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

It goes without saying (amongst males, at least), that one can never have too many tools. Most of us probably have more screwdrivers than any other tool, both because of their utility and their high vapor pressure (like my reading glasses), and so one needs to buy more in order to make sure that one will be available when needed. Witold Rybczynski, well-known professor of urban studies, was asked by David Shipley, a New Yorker editor to write a feature about the most important invention of the millennium. He considered many possibilities, but eventually settled on the screw and the screwdriver. The next problem was to try to find the origin of this ubiquitous combination. When would you guess they first appeared? His search is described in this short and easy-to-read book which is similar in spirit to engineer Henry Petroski's essays on familiar objects.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Witold Rybczynski

Publication Date: 
Saturday, January 1, 2000