read: 13 January 2005
Remember those great bathroom type trivia books you’d see a lot in the seventies with all the really great engraving illustrations and sort of funky collections of odd lore? This is one of those. The subtitle to the book is “an uncommon history of common things” Some of the histories of the usual suspects are now more commonplace, such as the story about the guy who invented the safety pin, sold the patent rights for 0 and lived unhappily ever after. In fact a lot of the stories in this book are about patent struggles, simultaneous or near simultaneous invention/discovery, and one guy getting rich while the other guy died peniless and destitute. The articles are a page or three long and any modern invention is accompanied by a collection of pretty interesting photographs, with illustrations and often advertising interspersed throughout. Meyers additionally peppers his text with relevant pithy quotations and the result is a fun readable book of the curious origins of really commonplace objects.
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