Henry Petroski’s previous bestsellers have delighted readers with intriguing stories about the engineering marvels around us, from the lowly pencil to the soaring. In this book, Petroski delves deeper into the mystery of invention, to explore what come to expect from his books, Invention by Design reaffirms Petroski as the. INVENTION BY DESIGN: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thing. User Review – Kirkus. A look at the engineering principles behind ordinary objects and .

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To see a pencil as a cantilever beam or a beverage can as a pressure vessel is to feel the power of engineering insight. A professor of civil engineering and history at Duke University, Petroski is notable for writing an entire book about pencils…and pdtroski the whole pages completely fascinating.

Alden, The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Ostensibly written for intelligent laypersons to give some understanding of how we got to the technological world in which we now live, it will probably be read and enjoyed as much or even more by engineering and product designers.

The reader is, as it were, trained to be an inquisitive designer. Scattered throughout the book are brief mental inventtion in the shape of entertaining questions regarding designed details of the real world Why are ashtrays in aircraft glued shut?

Invention by Design

What structural precautions need to be taken if a complete oil platform, whose length is greater than inventino height of the highest building in the world, is to be moved from a horizontal to a vertical position?


This arrangement explains why the book is required reading for many a student. But Petroski also achieves the necessary depth whenever he explains in detail the principles and processes which lie behind existing and widely known products… [ Invention by Design ] does comprise an outstanding source of knowledge and inspiration as much about history as about design approaches. Every case study includes well-chosen pictures and schematic bt to clarify how inventors resolve technical difficulties, and the carefully researched text explains how they make their new creations economically feasible and socially acceptable.

Students of technology will delight in one part of the book, cultural historians in another, but both groups will praise the author. Each of these—along with the paper clip, pencil, zipper, fax machine, water-supply system, bridge and skyscraper—Petroski honors with a heavily illustrated chapter, each a glimpse into the workings of engineering design… [Petroski] tells a good story.

Here Petroski takes a look at the development of such things as pencils, zippers, paper clips, the fax machine, turbojet aircraft, suspension bridges, aluminum beverage cans, and the systems that heat and cool modern buildings… [A] pleasant, readable, and persuasive [book]. Inventors and petgoski are often thought to have the same attitude about their often remarkable technological achievements.

Invention by Design: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thing

Though the problems that engineers and inventors set out to solve may be different from those of other design specialists, Invention by Design proves that the many design decisions in which engineers are involved are as heavily influenced by the intangibly aesthetic as by the purely functional.

Petroski demonstrates in this well-rounded, accessible volume that great engineers, like all designers, are driven by the desire to improve the human condition, whatever the tools they use. Beavers and termites construct elaborate artifacts.


Humans alone combine these two facilities to rapidly evolve artifacts.

Invention by Design — Henry Petroski | Harvard University Press

Engineering may be the most uniquely human endeavor. Also here is a hint of things to come, as our artifacts play an ever greater role in their own evolution. The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence. Inventiin design is a very human activity, with social and cultural factors playing as much a role as science and mechanics.

Nobody tells the story better than Petroski, with his meticulously researched case histories of objects that range from the small and ordinary to the large and complex. Our understanding of design is, once again, made richer and more profound.

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Related Links Read a New York Times essay by Henry Petroski—written on the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy—on the conflict between optimal solutions what is technically possible? Edward Lear is an apt character to think about at Christmas-time. His nonsense books, mo ….