What’s Your Dewey? 600 Invention (…or did I just make that up?)

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the term ‘invention’ refers to something that has never been made before (a new design), or the process of creating something that has never been made before. Just looking around me from a very humble vantage, I am surrounded by a multitude of inventions, they are, after all, what makes our world so accessible to humans. I can only suppose that any book on inventions is limited at best – even if it does include 1001 of them.
1001 inventions that changed the world by ed. Jack Challoner ; preface by James O’Loghlin.
Described as an alternative history of the world as viewed through the lens of human ingenuity, this book chronicles the many life-enhancing and life-saving inventions that have graced our lives. From paper to pills, wheels to PCs, stories behind some inventive breakthroughs are revealed. The team of researchers, writers and illustrators includes historians, anthropologists, scientists and designers. Detailed illustrations and photographs accompanied by quotations from many inventors, makes this a fascinating and engaging book – even if it doesn’t include every invention you can name!
 Mistakes that worked : the world’s familiar inventions and how they came to be  by Charlotte Foltz Jones ; illustrated by John O’Brien.
To quote the book’s introduction; ‘Call them accidents. Call them mistakes. Even serendipity. If the truth were known, we might be amazed by the number of great inventions and discoveries that were accidental, unplanned and unintentional.’ Some of these examples include cheese, Velcro, potato chips, silly putty, penicillin and safety glass. The Introduction concludes with a quote from Bertolt Brecht ‘Intelligence is not to make no mistakes. But quickly to see how to make them good.‘    The book contains six sections: Tummy fillers; Doctor, Doctor; Fun, Fun, Fun; All Kinds Of Accidental Things; Where In The World? and What They Wear, and includes a National Inventors Hall of Fame. Although there is a clear USA bias and the text is aimed at children, the book contains some very interesting facts, humorous cartoons and is readily accessible to all readership. Quick look inside: http://amzn.to/2n9gLsV
 The way things work now by David Macaulay with Neil Ardley.
In the latest edition of  Macaulay’s The Way Things Work series of books, recent technology, from Touch Screens to 3D Printers, join the ranks of machines and developments that are laid bare for readers to appreciate their inner workings. Divided into 5 parts and packed with accurate, scientific information (delivered with humor by the ever-present woolly mammoth), the book guides readers through fundamental mechanical principles, linking developments of the past with glimpses of the future. Macaulay’s books are always a favorite with this inquisitive mind.
Take a quick look here: http://amzn.to/2nmTNzw
Inventions that could have changed the world… but didn’t! by Joe Rhatigan ; illustrations by Anthony Owsley.
Ostensibly aimed at children and young teens, this book has a great deal to offer readers interested in those inventions that either didn’t quite hit the mark, or went terribly wrong. Inventions include an Alarm Bed (it ejects the sleeper to wake him up), the three-wheeled Dymaxion Car (a front-wheel drive, bullet-shaped V8 prototype that crashed, killing its driver), and a gas-powered Pogo Stick. Included in the book are black & white copies of patent applications and color cartoon reconstructions by Owsley. While the book’s premise suggests these failed enterprises did not change the world, I can’t help but think there is much to be gained from the creative process regardless.
Free to make : how the maker movement is changing our schools, our jobs, and our minds by Dale Dougherty with Ariane Conrad ; foreword by Tim O’Reilly.
The Maker  movement sweeping our educational and recreational environments is what Dougherty calls the ‘renaissance of making’. Free to Make explores the way in which the phenomenon is transforming our schools, workplaces and local communities around the world. According to Dougherty, ‘The Maker Movement signals a societal, cultural, and technological transformation that invites us to participate as producers, not just consumers’. The book analyses the way the internet and open source sites have assisted a global creative climate and provides readers guidance through the various stages of development and production, from the original burst of creative excitement to the process of finding and securing manufacturing success. This is a comprehensive look at the ‘Maker revolution’ and a positive reaffirmation for those who have always been a creative Maker.

 Inventology: how we dream up things that change the world by Pagan Kennedy
In Inventology, Kennedy examines the creative process where wishes, dreams and problem solving transform into new products and technology. Kennedy interviews more than 100 inventors from different fields (psychologists, engineers, scientists and economists for example), in her search to find answers to what drives the creative process. Through these interviews, the book explores landmark inventions; colour printers, mobile phones and wheeled suitcase to name a few. The book is divided into five sections exploring different strategies for invention with recommendations for future-thinking and self-empowerment. While the book makes many interesting observations and provides encouragement to would-be inventors, it may be considered too academic for some readers.
There is of course one invention this series of What’s Your Dewey? articles relies heavily on,  that is DDC –  the Dewey Decimal Classification system. DDC was published in the United States by Melvil Dewey in 1876 when he was 21 and working as a student assistant in the library of Amherst College. You are, however,  unlikely to  find books about this invention that revolutionised information management and libraries, among the books shelved in the 600s. These, you would need to find at the 025s (Library and Information Sciences) or the 920s where you may find a biography or two on Melville Dewey, often referred to as, an Irrepressible Reformer.
Nola Cavallaro

#invention #bookreview

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s