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Book Cover
Author Fenster, J. M. (Julie M.)

Title The spirit of invention : the story of the thinkers, creators, and dreamers who formed our nation / by Julie M. Fenster.

Imprint New York, NY : HarperCollins, c2009.


Edition 1st ed.
Description xiii, 209 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Note "Smithsonian Books."
Published in association with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Includes bibliographic references (p. 193-199) and index.
Contents The life of an inventor. Introduction -- Who is an inventor? -- Aunt Orinda: family and childhood -- Gathering minds: journals, fairs, and universities -- Mavericks at work: Industrial Research Laboratory -- Contagion of ideas: research institution. The world and the inventor. Palette of the inventor: color as the medium -- Strains never heard before: sound and music -- Irresistible invention: food and the taste of something new -- Touch and the physical world: unleashing the human body --Larger world: laws and long-standing truths.
Summary An illustrated appreciation of America's spirit of invention, which introduces unique characters whose insistence on change for the better made America what it is today. This book is a fascinating examination of innovation as a driving characteristic of Americans from all eras and all walks of life. In this book we meet Gertrude Forbes, a sickly widow so poor she had to live in her aunt's attic, who overcame the odds to invent, among other things, an adjustable ironing board cover. We follow Cromwell Dixon, a fifteen-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, whose dreams of finding a way to fly inspired him to invent a bicycle-powered airship. We see John Dove, an African-American inventor, originating concepts integral to the compact disc. We learn about Purdue University, one of the earliest educational institutions to promote invention and engineering ideas. We eavesdrop on Thomas Edison in his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, and also find out about the beginnings of film colorization, a controversial process that adds tint to film. And we read about Luther Burbank and how he revolutionized plant breeding. The book even reviews the invention of illegal devices such as the "light wand," which induced slot machines to pay out on every spin, and we are introduced to a poker player who invented a "holdout" that allowed him to conceal cards in a shirt sleeve during games.
Subject Smithsonian Books (Publisher) -- History.
National Museum of American History (U.S.)
Lemelson Center -- History.
Inventors -- United States -- History.
Inventions -- United States -- History.
Added Author Smithsonian Books (Publisher)
Lemelson Center.
National Museum of American History (U.S.)
ISBN 9780061231896

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