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

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 1, 2010 - Technology & Engineering - 304 pages
13 Reviews

   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.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jen.e.moore - LibraryThing

Though a little bit dated, this is an interesting discussion of how design and invention work. Rather than "form follows function," Petroski argues, form follows *failure* - specifically the failure ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

The blurbs are bad. One says 'delightful' - it certainly is not that. Neither mentions the author's thesis, which is that: Form does not follow function, it follows failure and fortune. I had to read ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

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 previous books, he lives in Durham, North Carolina, and Arrowsic, Maine.

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