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Power, Speed, and Form
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Table of Contents

List of Sidebars ix List of Figures xi Preface xv Acknowledgments xxi Chapter One: The World's Fairs of 1876 and 1939 1 Chapter Two: Edison, Westinghouse, and Electric Power 13 Chapter Three: Bell and the Telephone 35 Chapter Four: Burton, Houdry, and the Refining of Oil 57 Chapter Five: Ford, Sloan, and the Automobile 79 Chapter Six: The Wright Brothers and the Airplane 103 Chapter Seven: Radio: From Hertz to Armstrong 129 Chapter Eight: Ammann and the George Washington Bridge 155 Chapter Nine: Eastwood, Tedesko, and Reinforced Concrete 176 Chapter Ten: Streamlining: Chrysler and Douglas 199 Appendix: The Edison Dynamo and the Parallel Circuit 220 Notes 223 Index 257

Promotional Information

This important book makes a significant and unique contribution to the cause of technological literacy. It will be of great value to nonspecialists and general readers precisely because of its introduction of simple equations and formulas: these sharpen and focus the technical argument without obscuring it with vague language or, worse, jargon. -- Henry Petroski, Duke University, author of "Success through Failure: The Paradox of Design" This book fills an important need for a work that straddles the literacy-numeracy divide. It is a useful historical synthesis of the technical foundations of the American experience in the twentieth century. -- Robert Friedel, University of Maryland, author of "Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty"

About the Author

David P. Billington is Gordon Y. S. Wu Professor of Engineering at Princeton University. His books include "The Innovators; Robert Maillart: Designer, Builder, Artist;" and "The Tower and the Bridge" (Princeton). David P. Billington Jr. holds a Ph.D. in modern history from the University of Texas and is an independent scholar.

Reviews

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2007 "David P. Billington and David P. Billington, Jr., hope that their new book will increase technological literacy among college students. But this well-written and nicely illustrated volume may also reach a broader audiences. Power, Speed, and Form will introduce engineering students to eminent predecessors from whom there is still much to learn, especially about the use of numerical language. This book will also help students in other disciplines appreciate engineering approaches to problem solving."--Thomas P. Hughes, American Scientist "The authors discuss eight transformative inventions ... within their sociocultural context. They also examine the lives of the inventors as well as the cumulative process of invention. The superb figures ... and many photos nicely illustrate the Billingtons' overriding themes: the importance of technological literacy and the fact that original engineering is based on simple ideas."--Library Journal "The book is a sequel to The Innovators (1996), which covered American engineering from 1776 to 1883; the two books together explain the principal engineering ideas that helped transform the U.S. from an agrarian society in the eighteenth century to the industrial civilization it became in the twentieth century."--George Cohen, Booklist "[A] coherent and appealing approach, introducing engineering as a historical sequence of ideas and events, part of a canon of great ideas... [A]n engaging narrative that explores the work of key innovators... For the Billingtons, design is the primary function of engineering, one that distinguishes it from science."--Robin Tatu, ASEE Prism "The authors ... discuss the development of each [innovation] in a way that is readily accessible to building engineers and non-engineers--their ultimate purpose... The book, then, was meant to serve as a text for introductory engineering courses, especially those designed to help liberal arts students satisfy technical literacy requirements. Such courses can also excite engineering students by explaining how many innovations sprang from ideas that though novel were relatively simple."--Ray Bert, Civil Engineering "By introducing the fundamental theories upon which various significant technological achievements are based, Billington Sr... and Billington Jr... shed light on the unseen foundations of invention... A remarkable accomplishment of this book is that it presents these theories and equations in a manner that is understandable to general readers, rather than accessible only to engineers or scientists. Thus, it fills a much-needed role in helping to enhance technological literacy and understanding among the general public... Highly recommended."--Choice "Power, Speed, and Form is physically an extraordinary volume...chock full of the most extraordinary photos... Yet this is not a picture book. It is a serious history of the development of American technology in the period between the year 1876...and 1939... [W]hat is unique, and what, along with the illustrations, makes this book something of a treasure, is the inclusion of more than forty sidebars, each a full-page explication in words, numerical formulas, and splendidly clear diagrams, of the historic innovations discussed in the text."--Samuel C. Florman, Technology and Culture

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