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, Feb 1, 1994 - Technology & Engineering - 304 pages
17 Reviews
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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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SeriousGrace - LibraryThing

Did you ever stop to think that the four-tined fork which brings food to your mouth and the two-tined fork you use to hold meat while carving it came from the same food necessity and that they are ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - CassandraT - LibraryThing

Sometimes to much detail and not enough story. Read full review

Contents

How the Fork Got Its Tines
3
Form Follows Failure
22
Inventors as Critics
34
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

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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