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 - Science - 304 pages
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   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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The evolution of useful things

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For armchair inventors or those who are curious about the way things work, this book offers hours of delight. Petroski (engineering, Duke Univ.) provides an intricate look, in lay reader's terms, at ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Henry Petroski is the Aleksander S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History at Duke University. He is the author of more than ten books.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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