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One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw (2000)

de Witold Rybczynski

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5991030,710 (3.61)24
The Best Tool of the Millennium The seeds of Rybczynski's elegant and illuminating new book were sown by The New York Times, whose editors asked him to write an essay identifying "the best tool of the millennium." The award-winning author of Home, A Clearing in the Distance, and Now I Sit Me Down, Rybczynski once built a house using only hand tools. His intimate knowledge of the toolbox -- both its contents and its history -- serves him beautifully on his quest. One Good Turn is a story starring Archimedes, who invented the water screw and introduced the helix, and Leonardo, who sketched a machine for carving wood screws. It is a story of mechanical discovery and genius that takes readers from ancient Greece to car design in the age of American industry. Rybczynski writes an ode to the screw, without which there would be no telescope, no microscope -- in short, no enlightenment science. One of our finest cultural and architectural historians, Rybczynski renders a graceful, original, and engaging portrait of the tool that changed the course of civilization.… (més)
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» Mira també 24 mencions

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Contents
1. The Carpenters Toolbox
2. Turnscrews
3. Lock Stock And Barrel
4. The Biggest Little Invention
5. Delicate Adjustments
6. Mechanical Bent
7. Father Of The Screw
Glossary Of Tools
Acknowledgements
Notes
Text Illustration Sources
Index ( )
  knoba | Oct 12, 2020 |
A semi-detective story of tracking down the origin of the screwdriver and the screw. The book is well written and interesting, but has rather a lot of wood-working terms (i.e. names of tools) that I needed to look up. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
Rybczynski, is a writer of some talent, and when asked to define "The Tool of the Millenium" he chose the variant of the inclined plane and it's application tool the screw and the screwdriver. When finally pushed to define the best screw he chose the Robertson pattern. It is also my favourite, but it does require a specialist screwdriver. Still I use a lot of them around the house, and you only need three drivers to cover all the different screw sizes. The book is surprisingly interesting and may be a good present for the technologist in your circle. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jan 16, 2018 |
This was a bit like being cornered by a uncle at a party. The kind of uncle that is charming and erudite but not very good at listening, so you have to hear all the details that you're not interested in as well as the good bits. The good bits are definitely there, but I'm not sure they're worth it. ( )
  wester | Apr 25, 2015 |
I'm not quite sure where this book came from. I reached into a box while unpacking, looked down and though "Now why would I ever have this?" I still don't know, it's one of the few mystery books that have shown up over the years. It is a short book, less than 150 pages, with several well drawn diagrams and even a picture glossary of tools to refer to as you read.

I was surpisingly drawn into it, considering its about tools, and I don't have much of a fit-it-up bone in my body. I'm more of the tear it down and look pleadingly at my boyfried to put it back together type.

The author starts by giving us a reason why he felt compelled to research the screw and screwdriver of all things. He then walks us through a good chunk of his research as he looks for the origins (which was suprisingly tricky). Finally, he walks us backwards through time through all the various stages and uses of the screw(driver). I would have prefered to start at the beginning and work our way to modern times, so it was a bit confusing for me jumping backwards but I can understand why he wrote that way.

An interesting book to keep mmy occupied for an afternoon...lovely sketches throughout as well. ( )
  jasmyn9 | Aug 31, 2009 |
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

The Best Tool of the Millennium The seeds of Rybczynski's elegant and illuminating new book were sown by The New York Times, whose editors asked him to write an essay identifying "the best tool of the millennium." The award-winning author of Home, A Clearing in the Distance, and Now I Sit Me Down, Rybczynski once built a house using only hand tools. His intimate knowledge of the toolbox -- both its contents and its history -- serves him beautifully on his quest. One Good Turn is a story starring Archimedes, who invented the water screw and introduced the helix, and Leonardo, who sketched a machine for carving wood screws. It is a story of mechanical discovery and genius that takes readers from ancient Greece to car design in the age of American industry. Rybczynski writes an ode to the screw, without which there would be no telescope, no microscope -- in short, no enlightenment science. One of our finest cultural and architectural historians, Rybczynski renders a graceful, original, and engaging portrait of the tool that changed the course of civilization.

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