Here's a wide-ranging survey of mechanical and technological history that offers more than dates and facts. The evolution ofinvention takes center stage here. The authors believe that how society came to need or want new gadgets and machines is a major part of the history of technology and discovery.
For example, Home Entertainment looks at inventions in the early part of the century that were developed to enliven leisure time. But author Rodney Dale and Rebecca Weaver trace the parallel social history as well and discover that:
*domestic appliances were reducing the time needed for daily chores
*the rise of the suburb renewed the national emphasis on family spirit and happiness
*a larger middle class had a bit more money to spend on non-essentials
*the growing sciences of psychology and psychiatry were beginning to suggest that enjoyable leisure time was actually healthy and should be encouraged (a far cry from our Puritan beginnings)
The phonograph may have been invented to keep us amused after office hours, but it was our growing need to find "self-fulfillment" in play as well as work that made its invention necessary.
Each book is a superbly illustrated survey of one aspect of modern life and how it has grown in response to the social changes of the times. Patents, models, photos, advertisements, cartoons, and sketches from contemporary sources provide interesting and entertaining illustrations from the swift and often humorous text. From the quill pen to the computer, from the Magic Lantern to television--these books look at why as well as how we've come such a very long way.show more