered by our very use of them, and how they, in turn, alter our social and cultural behavior. In this wonderful mixture of history, biography, and design theory, Henry Petroski brings us to an understanding of an essential question: By what mechanism do theshapes and forms of our made world come to be?. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780679740391

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 12.96
Convert Currency
Shipping: FREE From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
9.
The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are. (ISBN: 9780679740391)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: BargainBookStores (Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 8

Book Description: Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 1192864

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 10.03
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
10.
The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are (ISBN: 0679740392 / 0-679-74039-2)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0679740392
ISBN 13: 9780679740391
Bookseller: Nataraj Books, Inc. (Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
Quantity Available: > 20

Book Description: Vintage. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0679740392 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI210680395

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 10.55
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
View All Listings for this Book