×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Fifty Machines that Changed the Course of History
     

Fifty Machines that Changed the Course of History

by Eric Chaline
 

The most significant machines of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Fifty Machines that Changed the Course of History is a fascinating survey of the mechanical devices that propelled 18th-century society into the 19th and 20th centuries.

The book celebrates more than 200 years of technological development at the height of the Industrial

Overview

The most significant machines of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Fifty Machines that Changed the Course of History is a fascinating survey of the mechanical devices that propelled 18th-century society into the 19th and 20th centuries.

The book celebrates more than 200 years of technological development at the height of the Industrial Revolution. These are not generic inventions but rather specific, branded machines whose names in many cases have become synonymous with the machine or its purpose.

The entries fall into eight categories relating to their sphere of influence: Industry, Agriculture, Media, Transport, Science, Computing, Energy and Home. Concise text describes the machines, what led to their invention, and the effects on society. Annotated diagrams, illustrations, photographs and "Key Feature" insets enrich the coverage.

These are a few of the 50 machines described:

  • Stephenson's Rocket (1829), the first locomotive designed for passenger transport
  • Harrison power loom (1851) produced the bulk of the world's cotton cloth during the First Industrial Revolution
  • Westinghouse alternating current system (1887) brought electrical power and lighting to homes and workplaces
  • Hoover suction sweeper (1908) revolutionized domestic cleaning
  • Lumière cine projector (1896) and Marconi radio (1897) together heralded the dawn of the media age
  • Baird "Televiso" (1930), the first television set
  • More recently, the Motorola DynaTAC cellphone (1983) ensured that we would always be able to "phone home."

Fifty Machines that Changed the Course of
History
is perfect for history buffs and anyone who is fascinated by the complexity and beauty of mechanical devices.

Editorial Reviews

Science Books and Film - Dennis W. Cheek
An admirable, concise, well-organized, and accurate exploration of 50 machines that have proven pivotal in human civilization from 1760 to the present... Entries are a minimum of two pages to a maximum of six pages with well-chosen historic pictures of the artifacts themselves supplemented by depictions of the inventors, the schematics of their devices or other matters of historical interest, and a clearly written narrative. Images closer to the present are often in full color. A frequently used timeline visualizes the flow of technological innovation and the ways in which new inventions build upon prior ideas.
Booklist - Blaise Dierks
This volume showcases machines such as the Jacquard loom, which automated the silk-weaving industry; the Hoover Suction Sweeper, which was the first upright electric vacuum; and the Hayes SmartModern, the first fully automated modem. The 50 entries are arranged in chronological order and range from two to six pages long. Entries are pleasing to the eye, with photographs, illustrations, time lines, and quotes separate from the text. The tone of the text is readable and conversational, placing each machine and its creator within a historical context. The volume concludes with lists of books for further reading and useful websites and an index. Recommended for school and public libraries.
Science Books and Film
Best Books for Junior High and YA 2013
Calliope Magazine
Photos, time lines, and sidebars all make this a great reference book.
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—Chaline brings a sociologist's eye for detail to this engrossing book. He looks at the inventions that helped shape modern society-the diesel engine, the first passenger airplane, the Walkman, and 47 others-within the context of their respective time periods. For example, he explains how the "Rover" safety bicycle played a role in the women's rights movement of the late 19th century. This entry culminates with early feminist Annie Kopchovsky being humorously labeled "the Lady Gaga of her day" for wearing bloomers while becoming the first woman to cycle around the world. In the entry for the Saturn V rocket, Chaline tells of the meeting between the crew of Apollo 8 and Charles Lindbergh, a fascinating anecdote and prime example of what places this title above the usual lineup of reference books. The author can be forgiven for falling from time to time into confusing technical jargon-these instances, while unfortunate, are rare and mercifully brief. Fifty Machines works fine as a cover-to-cover read, but it is endlessly browsable. From the attractive contents page to the streamlined "Anatomy of…" sections that translate the details of the inner workings of, say, a nuclear reactor for the layperson, the book's strong design enhances its readability. Each machine is given two to eight pages, with close-up photographs-some current, others archival-creating breathing room and stopping the text from overwhelming the layout.—Sam Bloom, Blue Ash Library, Cincinnati, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770850903
Publisher:
Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date:
10/30/2012
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Rric Chaline is a journalist and writer specializing in history, philosophy and religion. He has published numerous books, including Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews