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Inventing the 20th Century: 100 Inventions…

Inventing the 20th Century: 100 Inventions That Shaped the World

by Stephen Van Dulken

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0814788084, Hardcover)

Nobody can complain that the 1900s were boring. Author Stephen Van Dulken observes the transition away from industrial society and past the information age through the world's patent offices in Inventing the Twentieth Century. This collection of 100 brief glimpses into important or oddball inventions is organized by decade, so the reader can see that while some things have changed dramatically--from the electric washing machine to Dolly the cloned sheep in just 86 years--others remain static, like our still-fervent quest for the perfect teabag.

Each entry consists of a page of text describing the patent and a facing page of diagrams from the application, some of which are perplexing or amusing. From the frivolous (snowboard) to the deadly serious (genetic fingerprinting) and even lifesaving (Viagra--?), Van Dulken collects inventions with the widest interest to a general audience. Each decade's section is introduced with a brief contextual exposition that lays the groundwork for understanding the circumstances that permitted each inventor's inspiration to strike. Inventing the Twentieth Century is great fun to read, but it also challenges its readers and inspires thinking about technology and our collective future. Let's hear it for pleasant surprises! --Rob Lightner

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:28 -0400)

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