History Book Resources
The 100 Greatest Inventions of All Time: A Ranking Past
by Tom Philbin / Hardcover: 352 pages / Citadel Press (August
Philbin's catalog of machines and tools that have changed the world
proves a surprisingly absorbing read-largely because of the author's
brisk, fact-filled and gossipy descriptions.
Anyone in the mood for a pleasant survey of science history would do
well to buy his book.
Inventions That Shaped World History
by Bill Yenne, Morton, Dr. Grosser (Editor) / Paperback - 112 pages / Bluewood Books (1993)
This book contains inventions from all around the world from microchips to fire. This is a
really good book if you are going to do research on inventions.
Accidents May Happen: 50 Inventions Discovered by Mistake
by Charlotte Jones / Paperback: 96 pages /Delacorte Books for Young
Readers (March 9, 1998)
This companion to Mistakes That Worked features 50
fascinating stories behind familiar things that were invented by accident, including ice
cream sodas, Wheaties, microwave ovens, and yo-yos. New Yorker staff artist John O'Brien
has created hilarious cartoons to accompany the text.
by Peter James, Nick Thorpe (Contributor) / Paperback
(November 1995) / Ballantine Books
A compendium of odd facts and entertaining curiosities
featuring more than three hundred illustrations reveals the ancient origins of many of
humankind's most important inventions, from the chewing gum of the Aztecs to Stone Age
The Book of Inventions
by Ian Harrison / Hardcover: 288 pages /
National Geographic (November 1, 2004)
This extremely lively-and intricately researched-book is a rousing romp
through the history of inventions and their inventors through time, from the
tiny paper clip-coined "the world's most valuable invention"-to the massive
jet engine; from mastermind Leonardo daVinci, to quirky, colorful,
dual-cyclone-vacuum-cleaner inventor James Dyson.
A Century of Innovation: Twenty Engineering Achievements That
Transformed Our Lives
by George Constable, Bob Somerville / Hardcover: 256 pages /
Joseph Henry Press (October, 2003)
As the world eagerly looked forward to the dawn of a new millennium, the
turning of the calendar also represented an opportunity to pause and
reflect on the tremendous ingenuity and invention that marked the
previous hundred years.
Einstein's Refrigerator and Other Stories from Flip Side Of
by Steve Silverman / Paperback: 192 pages / Andrews McMeel Publishing
(May 15, 2001)
A collection of more than 30 of the most fascinating stories - tales of
forgotten genius, great blunders, and incredible feats of survival, as
well as answers to puzzling questions. Whatever happened to the
refrigerator Einstein helped invent? While it never became a commercial
success, its underlying concepts became the basis for cooling nuclear
Eureka! : Great Inventions and How They Happened
by Richard Platt / Hardcover: 96 pages / Kingfisher (October
31, 2003) / Ages 9+
Eureka! looks at the instances in which some of the world"s greatest
inventions were conceived and explains how creative genius has enabled some
individuals to look right through a problem and come up with a solution that
has eluded rivals
Evolution of Useful Things
by Henry Petroski / Paperback - 288 pages
Reprint edition (March 1994) / Vintage Books
This surprising book may appear to be about the simple things
of life--forks, paper clips, zippers--but in fact it is a far-flung historical adventure
on the evolution of common culture.
Greatest Inventions of the Past 2,000 Years (Limited Availability)
by John Brockman (Editor / Hardcover
- 192 pages (January 12, 2000) / Simon & Schuster
Lively and thought-provoking, The Greatest Inventions of the Past 2,000 Years is not only
an entertaining book about science and creativity but also an opportunity to peek inside
the minds of some of the leading thinkers of our time.
History of Invention: From Stone Axes to Silicon Chips
by Trevor I. Williams, Peter Morris / Hardcover - 352 pages (February 2000) / Checkmark
Readers looking for information on technologies--past and present--need look no further. A
biographical dictionary highlights the individuals who made the advances a reality, and an
index makes all of the information instantly accessible.
House of Invention: The Secret Life of Everyday Objects
by David Lindsay / Paperback: 196 pages / The Lyons Press; (September 1,
Take a look around you - every little object and product in your home
has its own story to tell, and here are the most fascinating. David
Lindsay tours the typical American home to examine the most
taken-for-granted objects, and finds incredible stories behind everyday
How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies
by Andrew Hargadon / Hardcover: 272 pages / Harvard Business School
Press (June 5, 2003)
Moving between historical accounts of labs and factory floors where past
technological revolutions originated and field studies of similar
processes in today's organizations, Hargadon shows how technology
brokers create an enduring capacity for breakthrough innovations.
Imaginative Inventions: The Who, What, Where, When, and
Why of Roller Skates, Potato Chips, Marbles, and Pie (and More!)
by Charise Mericle Harper / Hardcover: 32 pages / Megan Tingley (2001) /
Have you ever wondered how chewing gum was invented? Or who made the first
roller skates? Or why there are piggy banks rather than doggy banks?
Imaginative Inventions answers all of these questions and tells the
fascinating stories behind these, as well as potato chips, eyeglasses,
doughnuts, high-heeled shoes, the wheelbarrow, marbles, the vacuum cleaner,
animal crackers, and more.
by Arlene Erlbach / Library
Binding (August 1997) / Lerner Publications Company
The stories of twelve kid inventors. Erlbach uses the
success of 15-year-old Chester Greenwood, who invented earmuffs in 1873, as the takeoff
point for introducing more than a dozen contemporary children who have created their own
inventions. Each double-page spread profiles one child and his or her invention, some of
which have won national recognition in inventors' contests.
by Charlotte Foltz Jones, John O'Brien (Illustrator) / Paperback - 48
pages (1994) / Doubleday
Recounting the fascinating stories behind the accidental inventions of forty
familiar objects and products.
Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things
by Charles Panati / Paperback - 480 pages Reissue edition (September 1989) / HarperCollins
Discover the fascinating stories behind the origins of over 500 everyday items,
expressions and customs.
The Playmakers: Amazing Origins of Timeless Toys
by Tim Walsh / Hardcover: 298 pages / Keys Publishing; (June 1, 2004)
The Playmakers: Amazing Origins of Timeless Toys is a celebration of
classic toys and a tribute to the people who brought them to life. The
book is a journey covering nearly 100 years worth of playthings and
offering a delightful look back at many childhood favorites.
Popular Science: Year by Year:
Discoveries and Inventions from the 20th
Century Tha T Shape Our Lives Today
by Scholastic Books / Hardcover: 240 pages / Scholastic (August 1, 2001)
A complete overview of the centuryıs scientific and technological
developments. More than 25 branches of science, from archaeology to
oceanography to zoology, are represented.Unique and fun to read, this
fact-filled volume is guaranteed to spark the whole familyıs interest in
Science & Technology Firsts
by Leonard C. Bruno / Hardcover: 636 pages / Thomson Gale (January 1997)
This volume offers approximately 4,000 entries divided into 12 broad
topics, such as agriculture and everyday life, communications,
computers, physics, and transportation. The author does not claim to
have written a comprehensive history of science and technology. Rather,
he provides a "selected history based on the concept of `firsts."
Scientific American Inventions and Discoveries : All the
Milestones in Ingenuity From the Discovery of Fire to the Invention of the
by Rodney Carlisle / Hardcover: 512 pages / Wiley (July 23, 2004)
Formally arranged as an encyclopedia divided into six historical periods,
the 418 inventions and 100 discoveries about nature are more a browser's
trove suited to readers keen on the history of technology.
The Seventy Great Inventions of the Ancient World
by Brian M. Fagan (Editor) / Hardcover: 304 pages / Thames & Hudson (October
The origins of technologies that shape the world around us, with
hundreds of evocative photographs and specially commissioned diagrams,
reconstructions, and plans. Stone choppers, eyed needles, camel saddles,
chariots, and contraceptives: the past is paved with remarkable inventions.
Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson, Laurie Keller (Illustrator) / Hardcover - 128 pages (2000) / Henry
Holt & Company
Wulffson follows up The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle with the quirky tales behind more
than two dozen novelties, gadgets and games, from seesaws to Silly Putty and toy soldiers
to Trivial Pursuit. .
What a Great Idea: Inventions That Changed the World
by Steve Tomecek, Dan Stuckenschneider / Hardcover: 128 pages /
From the hand ax and mathematics to IC chips and the laser, each
technological touchstone in human history is described and placed in
historical context. Each profile includes the who (if we know it), how
the idea developed and how it works, the immediate impact of the idea,
and the technological 'children' of the idea. The time span is 3500 B C
|Why Didn't I Think of That?: Bizarre Origins of Ingenious Inventions We Couldn't
by Allyn Freeman, Bob Golden (Contributor) /
Paperback - 224 pages (1997) / John Wiley & Sons
Inventions chronicles the odd origins of famous products,
explores how these inventions changed our lives, and reveals the business side of their
production and distribution.
A one-volume reference covering both well-known and lesser-known
inventions and inventors, this fairly comprehensive work includes
information on noteworthy contributions of inventors from groups that
may have been overlooked in the past, namely, women and minorities. More
than 1100 alphabetically arranged entries describe significant
developments from the Industrial Revolution to the present, focusing not
on how things work but on how they came to be.
by Alford Eugene Brown, H. A. Jeffcott / Paperback: 125 pages / Dover Pubns;
The book lists actual patents obtained, by inventive out-of-the-box thinkers and
tinkerers. It beats any current humorists's or comedien's dull gibberish by a long shot.
There are about 60 inventions listed. These inventions, all, were granted US
patents by the Patent Office.
I Wonder Why Zippers Have Teeth: And Other Questions
by Barbara Taylor / Paperback: 32 pages Kingfisher; Reissue edition (August
22, 2003) / Ages 4+
"What did people use before they had refrigerators?" and "Where do inventors
get their ideas?" are some of the questions answered in this intriguing look