Know It All Great Inventions

Know It All Great Inventions by David Boyle

The 50 Greatest Inventions, Each Explained in Under a Minute

Format: Paperback / softback, 160 Pages
ISBN: 9781577151609
Publisher: Wellfleet Press
Series: Know It All
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Universal change is often the ultimate result of one individual’s lightbulb moment—an invention that triggers a ripple effect across countries, continents, or even out into space. Know-It-All Great Inventions looks at fifty of these great ideas that really did change the world. It covers a wide range, from early days (the wheel) through materials (the invention of steel and plastic) to communications (the alphabet, printing press, and Worldwide Web) and the conveniences of—relatively—modern daily life (refrigeration, indoor plumbing, and central heating). It is a sharp reminder that almost every aspect of life in the second decade of the 21st century is the result of someone’s bright idea, one that they actually made work. Along the way you’ll learn the stories behind each and every invention, revealing and intriguing in equal measures.

David Boyle is an author and economist who specializes in new ideas in money, business, and culture. He has authored a number of books about history, social change, and the future. His major publications include The New Economics: A Bigger Picture (2009), and Broke: Who Killed the Middle Classes (2013). He is a fellow of the New Economics Foundation, and co-director of the thinktank New Weather.

Format: Paperback / softback, 160 Pages
ISBN: 9781577151609
Series: Know It All
Illustrations: color photos
Size: 7 in x 9 in / 177.8 mm x 228.6 mm
8 Introduction
10 Materials
12 Glossary
14 Cement
16 Glass
18 Paper
20 Profile: Chinese alchemists and the invention of gunpowder
22 Iron
24 Steel
26 Petroleum
28 Plastic
30 Construction & Engineering
32 Glossary
34 The wheel
36 The nail
38 Archimedes’ screw
40 Profile: Frank Whittle and the jet enginei
42 The plough
44 The mechanized clock
46 The steam engine
48 The internal combustion engine
50 Transport & Location
52 Glossary
54 The compass
56 The safety bicycle
58 The pneumatic tyre
60 Profile: Wilbur and Orville Wright and manned flight
62 The automobile
64 The helicopter
66 The GPS satellite
68 Medicine & Health
70 Glossary
72 Vaccination
74 Anaesthesia
76 Antibiotics
78 The microscope
80 Profile: Louis Pasteur and pasteurization
82 The optical lens
84 The X-ray
86 The birth control pill
88 The pacemaker
90 Communications
92 Glossary
94 The alphabet
96 The printing press
98 The computer
100 The telegraph
102 Profile: Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web
104 The radio
106 The television
108 The smartphone
110 Economics & Energy
112 Glossary
114 The abacus
116 Paper money
118 Nuclear power
120 Profile: Russell Ohl and the solar cell
122 The calculator
124 The wind turbine
126 The barcode
128 The credit card
130 E-money
132 Daily life
134 Glossary
136 Indoor plumbing
138 Profile: Sir Alec Jeffreys and DNA fingerprinting
140 Canning
142 The lightbulb
144 The camera
146 Moving pictures
148 Refrigeration
150 Central heating
152 Appendices
154 Resources
156 Notes on contributors
160 Index & acknowledgments